Archive for the INTERVIEWS Category

Neeli Cherkovski–The Rusty Truck Interview

Posted in INTERVIEWS, Neeli Cherkovski with tags , on October 8, 2012 by Scot

Scot:  As a child what did you want to grow up to be?

NeeliI’m not sure.  Childhood hardly exists.  Sam and Clare Cherry were loving parents, old bohemian souls.  But I was needy, alienated, muddled, easily angered, mistrustful, etc, etc.  To put a positive spin on it, I was sensitive.  My friends were outcasts.  Public school was horrific, fraught with psychic danger.  Often, I challenged my teachers, especially in junior high school.  Later, I held my breath because it wasn’t worth the effort.  Making an adult eat his or her words when you are twelve or thirteen is embarrassing all the way around.  The worst thing was play period.  Participatory sports was one of the dangers.  I did have a playmate, who I still see now and then, the Mormon kid from across Rosewood Avenue in MarVista, Los Angeles.  The latter half of childhood was spent in San Bernardino where my folks eventually opened a bookstore/art gallery that provided a constant source of books. It was Walt Whitman who spoke to me and for me.  I heard his secrets and cherished them.  I also came into possession of some haiku books that were in the family bookshelf and a book of Longfellow’s poetry.  My father occasionally recited The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, especially when he was drunk.

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A Short Ride with Scott Owens

Posted in INTERVIEWS, Scott Owens on February 5, 2012 by Scot

–Hey Scott, Teachers are some my favorite people.

RT— What and where do you teach?

Scott–I teach creative writing, composition, and literature at Catawba Valley Community College, as well as creative writing workshops across the country.

RT— What led you into that profession?

Scott–Throughout my rather tortured childhood, it was always teachers who seemed to show me the way to better possibilities, so to me being a teacher always seemed the best thing one could do.

RT— Back when you started writing poetry, who did you emulate?

Scott–Early on I emulated Frost to a fault.  Fortunately, I discovered Galway Kinnell as an undergraduate, but both men’s poetry remain deeply influential in my writing.

RT–If you could have a do-over..what would it be?

Scott— I don’t really believe in do-overs.  Changing one thing would inevitably change many others as well.  If I could magically isolate one choice so that everything else remained unchanged, I would skip my second marriage.

RT–So if Scott Owens had “two minutes”?

Scott–If I had two minutes, I’d like to make love to my wife, but that’s a lot of pressure.  I think I’d rather just take my wife and daughter and start walking into the closest beautiful patch of woods I could find.

www.scottowenspoet.com www.scottowensmusings.blogspot.com www.poetryhickory.com www.wildgoosepoetryreview.com www.234journal.com www.poetrycouncilofnc.wordpress.com

Catching Up With Bill Roberts

Posted in INTERVIEWS with tags on November 2, 2010 by Scot

Rusty Truck: Tell me what inspired your passion with the letterpress and publishing?  When did BOSP  begin and what who was the first writer you published?

Bill Roberts:  I started the Bottle of Smoke Press in 2002.  I had seen some of the amazing letterpress work from Johnny Brewton and Jim Camp, among others.  I love the idea of printing the way that it has been done for 500 years.  Every letter counts.  It is very labor intensive, but well worth it.  The first writer that I published was A.D. Winans.  I contacted him through my friend Gary Aposhian and he agreed to let me publish some of his poetry.  The book whispers from hell became our first release.  Since then, we have published two more chapbooks and several broadsides and other single poem projects.

Rusty Truck: You have published some great poets–who or what stands out in your mind?

Bill: I have published not only some great, well known poets like Charles Bukowski, Richard Brautigan, A.D. Winans, Gerald Locklin & Lawrence Ferlinghetti, but have also published some amazing under-known poets.  Great poetry needs to be supported. There is something really special about reading great poetry from a poet who is not widely known and being able to publish them in a broadside or book.

Rusty Truck: How many different books or chaps are you able to publish in an average year.

Bill: It depends on my work schedule.  Like most in the small press, I have a day job that (almost) pays the bills.  I publish at least 6 books, plus a lot of smaller broadsides, or other single poem projects.  Many of these items are given to friends of the press or sent with other orders.  I love the idea of printing poetry and giving it away.  Of course, I sell the full length books and try to sell them at a price that is fair yet lets me afford to do the next project.

