Saturday, July 30, 2016

HWA POETRY SHOWCASE III: MEET BRUCE BOSTON

Hi Everyone,

Today I'm interviewing the lovely Bruce Boston, a poet whom I've admired for many, many years. 
Bruce has published fifty books and chapbooks, including the novels Stained Glass Rain and the best-of fiction collection Masque of Dreams, and his work ranges from broad humor to literary surrealism, with many stops along the way for science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Boston's novel The Guardener's Tale (Sam's Dot, 2007) was a Bram Stoker Award Finalist and a Prometheus Award Nominee, and his stories and poems have appeared in hundreds of publications, including Asimov's SF Magazine, Amazing Stories, Weird Tales, Strange Horizons, Realms of Fantasy, Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, and The Nebula Awards Showcase, and received a number of awards, most notably, a Pushcart Prize, the Bram Stoker Award, the Asimov's Readers' Award, the Rhysling Award, and the Grand Master Award of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. For more information, please visit his website at http://www.bruceboston.com/ 

How did you hear about the poetry showcase?

HWA Facebook Page

What  is the title of your poem? Why did you decide to submit that particular piece?

"Enough." I often have trouble placing poems with sociopolitical content. The Showcase took a political poem from me last time, so I though I'd try another one.

What is your process like for writing poetry?

Haphazard and sometime hallucinogenic, followed by a severe application of craft.

Who are some of your poetic influences?

Too many to name, but I will add that many of them are fiction writers.

Who are you reading now and who/what are you looking forward to reading for the remainder of the year?

Currently reading John Dickson Carr's The Dark of the Moon, so far one of his weakest novels, and also, David E. Cowen's new poetry collection, The Seven Yards of Sorrow, quite good so far. Don't know what I'll be reading for the rest of the year. Whatever grabs my fancy and draws me in. I read eclectically, but almost always fiction or poetry. 

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?

My latest collection, Sacrificial Nights, a collaboration with Alessandro Manzetti, just came out. This is a poetry novella that blends the genres of horror, surrealism, crime and noir. Both ebook and trade paper available at Amazon.

I've been finalizing a collaborative collection with fellow SFPA Grandmaster, Robert Frazier, Visions of the Mutant Rain Forest, fiction and poetry, due early next year from Crystal Lake Publishing.

I've also been collecting blurbs for a forty-year retrospective collection, Artifacts: Selected Short Poem, 1975-2015, due from Crystal Lake Publishing this fall.


Finally, I've begun assembling the best of my uncollected poems for a new collection, tentatively titled Brief Encounters with My Third Eye.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

HWA POETRY SHOWCASE III: MEET MICHAEL A. ARNZEN

Hi Everyone,

Today I stole my buddy Mike Arnzen away from his computer and threw him in THE MADHOUSE with me for a short stay. Mike has been here with me a couple times now, and fun fact, has even hung out with me and explored an actual madhouse before (see: Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum). So sit back, relax, and get into minds of my one of my favorite writers!

How did you hear about the poetry showcase?

I've wanted to be a part of the HWA's support for poetry ever since I first heard the HWA was publishing these Showcases.  I'd read the previous two anthologies and was really impressed by the work they contained, and I regretted overlooking the deadlines and never submitting to them. So when I heard another one was in production, I made it a point to not let the deadline pass me by this time.  The HWA has done so much for me over the years (I've been a member since the 90s) that I am trying to give back in different ways, from contributing to books like this to volunteering to things when I have the time, like mentoring and teaching classes at StokerCon and such.

What  is the title of you poem? Why did you decide to submit that particular piece?

"The Trappings of Poetry" is my contribution to Vol. 3, and I wrote it expressly for this collection.  I feel that the HWA is doing a fantastic thing in supporting poetry, but the majority of its writers remain fiction authors (myself included); so I wanted to try to explore the horror of the format itself and try to offer a text that said something about what it is horror poetry is, as much as to try to creep out the reader.  I often see this as my mission, even if it's not so conscious: to create "horror" that by its very nature is unique to the medium that contains it. So in this case I set out to write a horror poem that could only be done >through< poetry.  As with a lot of my experiments like this, I just let the proverbial muse take over -- but then I took control back -- and the poem became an exploration of point-of-view in the tradition of Poe:  a piece about devious compulsion and sadism that -- I'd like to think -- makes you more and more uncomfortable the longer you sit with the voice of the narrator... though, of course, it's really a poem about all of us writers, and thus, the readers of this collection.
What is your process like for writing poetry?

