I know you’re an avid supporter of small presses. When did you first start exploring small presses? Would you say the majority of your reading comes from stuff not published by mainstream publishers?I first remember stumbling on to the small press in the mid '90s. I'd seen the occasional zine before then, but discovering Bukowski's work helped me connect the dots. By the end of 1997, I was spending what I could on small press subscriptions. Back then most were simple fold and staple jobs, maybe a cardstock cover, put together at a copy shop, but I loved that this was where all the undiscovered writers were cutting their teeth.
I definitely buy more small press books than anything mainstream. As mainstream publishing has been razed by corporate interests and their bottom-line bean-counters, all the life and fire and danger has gone out of books. They seek out celebrity or established names, and look for easy-handled genre books they can parlay into bubblegum entertainment for their film or TV division, its gullet ram-packed with ad space for an additional revenue stream. Not only would a masterpiece like Tropic of Cancer never see the light of day in today's publishing paradigm, Henry Miller himself would probably never publish a book – unless he was cast on a reality TV show, or something equally inane. All the beautifully dangerous stuff is being publishing by small presses...but as those same corporate greedheads control all means of decent distribution, the reach of those press remains choked off...so it's truly up to the consumer to search and seek out and refuse to settle for all that compromised pap mainstream presses have to traffic in.How was the experience of putting together a themed collection for A Deep and Gorgeous Thirst? Was that the first time you’d attempted something that linked together like that?Writing that beast was a tremendous joy for me. I wrote the first drafts faster than I've ever written, 10 sometime 15 first drafts in a day. I then spent more time editing than I've ever spent, as I quickly realized that what I had on my hands worked both as each separate poem, and as a slowly building mosaic of something much larger – a kind of autobiography through the lens of booze. The major themes of love and death leapt out from the manuscript, and I knew I had a book like I'd never read on my hands. I'd done very small, linked pieces before – a small collection of Haiku-like breath poems about New Mexico (37 Psalms from the Badlands); another grip about gritty city life (4th Street Vagaries), and a tiny book for friends about the hard working life (A Battlecry From the Trenches of the American Dream)...but nothing as massive as Thirst. That beast is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of book.You mention the strains of work quite often in your poetry. Do you tend to find that the more exhausting work is, the more you need to write? Or do busy, exhausting periods in your life make it more difficult to find the time to write?
Book(s): Fiction:Burrito Deluxe by Joseph RidgwellDigging the Vein by Tony O'NeillErotomania by Francis Levyanything by Willy VlautinPoetry: The Poem Factory by Dave NewmanCadillac Men by Rebecca SchumejdaDown Where the Hummingbird Goes to Die by Justin HydeThe Trolleyman by Bob PajichFarrago Soup by Doug Draime (Forthcoming)Anything by Bottle of Smoke Press, Tangerine Press, Wreckingball Press; Two Dollar Radio; Sunnyoutside Press; Pig Ear Press; Kilmog Press, Low Ghost Press...for starters.Non-Fiction:The Bridge to Take When Things Get Serious by Lori JakielaThe Business of Books by Andre SchffrinSong(s): "Down By the Sea" by Wilson Pickett"September Song" by Scatman Crothers"I'll Take Care of You" by Gil Scott HeronArtist(s):Jose Arroyo (Woodcuts)Emily Oaks - a 14 year-old wunderkindPlace(s): Truth or Consequences, New MexicoEvery little New Mexico town I have yet to spend a night or two inEverywhere I'd stop on some giant Kerouac roadtrip, were I to have the chance to do that again someday.Etc: "Close Your Eyes (And Count To F**k)" - Run The Jewels feat. Zack de la RochaTangerine directed by Sean BakerBoJack HorsemanThis is Not a Test podcast by Michael PhillipsOtherppl podcast by Brad ListiBernie SandersEvery first draft I finishEvery final draft I finish