A Ten Question Interview With The Artist… Ben Newell

Why do you write?

I get absolutely zero satisfaction from my job.  Writing allows me to deliver a few punches and get some kicks without having to worry about criminal charges.  Also, it’s one of the few times when I actually feel like I have some sort of control over what is happening to me.

What books do you read?

Nowadays I read solely for entertainment, lots and lots of out of print pulp paperbacks.  I’ve become a huge fan of 70s and 80s men’s adventure fiction, ultra violent stuff like The Penetrator, The Sharpshooter, The Executioner, Ninja Master, The Vigilante, etc . . . . I also read a ton of lurid true crime.

What inspires you?

Random things I see and hear and read throughout the day, encounters and whatnot, a billboard, a bumper sticker, a fucked up excerpt from a book about Jeffrey Dahmer, a trip to the supermarket, a trip to my psychiatrist, the trigger can emerge at any time.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer and when?

I was finishing up my M.A. in English and sick of critical writing and spending all of my time reading/studying the words of other writers.  I thought, hell, I’ll try some creative work of my own.

How do you deal with rejection?

Rejection isn’t so bad when it’s tempered with acceptance.  I’ve experienced my fair share of both.  When feeling a lack of confidence I try to recall the editors who’ve had complimentary things to say about my work.

Who are some writers you admire?

Bret Easton Ellis, Chad Kultgen, Charles Bukowski, Celine, Harvey Pekar, Dan Fante, Steve Richmond, Richard Laymon, Edward Lee.  All of these writers have shaped my work in some form or fashion.

Is writing the only artistic medium you do?

Yes.  Unless you want to count the occassional Aurora monster model kit.

What would be some advice you would give to your younger self?

Never, ever, ever, quit skateboarding to play soccer!  That was a huge fuckup I’ll always regret.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Stick to whatever gets you off, regardless of what others may say.  Your detractors won’t attend your funeral anyway.

What is your writing process?

A typical poem would involve crude notes in a composition book followed by shaping and refining on my laptop.

Ben Newell 2

Ben Newell, 43, works as a library clerk at a small college in Jackson, Mississippi. His poems have appeared in The Blood Machine, Chiron Review, LUMMOX, Nerve Cowboy, Pink Litter, and other underground publications. He is a Bennington College dropout.

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What May Become by JD DeHart

Some people suggest that
a heaven awaits.  Others
don’t look up from the wheel
they’re spinning on.
I wonder sometimes when I look
in the eyes of passersby if they
even think about life.  Maybe
they are just breathing steam
engines, trying to eat tortilla chips
all the time when they are not
operating on a mating instinct.
Listen to their call:  Yup.  Naw.
Whachudoin?
Kurt Vonnegut said that most people
are idiots.  I’m still collecting data.

jddehart

JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. He has recently been nominated for Best of the Net, and his chapbook, The Truth About Snails, is available on Amazon.

 

Mister Telephone Man by John Grochalski

two broken dates
since the kiss
she’s even cold at work
but tells me to call anyway
so i do
i call monday
get the voice message
tuesday
it’s her old man
wednesday she says she forgot
i skip two classes
follow her around like a puppy
to hear that she forgot
she says i’ll call tonight
but doesn’t
randy says she’s worried because
i’m twenty-one to her twenty-five
like it’s acres not inches
because i just got out of it with mary
mary who calls to tell me she’s dating again
mary who calls sundaymondaytuesdaywednesday
thursday
i get her mother
who says she doesn’t know me
even though i’ve stood in that big kitchen with her
three times
well, i guess i’ll give her the message
i throw on dylan
i throw on springsteen
wish for once that i got hung up on a girl
who felt the same way
friday
she says i never got the message
what are you doing saturday night?
drunk again
with steve and calvin
she never shows up to dee’s café
i think maybe
i’ll call her on sunday
to see what happened
but shit
even god had his day of rest.

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John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), and the novel, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013). Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, in the section that doesn’t have the bike sharing program.

Fossil by Gareth Writer-Davies

with the weather undecided
and no thought to wickedness and consequences

I stumbled over ploughed fields
to the beach

picked up a rock
cracked it like an egg

and there was a tooth

a million years have passed
and what remains

is the chiding memory
of charred wood
the devil-may-care brodorion of Whitmore Bay

the fossil
I threw into the sea

that even as I turned
made its way back to the shore

Gareth Writer-Davies - Copy

Gareth Writer-Davies was Commended in the Prole Laureate Competition in 2015, Specially Commended in the Welsh Poetry Competition and Highly Commended in the Sherborne Open Poetry Competition. Shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and the Erbacce Prize in 2014, Highly Commended, Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize in 2013 and 2012. His pamphlet “Bodies”, was published in 2015 through Indigo Dreams. http://www.indigodreamsbookshop.com/gareth-writer-davies/4587920255

The Meat of the Matter by Susan Evans

`I’d never cheat on my bird’ he says ‒
very proud is Les, not to give into
burger, when he’s steak at home.
He’d never roam ‒
`she cooks a mean roast’
Les likes to boast how he’s a leg,
thigh and breast man…
Says, although his Tracey’s fit, he’ll not
put a ring on it ‒
`let’s not get carried away’ says Les:

`why buy the Cow when I can get the milk for free…’

Grew up hearing these analogies;
wiser now, they sicken me.
Les, needs to evolve and Tracey
won’t be told that she’s not a piece
of meat. Only she’s sweet on him:

`I like our cosy nights in,
watching Chick Flicks on Netflix,
I’ve had worse pricks and
Les licks me out; something my
Ex. husband would never do…’

Declared Tracey; not one to
mince her words.