It's very spontaneous and loose -- a kind of word jazz.  This creates a lot of sick humor and puns along the way.  And this process is similar to how I write fiction, in that I really just try to channel my unconscious onto the page first -- striving to get as close to a "dream" state as possible (the proverbial "zone") and thereby release the nightmares -- and also trying to side-step all the things inside of us that censor and control us.  Poetry is best for this because it gives you the flexibility to avoid the structures of time, space, chronology, narration, characterization -- all the "structures" that impose order on ideas.  In a poem, anything goes, just like in a crazy dream, and I love that.  Not every horror concept works this way; narrative fiction is better for unleashing surprise and really giving us a "character study" or a way of contrasting reality vs. the fantastic.  For me there's a very thin line between the two forms, though.  In fact, I'd say that the most horrifying moments in a horror story are usually the scenes or passages most akin to poetry, since the language is fraught with weirdness.

Who are some of your poetic influences?

To write this stuff, you've gotta be open to surprise discoveries, so I'm never married to just one style, just one writer, or just one pet subgenre. I'malways exploring new things and trying to put myself into literary situations where inspiration and influence will come out of nowhere and change the way I think.  So most of my influences are people who have surprised me profoundly in the past, or who continue to freak me out and shock me with something new every time.  I already mentioned Poe, who is a big one, and maybe after that I'd cite someone like Jim Morrison -- but I really have been influenced most by contemporary genre writers -- friends in the business, I suppose -- who I always spend the most time reading and studying.  People like John Grey, Marge Simon, Ann Schwader, Kurt Newton...even you, Stephanie Wytovich. I try to absorb it all and want to be a part of the "conversation" we're all having about horror and mankind.  Outside of genre writers, I've been reading poets like Aase Berg and Zach Schomberg (all the poets at Black Ocean books are tops), and listening to weird music, with or without weird lyrics.  Like, right now, I'm digging a bunch of computer game "soundtracks" and have been listening to them as ambient noise as I write.  I also just discovered an amazing percussionist named Tatsuya Nakatani who is doing some crazy things to cymbals, gongs, bowls and skins that amazes me and inspires me to try to wrestle new ideas out of the mundane tools I already use in everyday life.

Who are you reading now and who/what are you looking forward to reading for the remainder of the year?

I just picked up "Underwater Fistfight" by Matt Betts, which I'm really looking forward to reading. He tends to tackle popular culture in a witty and surprising way.  I saw that the bass player from King Crimson and Peter Gabriel's band -- Tony Levin -- has a poetry book now, so I'll likely pick that up and see what he's up to.  After discovering and writing the intro to Rammstein frontman Till Lindemann's book last year -- On Quiet Nights -- I've renewed my appreciation for what musicians are doing, even if they aren't avid readers of other poets. Their instinctive play with the sound of language thrills me.   Aside from poetry, I'm hoping to catch up with the Stephen King books piling up on my "To Be Read" stack.  I still need to read the entire Bill Hodges Trilogy.  

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?

I was shocked to discover recently that next year will be a decade since my Stoker-winning short story collection, Proverbs for Monsters, came out.  It's been out of print and hard to find for a long time now, and I'd been holding back on releasing an ebook --  but since it's a Stoker-winning collection, it deserves to be out there.  So Dark Regions Press and I have been working up an exciting expanded edition to re-release around the time next StokerCon rolls around!  

All sorts of other irons are in the fire right now too.  My non-fiction study, The Popular Uncanny, should be out by the end of the year.  And I recently just finished polishing up 55 stories in a series for an anthology called "555 Vol. 2" which I'm really excited about. They're microshorts, but hilariously sick.  Too soon to announce my next novel, but it's in development and so far so good!  I also think I've got enough material to put together a new poetry collection as well.  So please let folks know about my free newsletter, The Goreletter -- it's the best way to keep up to date on my work and you get all sorts of things there that you can't get elsewhere, like original art, prize books and more strange poetry. 


Author Bio:



Michael Arnzen holds four Bram Stoker Awards and an International Horror Guild Award for his disturbing (and often funny) poetry, fiction, and other literary experiments.  He holds a PhD in English from University of Oregon and teaches in the MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University.  Raw Dog Screaming Press recently published the 20th Anniversary edition of his first novel (Grave Markings, along with a decade-long collection of his micropoetry (The Gorelets Omnibus), and will be releasing his new nonfiction study, The Popular Uncanny, this October. See what he’s up to now at gorelets.com

SOCIAL MEDIA:
BLOG & NEWSLETTER:  http://gorelets.com/
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/MikeArnzen/    [@MikeArnzen]
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/gorelets   [@gorelets]
Google+: http://profiles.google.com/arnzen
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/ArnzenM
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mikearnzen/  [@mikearnzen]

Monday, July 11, 2016

SAINT OR SINNER? WELCOME TO THE MADHOUSE, PETER SALOMON.


