Interview with Issue 17’s Ava C. Cipri

Two days in a row! Wyatt, I am rolling. Here’s Ava, author of the fantastic poem “The Monstrous Thing.” Read the interview and learn a few things (I know I did).





Describe your writing in 25 words or less.
Bearing witness by giving voice to the unnameable, the unthinkable, through the exploration of boundaries and barriers, and realizing it’s part of the human condition.


Tell me about your poem “The Monstrous Thing.” Where did you come up with the idea? What is an erasure poem?
I can’t look away; I often stare too long into the void of Miller and Nins’ illustrious affair. In the past, I’ve used some of their quotes as a springboard into my own writing, but this is the first time that I actually pulled directly from their source material. In this case, for “The Monstrous Thing” I used some notable Miller quotes constructing an erasure. An erasure is a type of found poem, where the poet sculpts her way in by erasing the majority of the text, leaving select words and phrases that, when read in order, reveal a new derivate work.


Who or what inspires you to write?
Since childhood, I’ve always been a window seat kind of person from the school bus to inside the classroom. I always needed another world to consider, to take refuge in. I have that with writing, but I’ve also experienced it with dance. The arts have the power to transcend the unbearable.

I’m inspired by writers who defy gravity with their beautiful craftsmanship: Mark Doty, Louise Glück, and Elizabeth Bishop. Then there are those that dismantle me like Etheridge Knight, Agha Shahid Ali, and Carolyn Forché. Ultimately, something must be at stake.


Editor to editor, how did you get involved with The Deaf Poets Society? What’s your selection process like?

The founder, Sarah Katz put a call out into the universe and I seized the opportunity to help shape an online journal that is staffed by disabled individuals, seeking work by disabled writers and artists. It is a platform to expand narratives about the experience of disability that complicate or altogether undo the dominant and typically marginalizing rhetoric about disability. Each submission is read in its entirety. I’m one of three poetry editors, and we all weigh in equally when making decisions. For myself, I’m always looking for poetry that is daring, unexpected and engages my senses. Ideally it is like experiencing a brain freeze after a bite of ice-cream; it has to linger creating an internal shift.


What are you working on now?
In addition to finishing my first full-length collection for submission, I’m circulating two chapbooks, and assembling a third. Then there is some experimentation happening with the lyric essay.


Is there a website/blog where we can keep up with your work?
Yes, I’m over at:


Any advice for your fellow writers?

Find a community of writers that meets your most important writerly needs. That may be in the form of a workshop or a reading series. Or, perhaps, like myself, its purpose is for submitting your work and celebrating both acceptances and rejections, knowing it is all part of the process. Knowing, this is the work that’s needed to finally become published. It is easy to become discouraged when we stay in our own heads; I have found community to be essential.

About bopdeadcity

Bop Dead City is an independent, quarterly literary magazine. We are seeking new writers who have a great story to tell. Sound craftsmanship couldn't hurt either. All of our issues are available for purchase here on the site through Paypal. If you’d like to know more about what type of work we publish, reading a back issue would be the best way to do it. View all posts by bopdeadcity

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