ČERVENÁ BARVA PRESS NEWSLETTER
Gloria Mindock, Editor Issue No. 86 July, 2014
Welcome to the July, 2014 Červená Barva Press Newsletter
Hi Everyone! Happy summer!
The press has been very busy. Proofs will be sent to many of you this month. I have help this
summer which is great!!!
Mikail Jaikaran has been interning with the press since last year and
continues to help.
Ayla Zuraw-Friedland started interning in June (a student at Connecticut College)
and will be with the press until August 9th.
Jason Wright who interned for me a few years ago
(met him when I spoke at the Publishing Certificate Program at Emerson College taught
by Gian Lombardo) has returned to work more with the press. All of them are working hard
and are very good at what I ask them to do. Words cannot express how grateful I am for all
their help. They are amazing!
Flavia Cosma and Alan Britt were here to read for the press on June 21st.
It was great to see Flavia again and meet Alan. I had so much fun with both of them.
On June 22nd, we were part of the We Are You Project International, New England Edition
presented by the Fountain Street Gallery in Framingham, MA and read our poetry on
"We Are You Project themes, such as Latino struggles against alienation, and
for ethical inclusion in U.S. society." Poets in this program were: Alan Britt,
Michael Foldes, Flavia Cosma, Gloria Mindock, and Duda Penteado. You can read
some of our poetry at the We Are You Project website. There also was a documentary
directed by Duda Penteado at The Amazing Things Art Center on June 25th. I was
sorry that I could not make it to this documentary.
36 major Latino contemporary artists are showcased at the Fountain Street Gallery:
José Acosta, Efren Alvárez, Nelson Alvárez, Hugo X. Bastidas, Josephine Barreiro,
Monica S. Camin, Jacqui Casale, Carlos Chavez, Pablo Caviedes, Laura L. Cuevas, Maritza Davíla,
Ricardo Fonseca, Roberto Marquez, Elizabeth Jimenez Montelongo, Hugo Morales,
Lisette Morel, Patricio Moreno Toro, Gabriel Navar, Isabel Nazario, Julio Nazario, Joe Pena,
Duda Penteado, Marta Sanchez, Mel Ramos, Ana Rivera, Jesus Rivera, José Rodeiro,
Rolando Reyna, Sergio Villamizar and Raúl Villarreal.
The exhibition runs through August 3rd. Check it out.
It is a traveling exhibition so please check the We Are You Project website to see where this
exhibition will be next. The exhibition is just incredible!
To read the full article written, please go to:
Please add this magazine to your favorites: http://ragazine.cc/
This is one of the best online magazines that I've seen.
As you can see, this project is very active. Visit their website for more information:
Visit the Fountain Street Gallery Website at: http://www.fountainstreetfineart.com/
A huge thank you to Cheryl Clinton and Marie Craig!
It was such an honor to be a part of this. Thank you Alan for asking me to be a part of this with the other readers.
It was such a wonderful launch. Readers helping Bill Yarrow celebrate were:
Susan Tepper, Timothy Suermondt, Pui Ying Wong, Annie Pluto, Marc Vincenz and Philip Nikolayev
To order Bill's chapbooks by MadHat Press and Cervena Barva Press, go to:
Incompetent Translations and Inept Haiku by Bill Yarrow
The Lice of Christ by Bill Yarrow
The next two chapbooks to be published this month are:
Herding by Anne Harding Woodworth
and The Afterimages by David P. Miller.
This summer, there will be workshops offered in the Červená Barva Press Studio.
We believe that you should not have to break the bank to take quality classes
Announcements will be made soon.
Interviewed this month: Myles Gordon and Richard Peabody
Give us a quick Bio. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Milton, Massachusetts until I was 13, then moved to Newton, Massachusetts.
I went to UMass, Amherst for college, and aside from a few stints and trips elsewhere, I've
been in Massachusetts most of the time.
Who has been your greatest influence as a writer?
I would say, first off, my father was my greatest influence as a writer. He was a newspaper editor from
the old school. He grew up in Boston, and dropped out of school when he was 15 to become a "newspaper boy,"
then later a boxing, horse race writer, then sports editor. He edited many sections of his paper
(the old Record American/Herald Traveler) in a fifty year career.
My second biggest influence has been Kathleen Spivack, a very important writer who mentored me for many years.
What inspired you to use the form of a sonnet
in "Until it Does Us In?" Talk a little bit about what got you started on this project.