Hi Everyone:

Today in THE MADHOUSE, I've kidnapped fellow horror author and poet, Peter Adam Salomon. Peter and I have known each other for a few years now as we both exchange and critique each other's writing from time to time, and most importantly, we both have the same twisted flair and appreciation for the dark arts, too. His latest poetry collection, PseudoPsalms: Saints v. Sinners is now running free in the (under)world, and as such, I wanted to give you all a peek behind the veil to hear a little more about his creative process and how for him, the lines between fiction and poetry are a little blurred. Enjoy!

GUEST POST:
by Peter Adam Salomon

Despite two published novels and one Bram Stoker award nomination (for ALL THOSE BROKEN ANGELS) in the Young Adult novel category, I still think of myself as a poet. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I’ve been writing poems since I was seven and only started writing novels as an adult. Perhaps because I believe my natural ‘voice’ is found in my poetry, in the freedom and spirit that poetry represents.

Mostly, I consider myself a poet first because I feel a much stronger emotional bond to poetry, both as a writer and a reader. With my second novel, ALL THOSE BROKEN ANGELS I threw out all the standard rules of fiction writing (no run-on sentences, no repeated words, no sentence fragments, etc.) and pretty much replaced them with some of the rules of poetry writing. I knew this would result in some people hating the book, which happened, just as much as I knew that some readers would love it for the very same reasons. I loved the poetry of the novel and am extremely proud of it. But it’s prose, no matter how poetic, and it left me with a burning need to write poetry again.

My first collection of poetry, Prophets, consisted of mostly old poems with only a handful of newer works. While it was rewarding to see some of my personal favorite poems in print that way, I still wanted to try to stretch my wings a little bit more. PseudoPsalms:Saints v. Sinners, my latest poetry collection (published by Bizarro Pulp Press), allowed me the freedom to do that.

While retaining a focus on the exploration of identity and self, religion/politics, and sanity/insanity which pretty much all of my writing deals with, PseudoPsalms also gave me the unique opportunity to do more than just explore the darkness and shadows I’ve grown so familiar with over the years of writing horror. As the subtitle suggests these are not all dark poems. There are glimmers of sunshine, if not outright joy and wonder, making the shadows, I think, just that little bit darker. Reaching outside of my comfort zone, into the light so to speak, forced me to improve my own writing in ways that I hadn’t really worked on before. I’d found so much comfort in exploring the shadows that all that illumination in the lighter poems I usually thought lessened the quality of my own writing. Embracing the light was more difficult than I’d expected it to be but I hope I managed to capture lightning in a bottle a few times in those poems.

When writing about those shadows, my process usually starts from a place of ‘what scares me?’ or ‘what would scare others?’ That difference (between ‘me’ and ‘others’) is what I believe enables me to write poems from different points of view, working the empathy muscle in order to attempt to understand someone else’s fears and worries. As I said: ‘attempt,’ since I’m never quite sure how successful I am but I’ll never stop trying to put myself in the shoes of other people in order to better understand the world.

When writing about the lighter things in life, my process was immediately derailed. ‘What do I like?’ Well, I honestly don’t really know most of the time. I like the shadows. Which, of course, leads me back to writing a darker poem than I’d originally intended in this particular process. ‘What do other people like?’ Well, have to admit that is a question I really don’t know the answer to.

Writing those lighter poems, therefore, presented a challenge from the very beginning. Plus, while writing them I’d find myself going off-course, adding shadows where none belonged to ‘improve’ the poem. And usually those improvements ruined the poem (though I was able to save some tangents for later poems, which was helpful, I suppose). In the end, I tried to really focus on keeping the shadows away, to really let the light shine through. To embrace, so to speak, the illumination in order for the shadows to be just that little bit darker. And to let the shadows make the light a little brighter. Or, at least, that’s what I hoped for.

Containing more of an equal mix of new and old poems (my next collection will be almost extensively new, if and when I finish it…), PseudoPsalms: Saints v. Sinners was written to be an exploration of both the light and the dark, and, most especially, of that wicked grey limbo where they meet. Sure, monsters may be hiding in the dark, waiting for unsuspecting prey, but there are monsters in the light as well. They’re just sometimes harder to see. Which, come to think of it, might make them the scariest monsters of all.


Author Bio:

Peter Adam Salomon is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the Horror Writers Association, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, the Science Fiction Poetry Association, the International Thriller Writers, and The Authors Guild and is represented by the Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

His debut novel, HENRY FRANKS, was published by Flux in 2012. His second novel, ALL THOSE BROKEN ANGELS, published by Flux in 2014, was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Young Adult fiction. Both novels have been named a ‘Book All Young Georgians Should Read’ by The Georgia Center For The Book.

His short fiction has appeared in the Demonic Visions series among other anthologies, and he was the featured author for Gothic Blue Book III: The Graveyard Edition. He was also selected as one of the Gentlemen of Horror for 2014.