Rusty Truck: How do you know when it’s right?

Bill: It is never 100% right.  I always look at my older releases and wish that I had used a different font or wished that I had printed a border in a different color, etc.  I always push myself to try to do better, but know that I am still growing.  My releases are getting more involved and I am always proudest of the latest release, so I feel that I am moving in the right direction.  If I found myself completely happy with everything that I printed, I would probably lose interest.  It is all about the journey, not the destination.

Rusty Truck: In the day when anyone can be a publisher or for that matter a writer, why do you do what you do?

Bill: I publish and print great poetry, yet cannot write even average poetry or prose.  It is my way of contributing to an art that I love.  Anyone can use MS Word and can publish in their basement.  I am glad to see more people doing it.  Beginning with the mimeo and up to the current technology, great results can be obtained through desktop publishing in your basement.  I wish that more people would join in on the fun and start their own press.  I publish because I love the writing and feel that it needs to be printed and published.  The major publishers publish very little poetry.  It falls to the small press publishers to keep great writers from writing into a void.  I print many of my broadsides and some books letterpress on an antique Chandler & Price press from 1914.  This press weighs 1200 lbs.  The press is not what takes up most of the space.  My print shop (converted attached garage) contains over 100 cases of lead type, paper cutters, ink, etc.  Becoming a letterpress printer requires a commitment of time, money and space.

Rusty Truck: Your latest project, Drowning Like Li Po in a River of Red Wine by A.D. Winans, what prompted or led you to undertake a book this size?

Bill: This is the most involved book that I have published to date.  I first published A.D. Winans 8 years ago. He was the first poet that I published.  I felt that A.D.’s work needed to be published in a best-of collection, but that it needed to be much more substantial than a chapbook.  The original plan was for a 200 page book.  The book grew to nearly 400 pages and we could have at least doubled the size of the book with great poetry.  Many of these great poems have not been published in decades and are only available in long out of print, now rare, short-run chapbooks. This book is being published in two editions:  100 perfect bound paperback copies in letterpress printed dust jacket and 50 signed hard cover copies, ¼ bound in cloth with letterpress printed covers.  The prices are $20 for the paper and $40 for the hard cover.  The hard cover sold out well in advance of the publication.  When the first printing sells out, it is my plan to reprint the paperback for a second printing and would like to keep this in print for as long as Bottle of Smoke Press is operating.

The Gerald Locklin Interview

Posted in Gerald Locklin, INTERVIEWS with tags on September 12, 2010 by Scot

Introduction by Charles Harper Webb

I first met Gerry Locklin in the pages of the late, still-lamented Wormwood Review. I’m not speaking metaphorically. Gerry’s presence was so palpable in his words, I felt as if we were meeting in the flesh. When, a few years later, we did meet that way, I felt that we’d been friends for years.

Now that we have been friends for years, I still feel as I did back in the Wormwood days: wow, this Locklin guy can really WRITE!

He doesn’t, though, write capital-P Poetry. He doesn’t wander lonely as a cloud (although he writes well about loneliness). He doesn’t write sonnets to the sensitive (although he could). He doesn’t write post-post-post-modern experiments for the cognoscenti (although he knows as much about poetry and literature as anyone). His poetry, in its deceptive simplicity, has provoked the question, “Why is this a poem?” Rather than answer in a long essay (or diatribe), I remind the questioner that Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the brainiest of the English Romantics, defined poetry as “The best words in the best order.” That’s what Locklin gives us, again and again.
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A.D. Winans: The Mexico Interview

Posted in A.D. Winans, INTERVIEWS with tags on March 12, 2010 by Scot

In 2007 A. D. Winans was one of two U.S. Poets honored at the Oaxaca, Mexico International Arts Festival  Below is an interview conducted with Mr. Winans.  Interviewer:  Daniel Eduardo De La Fuente Altamirano.

Danial Altamirano:
How would you describe the literary environment in the US?

