Over the next few weeks, I'll be posting interviews with the poets whose work was selected in the top five for the third installment of the HWA Poetry Showcase. This week, I welcome Chad Stroup to THE MADHOUSE.
How did you hear about the poetry showcase?
I can’t remember where I heard about the first volume because that was before I was a member of the HWA, but I most likely found out about the submission call for this most recent edition through the HWA Facebook group.
What is the title of you poem? Why did you decide to submit that particular piece?
"Nuclear Winter Kiss." I decided to submit it for a couple of reasons: 1. It was the only poem I was writing at the time that hadn’t already been published elsewhere and 2. I honestly felt it was one of the strongest poems I’d ever written. It was dark without fitting into a neat box and it just felt so equally right and wrong, if that makes sense. I was so ecstatic when I found out it was worthy of being a featured poem. I can pat myself on the back all day long for a job well done, but when people I’ve never met before recognize it as special I feel like I must be doing something right.
3. What is your process like for writing poetry?
Usually I come up with a title first, then just start letting my mind go wild. I’ve started developing sort of a signature visual style with many of my poems, so I often shape and arrange them based on what feels right. Sometimes my poems are abandoned short story ideas that I rip apart until only the core remains, which is how "Nuclear Winter Kiss" came to be. Sometimes the opposite is true. In the case of my upcoming novel, I wrote poems about all of the primary characters first, then the story started pouring out.
4. Who are some of your poetic influences?
I’ll probably get publicly flogged for this, but I honestly don’t read much poetry. In
fact, the only poems I’ve read in recent years were the poems in the other editions of the HWA Poetry Showcase (and I’ll certainly be reading them all in the new one as well). Though I’ve written and/or published a decent amount of poetry (perhaps even enough to do some sort of collection at this point), I’m predominantly a fiction writer, so that is where my literary influences lie. However, music is and always has been an enormous part of my life, and the best lyricists are also poets in my opinion. With that in mind, I can list influences like Steven Patrick Morrissey, Peter Murphy, Ian Curtis, Nick Cave, Darby Crash, Nick Blinko, Elizabeth Fraser (possibly the most brilliantly weird lyricist of all time), Rick Froberg, Jerry A., and Guy Picciotto.
Who are you reading now and who/what are you looking forward to reading for the remainder of the year?
I just finished The Fireman by Joe Hill and I’m about to start reading The Night Marchers by Daniel Braum. My Need-to-Read pile is as large as always, but I’m looking forward to reading new books by Paul Tremblay, Kristopher Triana, and Jeremy P. Bushnell (none of which I even have in my physical pile yet…yikes!), as well as a couple of older books by David J. Schow I just scored.
Are you currently working on anything that you want to announce? Has anything of yours recently been published that you would like to talk about?
Later this year, Grey Matter Press will be releasing my debut novel Secrets of the Weird. All I’m going to say is that I promise this book is not like anything else out there and I’m very excited for it to be unleashed upon the world. I also have a new short story called “Acquired Taste” coming out in July, published in a New Zealand-based e-zine called Capricious. The story is very dark, strange, and hopelessly dystopian.
BIO:Chad Stroup received his MFA in Fiction from San Diego State University. His short stories have been featured in anthologies like Splatterlands and Creature Stew, and his poetry has appeared in the first three volumes of the HWA Poetry Showcase. Secrets of the Weird, Stroup’s debut novel, is forthcoming from Grey Matter Press. Visit Subvertbia, a home for some of his short fiction, poetry, and reviews at http://subvertbia.blogspot.com/, and drop by his Facebook page as well. https://www.facebook.com/ChadStroupWriter.