I used the sonnet form because it worked for me. "Until It Does Us In" is highly, emotionally charged,
and the discipline of the sonnet allows me to contain and channel the motion. Otherwise it would be too
unwieldy. I got started on this project speculating about the impact of the Holocaust generations after
it occurred. Most of my mother's family was killed in the Holocaust, and my father was a Jewish soldier
in an army unit that liberated concentration camps. The stories I heard from them and the trauma I felt
from them still affect me, even though the Holocaust took place 70 years ago. "Until it Does Us In," in part,
deals with that trauma and those stories, and the fact that it all still impacts people generations later.
What led your decision to go in to teaching after your work with Channel 5?
Does the experience of being a teacher influence your writing? What has been
your favorite part of teaching?
My favorite part of teaching is the students, and making the change was the right thing for me to do at the time.
How has your family's relationship to the Holocaust,
being "survivors" or people that managed to just barely escape,
influenced your writing? Do you approach the topic in other works?
My family's relationship to the Holocaust influences my writing greatly, even if it's not an overt
topic in a piece of writing. Sometimes I wake up at night and image comes to me of my mother's
grandparents and other family members being marched from their village in Poland to open pits where
they were forced to lie down and shot. Sometimes that image will just pop into my head during the day.
Then I look at the people around me, or whatever I'm doing and everything is just... different.
The world becomes a bit of a tragic, farcical mirage. One reviewer, I think erroneously, describes
that component of my work as "existential." I don't think it is. I think that's a cop out to say that.
There are things people want to tune out of this world, that other people can't. I have this belief
that if more people came to terms that horrendous things happen, like the Holocaust, and that
they're perpetrated by ordinary people such as you and I, this awareness perhaps will give us
more empathy towards each other. I don't know. On the other hand, I don't have some mission or
belief that my writing can "change the world," or help anyone, or anything like that.
The Holocaust experience is embedded in me and so I write about it - maybe it's as
basic as that.
Where is your favorite place to write?
That's a great question! I have no favorite place to write. Writing is elusive and doesn't
often cooperate. So whenever writing cooperates - that's the place to be.
How do you feel your writing process or writing in general has evolved through your career changes?
I don't know. I am kind of superstitious about writing. If I write something successfully in some phase
of life that ends, I worry that I won't be able to do so in a new phase - until I do and then
it's okay. I don't know where writing "comes from" or what external factors play into it. It's
just something that has always happened.
What are you reading over summer break?
I don't have anything particularly planned. I have a big book case with lots
of books and i often just grab something randomly and start reading.
Do you have any advice for new writers?
Have fun writing. It's serious and it isn't. Poets - don't be self conscious about what you
write because no one is going to read it anyway (I speak from personal experience).
Writing is important. Writing isn't important. Believe in yourself. Definitely believe in
yourself. Find a solid mentor.
READ LOTS OF THINGS BY OTHER PEOPLE - THIS WILL MAKE YOUR OWN WRITING MORE INTERESTING!!!!
If you can afford it, buy books - this is good karma and maybe someday someone will buy
your book. The creative enhancement of drinking or recreational drug taking on writing is
grossly over rated. The best writing is done sober, with a level head. Experiment.
EXPERIMENT. Get enough exercise. Writing is a truly wonderful gift to yourself, so
protect yourself from those who would discourage you - find supportive folks who will
read your work and smile. Become a supportive person to other writers - it will come back to you,
positively. Eat well. Dream well. WRITE ALL THE TIME!!!
Give us a brief autobiography.
Born at Georgetown University Hospital, spent first year in Arlington, VA, then
lived above my father's pet shop in NW DC for a few years, before moving to Bethesda
where I grew up right beside NIH. Went to Ohio U., transferred to Maryland, earned my MA at
American University. Hitchhiked around the country in 1976. Started the mag when I came home.
First workshops I taught were at St. John's College in Annapolis. Eventually taught at
Writer's Center in Bethesda, UVA, Georgetown, University of Maryland, and began at Johns
Hopkins in 1995. Co-owned a bookstore that same year: Atticus Books and Music in
the U Street corridor. Didn't really begin writing until I was at Ohio U. I'm a bit of
a late bloomer in everything I do.
Describe the best french toast you've ever had.
Might have been in Montreal. I remember Halva with bananas and strawberries. Honey instead of syrup.
In another interview, you talked about how Gargoyle got its name after a photography misadventure
that resulted in more pictures of gargoyles than it did of the subject in mind: the Pan statue.
Why did you initially set out to name the publication Pan?