Susan Evans Performance Poet Photo by Andrew King 2015

Susan Evans is a Performance Poet from North East London, living in Brighton. Susan’s performed at various, live literature events across the UK ‒ straddling stage and page, her poetry appears/ is forthcoming in: the Fat Damsel, (Take Ten, Issue 3) Ink, Sweat & Tears, I am not a silent poet, the Jawline Review, Lighten-up online, Militant Thistles, Message in a Bottle, Nutshells and Nuggets, Poetry Space, (Winter showcase, 2014) Prole (Issues 14 & 15) Proletarian Poetry, Snakeskin,The Stare’s Nest, The Yellow Chair Review, Writing Magazine (April, 2015) Your One Phone Call. Anthologies: Brighton Stanza Poets, 2013 (Bramley Press) Slim Volumes: No Love Lost and Wherever You Roam (Pankhearst) and Spotlights, 2015 (Paragram). You can find her here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Susan-Evans-Performance-poet/485340264922817

Clean by Jonathan Butcher

I suddenly spot the smudge of fingerprints
on the gloss cupboard door, that resonate
like smashed glass in a neglected bus stop.
I wipe them in an instant, the chemical scent
from the products used a far cry from the one
harnessed from Saturdays past.

My feet slowly slide upon the polished flooring,
which no longer stumble blurred over concrete curbs
and rain drenched back fields. My finger is sliced
on the serrated bread knife, the cut sterilised by
it’s uselessness, I toss it’s rusted blade aside along
with the shredded paper and burnt photographs.

And upon that armchair that sits uncluttered, I park myself
on this makeshift throne. This cleanliness now seeps
into my pores like radiated soil, and leaves a stain
far too easy to remove. That sparkle from the mattered
carpet seals my satisfaction, another day of filth
washed out of sight.

Jonathan Butcher

Jonathan Butcher is a poet based in Sheffield, England. He has had poetry appear in various print and online publications including: Popshot, The Belleville Park Pages, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Elbow Room, Dead Beats, Gutter Eloquence and others. His second chapbook ‘Broken Slates’ has been published by Flutter Press.

Last Man Standing by Alan Catlin

We dearly love a bit of Alan Catlin’s poetry over at Your One Phone Call.
If you’ve got a little taste and sense so will you.
If you’ve never heard of him, well, here’s your chance to check him out.
You can thank us later, and trust us, you will want to.

Last Man Standing

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In A Florida Motel Room by James Babbs

I saw an angel on the ceiling
in the swirling plaster above my head
after I told her
I didn’t love her anymore
I saw an angel
spreading its enormous wings
when I was lying upside-down on the bed
my arms wide open and
I was waiting
waiting for the angel to fall on me
the sound of my own breathing
the AC in the window moaning
its own kind of lonesome song
something in my heart broken
I felt strange and
too afraid to say anything
we had already walked in the ocean
and listened to the waves
crashing against the shore
yesterday there were jellyfish
washed up on the beach
and the birds took turns devouring them
while we just stood there watching
no longer together
already thinking of different things.

James Babbs Photo

James Babbs continues to live and write from the same small Illinois town where he grew up. He has published hundreds of poems over the past thirty years and, recently, a few short stories. James is the author of Disturbing The Light(2013) & The Weight of Invisible Things(2013).

10:00 Rush by Gabriel Ricard

He looks from one of the grassy island
to the other. It’s a long stretch of neglected paradise
that separates twenty lanes of midnight madness traffic
in front of him,
and twenty lanes of the ten o’clock rush to vote
for giant robots and hypochondriac stuffed animals.

Free cocktails all over town,
if you’re brave enough to vote twice.

One of his friends shrugs,
and says there are just a lot of rape jokes
in the sky tonight.

The other two friends are shirtless,
dying of dehydration and a shared midlife crisis,
and they’re preparing to go to war
with each other again.

The hotel is in front of them, too,
and it’s the closest thing to Hollywood action and disbelief
for miles. Darkness has swallowed up the gas stations, nail salons,
and handsome Mexican pharmacies.

The hotel room is in front of them, too,
but there may as well be a murder of steel mountains
between the next patch of brown grass,
and the sanctity of an empty, clean bed.

Anyway,
someone else has the room key.
Someone else fucking lost the other one.

It’s 110 degrees under what’s left of the moon,
and these goddamn morons are going to kill each other,
if they don’t suddenly get the urge to kill someone else.

Or just kill a stranger’s room.