A.D. Winans: I would describe the literary environment in the U.S. as vibrant and very much alive, but I can’t speak for the entire U.S.  I was born in San Francisco, California, and have lived here practically my entire life; therefore I only feel comfortable speaking about my own literary environment.

San Francisco has always been a Mecca for creativity, be it poetry, prose or the art world.  Many young people continue to be enthralled with the Beat poets and writers, but before the Beat Generation, there existed what was known as the San Francisco Renaissance, a designation for a range of poetic activity centered throughout the city.
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Charles Plymell: The Rusty Truck Interview

Posted in charles plymell, INTERVIEWS with tags , on February 28, 2010 by Scot

Introduction to Charles Plymell by A.D. Winans

I met Charles Plymell at a small press convention back in 1976.  We have been corresponding on and off for over thirty years.  Plymell is often associated with the Beats, but he can’t be pigeon-holed into any label, be it “Beat or: Hip.”  Much has been written about Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, but Plymell was putting his foot to the pedal while Kerouac was still trying out for the football team at Princeton University.  He was born on the plains of Kansas, and his family moved a lot, so  there was no real long-term place to call home.  He didn’t attend high school except for one year in a military school in San Antonio, Texas.  By 1950 he was in his own words “driving more miles with four on the floor than Kerouac ever did or could.”  I should point out at this time that Plymell does not wish to be identified with Kerouac.  He feels they shared nothing in common, unlike Neal Cassady, whom he was able to identify with.

I have known too damn many poets who rail against the system while at the same time living at the public trough.  Plymel isn’t one of them.  During his travels, he worked at a variety of jobs which includes riding in rodeos, working on a pipeline, working with his mother at daredevil car shows in Oklahoma, working as an extra in Hollywood, working on a dynamite crew on the Columbia River, and later as a longshoreman on the San Francisco docks, a job he took personal pride in.

In 1951 he drove his new Chevy from San Antonio to Blythe, California, where his father had a farm.  The family also farmed in South Dakota, during which time Plymell took pride in owning a hot rod. He moved to San Francisco in late 1961 and stayed with friends from Wichita in an apartment on Ashbury, a half-block from the Haight, where I grew up as a child and teenager.  In 1962 he shared a flat on Gough Street with Ginsberg and Neal Cassady. He later moved to an apartment on Post Street, where he had a multilith press that printed the first issue of Zap Comics, with artwork by Robert Crumb.  He later became friends with poets like Lew Welch and David Meltzer, and early on frequented meetings at the apartment of Kenneth Rexroth who would later be dubbed the father of the Beats.  In 1971 City Lights published his book The Last Of The Moccasins, a delightful fast paced novel based on his road trips from Kansas to the West Coast.
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Jack Micheline: The Chiron Interview

Posted in A.D. Winans, INTERVIEWS with tags , on February 7, 2010 by Scot

By A. D. Winans

 

Jack Micheline lived in San Francisco. He authored several books, including I Kiss Angels, Skinny Dynamite, Letter to Jack Kerouac in Heaven and A Man Obsessed who does Not Sleep Who Wanders About the Night Mumbling to Himself Counting Empty Beer Cans. In 1957, Nat Hentoff, Jean Shepard and Charles Mingus awarded him the Revolt in Literature Award at the Half-Note Club in New York City. That same year his first book, River of Red Wine was introduced by Jack Kerouac. This interview was conducted September 23, 1997, in San Francisco and published shortly after his death in 1998.

TO MY GRANDFATHER
Louis Silver Lipinsky

You sat in your room
amidst the towers of the city
and read your books of Hebrew
absorbing the ages of
wisdom and mystical chants.
White locks covered your hair with age.
When you walked the streets
children followed you.
You told them fairy tales
and their eyes glittered
dreams of wonderland.

–Jack Micheline


A.D. WINANS:
You have often said that you’re not a poet. What do you mean by that statement? If you’re not a poet what is a poem?

JACK MICHELINE:
What is a poem? I don’t know, but when I feel high, when I feel intuitive, when I feel good, I write very quickly. My pen or pencil moves on the pages of my notebooks. I feel like I’m tuned into a higher space. A connection to a higher spirit. I really don’t know what a poem is. I don’t concern myself with definitions, so I’m not really interested in what a poem is.
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