I had a list of contenders. Pan had links to a 60s band that Ron Elliott (guitarist of the Beau Brummels)
had been involved with, and then there's the great scene in The Wind in the Willows where Pan puts the
animals to sleep. That's the scene Pink Floyd used for their first album
title-The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. A totally surreal chapter that has
nothing to do with the rest of the book. And Pan was much better than The Potter's Wheel,
another contender. We couldn't get a decent shot of the Pan statue in front of the Herb Cottage
no matter what we did. But Rusty just started shooting the gargoyles on the National Cathedral
while we set up photography paraphernalia trying to get a good shot and once we developed the
roll the name for the mag became obvious. Sadly, the Pan statue is no more.
What sparked the idea to start a literary magazine?
I took an Irish Lit course in grad school and fell in love with all things Irish.
Didn't discover I had a drop of Irish blood until I took the Ancestry.com DNA test this year.
No record of it in the family tree. But the music the art the lit resonated for me. Richard Murphy
was one of the first poets I ever heard read. He had long hair and seemed to be my age though
in fact he must have been 50+ at the time. That's when I learned that poetry keeps you young.
On the Bicentennial hitching trip I landed quite by accident in Madison, Wisconsin, where I went
to a poetry reading by Warren Woessner and Tuschen. Woessner had a radio show and co-founded
Abraxas magazine but Tuschen blew my mind cuz he didn't use his first name,
had a terrible stutter and could barely get a word out, until he read his poems,
which he were clear and perfect. I bought his book and later printed some of his work.
And when I came back home I decided it was time to do something-though a press or a
magazine I wasn't sure.
What is the most challenging part of maintaining a literary magazine? What have been your favorite parts,
or the things that have felt the most rewarding?
Everybody wants to discover somebody and that has been fun.
We decided from the get-go that we'd print new writers and forgotten writers. That was the stated goal.
Nothing beats the high you get off the first issue. Warts and all. I get a certain satisfaction on keeping it
going when for many the lifespan is 2-3 issues. Most challenging is always money and distribution.
Library sales are nothing like they were in the 80s. But I love the tribe and this idea of "literary
citizenship." Paying your dues and helping others get started. I help fledgling literary magazines
and presses if they want help. Mostly I encourage, steer writers to other markets, blurb books, etc.
And all of that has spun out of the actual magazine.
Loved printing Maxine Clair's first work. Printed Rita Dove's fiction.
Had a correspondence with Paul Bowles and Edouard Roditi. Took John Gardner a bottle of Mead when he
was up in Baltimore. Love gathering contributors together for readings. And at some point in the
late 70s, doing a couple of road trips around the country to introduce the mag to indie bookshops
like Tattered Cover, Borders (when it was an indie in Ann Arbor), Elliott Bay, Prairie Lights in
Iowa City, and on and on.
What is the process of selecting stories to publish? Do you ever start out looking for anything in particular?
No, we don't do themed issues of the magazine. We did a bunch of anthologies for St. Martin's in the 90s.
Mondo Barbie being the first. At this point we've read so many stories that we know what we don't want,
which is a huge part of the editing process. Being a writer is akin to 90% rejection. We're a little
different because we like to read/write/teach/publish both realism and experimental writing. A rare thing
in this country. Because we do both there are a lot of folks who think we have no taste and must take
everything we receive. I believe it's more likely that we accept 1 out of every 100 stories we're sent.
Better than it was in the early days. Now that we use so many interns for the slush pile I like to get 3 yes
votes before I'll even read the story. Because we see so many. There was a time I read them all but now I
mostly read works by people I know or have heard of before. Some surprising things have turned up in the
slush lately though. The interns have been doing a great job.
In your nomination for the "Above and Beyond Award," someone described the work you do
as: "dedicated to printing work by unknown poets and fiction writers, as well as seeking
out the overlooked or neglected." Do you feel there are still specific groups of writers that
fit that description that have yet to come to light?
Writers are so introverted that it's real work to pry anything out of some of them.
I beat my head against that writerly wall for decades. I think the net has opened everybody up considerably,
to the point that some magazines have stopped snail mailed submissions. I'm considering that step myself.
It does seem like anything that comes from the USPS these days is from a writer who has no idea what's
being written now. I always hope that some Luddite master writer is out there but I haven't found them yet.
Now that creative nonfiction and translations are so in and trendy, I think it's a great time for
literary excavation. So many talented writers have o.p. books and could use a burst of spotlight.
I think we all have a favorite that we'd promote.
CBP: What do you consider to be special or unique to Washingtonian writers?
LA is about Hollywood. DC is about the government. This has always been a COMPANY town in that regard.
I think the NY houses have always wanted to find thrillers and detective novels to spin into film.