Everything is a dilapidated zoo riot worth of possibilities.
Nine, ten hopelessly sick, arthritic animals worth of explosions
consisting of blood and handheld supernovas and political suicide.

He watches his obese pals knock each other down.
He listens to the other friend laugh, after kicking an empty beer can
at a passing cop car.

Sleeping in doesn’t sound like that bad of an idea.
Going home doesn’t seem selfish and chilly anymore.
Finding a home might be a good idea for the oncoming week.

Microscopic cartoon characters play out nuclear war debates
up and down his spine.

Gabriel Ricard

Gabriel Ricard is a writer, editor, and occasional actor. He is a Film Editor with Drunk Monkeys, an editor with Kleft Jaw, and a featured contributor with Cultured Vultures. His book “Clouds of Hungry Dogs” is available at http://www.kleftjaw.com/shop and Amazon.com.

 

 

A Ten Question Interview With The Artist… Claire Walker

Why do you write?

Because I enjoy it! That’s the simple beginning of it, anyway. In the same way that any interest begins, I became interested in the notion of it (through enjoying books and having an active imagination), wondered if I could do it too and decided to give it a try.
But it does, of course, go much further and deeper than that now. It’s now such a part of who I am that it’s my most natural way of communicating.

What books do you read?

I mainly read poetry books, although it was my New Year’s resolution to read more novels. I’ve just started reading The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan, and it’s stunning.
I used to be a Sociology teacher and recently I’ve been missing the subject so much, so I’m reading sociological texts to kind of exercise that way of thinking again. It’s lovely to rediscover that passion for a subject. Plus it has sparked ideas for poems, so that’s an added bonus!

What inspires you?

People: the experiences they have, the emotions they feel and the way they interact with each other.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer and when?

I’ve always written (I guess most people answering this question say that!). As children, my sister and I spent a lot of time sitting at the kitchen table writing stories and I’ve done it (on and off) ever since, but it’s only when I started trying out poetry about four years ago that I actually really thought about ‘being a writer’ as such. It’s only then that I really thought ‘wow, this is what I want to do, this is what I want to learn’ and started to write more seriously, send things off to editors and so on.
I’ve had plenty of poems published in magazines and anthologies, but it’s only really since my pamphlet was published that I’ve had the confidence to think of myself as ‘a writer’ as opposed to ‘someone who writes’, if that makes sense.

How do you deal with rejection?

Mostly I’m pragmatic about rejection. I’m usually quite good at thinking ‘oh well, it’s nothing personal, it just didn’t fit the theme of the anthology / shape of the magazine’. I definitely subscribe to the view that, when a piece is rejected, you turn it round and send it back out somewhere else as quickly as possible. I think dealing with rejection is something you learn – I found it very dispiriting at first (and, don’t get me wrong, it still can be!), but I’ve come to realise that it’s all part of it and there will be an acceptance along soon to make everything right again!

Who are some writers you admire?

Lorraine Mariner, Matthew Dickman, Jacqueline Saphra, Taylor Mali, Hilda Sheehan, Ruth Stacey, Kathy Gee, Antony Owen, Frieda Hughes, Carolyn Jess Cooke, Catherine Smith, Kate Garrett, Angela Carter, Catherine Ayres, Clare Pollard, Simon Armitage, Maria Taylor, Jonathan Taylor. I could go on. And if songwriters count in this question – Neil Finn and Tim Finn.

Is writing the only artistic medium you do?

I used to play the flute – does that count?!

What would be some advice you would give to your younger self?

Stop worrying about what other people might think of you.
Stand up for yourself – it’s ok to take people to task about things and give your own opinions (it doesn’t mean you’re rude if you do, and you’ll only end up regretting it if you don’t).
Live in the moment – don’t worry so much!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Take time, find your own way. It can be frustrating when you want to get to a certain point and there are all sorts of obstacles in your way (rejection, writer’s block, lack of time etc) but it will happen. You have to take time to learn your craft (and the learning never stops) – it’s not about the exposure from how many open mics you attend, or how many Facebook poetry friends you have, it’s about the way you use words. That is what makes you a good writer, not the fripperies.
Find people you trust to give you feedback on your work, it is invaluable.
Also, be glad for others when they have success. We are in this together!

What is your writing process?

I find that a difficult one to answer as I don’t know if I have a ‘process’ as such.
I used to write on my laptop on the sofa or dining table but a couple of years ago I got a proper desk which is very helpful as it means everything is there ready and waiting for me as soon as I come to start writing.
I try to write something every day, even if it’s only re-ordering a couple of lines in a poem, because it keeps me in that frame of mind.
I’m always thinking about poetry. The cogs are always turning, even if it’s only in the background while I get on with ‘real’ life.

Claire Walker

Claire Walker is a poet based in Worcestershire, UK. Her work has been published in a variety of magazines and websites, including The Interpreter’s House, Ink Sweat and Tears, And Other Poems, Nutshells and Nuggets and Clear Poetry, and in anthologies such as Crystal Voices and Three Drops From A Cauldron. In 2015 her first pamphlet, The Girl Who Grew Into a Crocodile, was published by V. Press.