His poem ‘Electricity and Language and Me’ appeared on BBC Radio 6 performed by The Radiophonic Workshop in December 2013. Eldritch Press published his first collection of poetry, Prophets, in 2014, and his second poetry collection, PseudoPsalms: Saints v. Sinners, was published in 2016 by Bizarro Pulp Press. In addition, he was the Editor for the first books of poetry released by the Horror Writers Association: Horror Poetry Showcase Volumes I and II.

He served as a Judge for the 2006 Savannah Children’s Book Festival Young Writer’s Contest and for the Royal Palm Literary Awards of the Florida Writers Association. He was also a Judge for the first two Horror Poetry Showcases of the Horror Writers Association and has served as Chair on multiple Juries for the Bram Stoker Awards.

www.peteradamsalomon.com
www.facebook.com/peteradamsalomon
Twitter: @petersalomon




Thursday, July 7, 2016

HWA POETRY SHOWCASE III: MEET CORRINE DE WINTER

Next up in my HWA Poetry Showcase Interview series, is Corrine De Winter. Please take a few moments to read through her words, learn about her process, and see what is next on her to-do list! Welcome to THE MADHOUSE, Corrine.

How did you hear about the poetry showcase? 
I have been a member of HWA for some years now.


What  is the title of you poem? Why did you decide to submit that particular piece?
"Always The Black and White Keys"-  The poem speaks of heartbreak, which we've all experienced, and how difficult it is to sometimes let go- Death takes over and we are at a loss, but the heart muddles through it.


What is your process like for writing poetry? 
A line will come to me usually that I can build off of- Reading excellent poetry really helps with meter and cadence, of course. I hardly ever sit down for the sole purpose of writing a poem- if they don't come organically I do not force them. 


Who are some of your poetic influences?
My absolute favorite is Conrad Aiken- so intense that you feel you have been deeply pulled into a trance of sorts, at least for me. Also love Anne Sexton,  Sylvia Plath, Muriel Rukeyser, Anna Akhmatova, James Merrill- hmm, trying to think of living people now, ha haa- Frank Bidart, David St. John, Andrew Harvey, Mary Jo Bang, among lots of others. 


Who are you reading now and who/what are you looking forward to reading for the remainder of the year?
I am reading a book "Above the Dreamless Dead" a book on World War 1 Poetry & comics. And "The Sacred Magic of Abramelin The Mage" (S.L. Mathers)  Very interesting....
Looking forward to reading AYESHA by H. Rider Haggard (this is a series that began with SHE, just finished "Wisdom's Daughter", also a part of the Ayesha story)  (I guess I tend to read older stuff!)
Patrick Mc Grath's books are great too and I have to catch up on those. I have been reading & studying quite a bit about Life After Death, and the realms beyond lately. 


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?
I'm ready to find a market for my new Oracle Deck (just about finished) and a book I've co authored with Denise Dumars, a paranormal romance involving Lord Byron. I released a book in February "The Sensitive Soul's Guide To Waking Up" , a slice of life book. I also have a new Poetry Manuscript "The Undertaker's Daughter" that needs a home (if anyone can turn me onto one!) 

I am the host of Supernatural Radio Show on www.blogtalkradio.com and focus on Mediums, Paranormal & supernatural subjects. We've done everything from channeling Kurt Cobain to EVP's and much more. 

Author Bio:

Nominated four times for the Pushcart Prize, Corrine De Winter's poetry, fiction, essays and interviews have appeared worldwide in publications such as the The New York Quarterly, Yankee, Sacred Journey, Atom Mind, The Writer, and over 900 other publications. She has been the recipient of awards from  Triton College of Arts & Sciences, Writer's Digest, The Esme Bradberry Award, The Madeline Sadin Award, The Rhysling Award, The Bram Stoker Award, and has been featured in Poet's Market 1995-2016. Her work is featured in the much praised collections Bless the Day, Heal Your Soul, Heal the World, Get Well Wishes, Essential Love, The Language of Prayer , Mothers And Daughters, and in Bedside Prayers, now in its 20th printing.

Ms. De Winter is a member of HWA (Horror Writer's Association), and the founder of SMALL WORLD FUND FOR CHILDREN.  She has studied the paranormal & supernatural for 28 years, including many tours with Ed & Lorraine Warren.

De Winter is the author of 9 collections of poetry, prose & fiction including "The Sensitive Soul's Guide to Waking Up", Valentines For the Dead (fiction), Like Eve, The Half Moon Hotel, and Touching The Wound, which sold over 3000 copies in its first year, "The Women At The Funeral", winner of the 2004 Bram Stoker Award for superior achievement in poetry, and "Tango In The 9th Circle." (Dark Regions Press, Stoker nominated "VIRGIN OF THE APOCALYPSE" & “Venus Intervention”
Her latest project is "The Uncommon Destination Oracle Card Deck."