It's a hungry mawl that needs to be fed. When I began in 1976 there were tons of indie magazines and
readings. Since then the literary population has grown and evolved. There were good writers here
before but now there are so many-George Pelecanos, Edward P. Jones, Marita Golden, Alice McDermott,
Mary Kay Zuravleff, Carolyn Parkhurst, Julia Slavin, Alma Katsu, Tim Wendel, Louis Bayard,
Keith Donahue, et al.
And since DC is a transient city poets and writers come and go all of the time. International organizations bring in lots as well.
How has the content of the magazine evolved with the passage of time and quickly cycling editorial staffs?
Dunno that I agree with the "quickly cycling." That's true of a lot of university magazines. I've been here
since day one and we've always had a shared process. Not collaborative. More I want this and you don't but
if you let me run this one, I'll let you run that one. We negotiate. Now that we've been using interns so much
these past five years, I like to get them to commit to 2-3 pieces they'll fight for when the deadline approaches.
Keeps it real.
In the early days we were noted for doing so many interviews and reviews. The online world has taken over both
aspects of things literary, so we now pack every issue with as much poetry and fiction as we can. We make a
lot more room for nonfiction these days. And since our printer, Main Street Rag in Charlotte, NC, owns their
own POD equipment, we've been able to expand the magazine into the 400-500pp realm. We no longer have to be
slaves to our storage facility for past inventory, nor do we have to print 2,000cc in order to get a discount.
We print as need arises and everybody is happier.
What are some of the biggest and most important changes you've seen come about in publishing
in the last 40 or so years Gargoyle has been in print?
The Borders vs. Barnes and Noble death match killed off most of the indie bookshops.
And now with Borders gone, Barnes and Noble no longer needs to stock as much. Of course it's predicted that
they will go belly-up in 2015. The rumor is getting quite loud. The online mags went from being
ignored to being accepted in record time. There are still power levels or strata in the lit world
but they seem less relevant when a fan fiction writer can sell a book for 6 figures to the bigs. I
think the gap between mass-market fiction and literary fiction has increased. Libraries have
astonished me by making books less important in their overall collections. I love the idea of e books.
We hope to get our backlist and archival materials online in e-copies but it's slow going. It moves
so quickly. Remember CDs? Seems like yesterday. Now poets can do individual downloads of their work,
videos. You can watch somebody read in places you've never traveled. Oh and I love the new desktop
technology. When we started we were cutting and pasting long lines of type with wax guns. And the
Submittable site has been perfect for handling magazine submissions. Amazing time to be alive in terms
of the possibilities. How long can it all survive?
What remains though is the actual writing.
How has the role of being an editor or a mentor on behalf of other blossoming writers over the years
had an effect on your own writing? Does it make you more critical of yourself or do you manage to
keep the two identities separate?
I must get a lot of satisfaction from teaching or I wouldn't do it. And helping another poet or writer
over some of the art blockades has been fun. I hope they learn as much from me as I learn from them.
I never planned on becoming a teacher. That idea was purely a means to an end. And yes, I find it
impossible to write while I'm teaching. The editorial side is so strong that it can and does get in the way.
I distract mine with music most of the time. The critical brain gets easily entangled in instrumental
music of any type. My daughters are in those teenage years. Might be why flash fiction and short
shorts are so popular. Rough for me to write anything longer. And by longer I mean 10-20pp. I can
usually handle 1-5pp before somebody has to be fed or driven somewhere.
I regret wasting so much time in my 30s and 40s. And children have required me to be very focused.
So yeah, when I'm not teaching I can really let things rip. Give me a week at a colony and
I will churn something out.
What is the most important advice you can give to writers in the process
of submitting work to Gargoyle or any other literary magazine?
The old saw = read the magazine. Duotrope.com and Newpages.com have made it easier to see what editors
want and print. Stores don't carry that many any longer. And who can afford to keep up with buying all
of them? But if you get a taste for a particular mag you have a much better grounding and chance.
The process is really like making friends. I hope to meet kindred spirits. People who do this because
they have to do it. I meet tons of people who want to be Stephen King by tomorrow. That was never my goal.
I'm in this for the long haul no matter what happens. It's a life choice not a job.
What's next for you?
Local indie, Alan Squire Publishing, is assembling The Peabody Reader, a sort of Best Of a la the old Viking
Portable series (Conrad, Crane, et al.). Not that I'm on that level. Still, the idea of having the best of my
existing work-poetry, fiction, non-fiction-gathered in one place is appealing, particularly since so many previous
publishers are defunct. That's due out 2015.
Beyond that we're readying Gargoyle #61 for late July. And I hope to get some writing done over summer vacation. We shall see.
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