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Interview! Christine Stoddard! Issue 18!

Here’s Christine, who did the same trip I did from north to south, but backwards. She’s got a hell of a lot of interesting stuff going on. Being a go-getter, what’s that like? Check out her sites and find out!
Describe your writing in 25 words or less.
My writing is a factory that manufactures glitter collage dreams and pony sweat. That factory is set deep in an enchanted forest that’s on fire.

Talk about your poem “Couchsurfing in Bushwick.”

The poem is part of my chapbook manuscript, Lavinia Moves to New York. The book, which I’m currently shopping around to publishers, is loosely based on an ex-friend’s story. Or should I say, my speculation merged with insights from my own personal experience. This friend and I had a falling out years ago, but I still check up on her from time to time. In my online stalking, I learned that she moved to New York City, lived there for about a year, and then moved back home. And that’s really all I know for sure.
Still, her background as a biracial woman from the South always fascinated me. There are not many of us, at least those who are open about it. There’s too much stigma attached. It’s no surprise that people who are white-passing as I am usually prefer to benefit from their white privilege. My friend did not have that luxury. She looked more like her black father than I resemble my Latina mother.
I wanted to imagine what it might be like for her to move to Bushwick, a place I got to know before I even met her. It’s also a place that I briefly lived after she already moved back home. In this poem and others in the collection, I simply blended some of the real with the unreal.

Who or what inspires you to write?

Everything from bullets to butterflies. Life is ugly; life is beautiful.

Do you have a website or blog so we can follow your writing?

Yes, you can follow my blog,, and my online magazine, Quail Bell, at You can find my writing portfolio at

What are you working on right now?

That’s something I prefer to keep a secret. I normally have a few projects going on at once. They’re all at different stages, which allows me to almost always have something new or forthcoming.

Where can we read your work next?

I have forthcoming in several literary magazines, including Sukoon and Those That This, among others. I also have work forthcoming in a couple of anthologies, such as Nasty Women & Bad Hombres Anthology (Lascaux Editions.) Later this year, Dancing Girl Press will be publishing my chapbook, Ova, which is a collection of fiction and poetry.
Any advice for your fellow writers?
I truly believe in creating everyday. At the very least, carry around a notepad to jot down lists. Storytelling is a process. Cultivate your ideas.

Interview with Issue 18’s Patricia J. Miranda

Friday, finally. I haven’t been working a Monday-Friday, 9(ish) to 5(ish) job for very long, all things considered, but I do enjoy this weekend thing. Sorry to everyone in the service industry; I feel y’all and I’ll tip well tonight.

ANYWHO, this one’s with a fantastic young writer, Patricia J. Miranda. In addition to writing great poems, she’s got a lot of other smart, important things to say, so listen up, creeps.


Describe your writing in 25 words or less.

If I can read it six months later and not want to disown it, then it can join my collection.

Talk about your poem “The Therapist of My Dreams Writes Me a Memo.”

You know how, sometimes, random characters pop up in your dreams? Well, in one dream, this authority figure told me I’d been killing off hummingbirds, and that accusation forms the heart of the poem. I made up the “therapist” part and the “cute boys” part—well, pretty much everything in the poem—but unfortunately, the part about letting sugar water rot in the sun is a burden of guilt I must carry with me the rest of my life.

Who or what inspires you to write?

My husband and daughters expect me to do what makes me most me. Also, JRR Tolkien, Kazuo Ishiguro, Yann Martel, Lisel Mueller, and Mary Oliver (for the shake-your-head-in-awe inspiration). Literary journals like Bop Dead City, which are elbowing out space for words that aren’t meant to be weapons, but anchors and sails, mirrors and doors.

Do you have a website or blog so we can follow your writing?

No. I don’t even have a Facebook account or a smartphone. I think I’m a bit of a lost cause.

What are you working on right now?

A middle-grade fantasy novel about a girl and her best friend, a goblin. No trolls.

Where can we read your work next?

KitaabMount HopeYellow Chair Review

Any advice for your fellow writers?

Don’t let the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and our national cultural institutions be defunded.

Anything else?

Talk your words, live your beliefs, call your legislators.

Interview with Issue 18’s Catherine Edmunds

Here’s Catherine, the author of the fine poem “The Song Still Waiting.” Want to read it? Buy a copy of Issue 18.


Describe your writing in 25 words or less.

My writing aims to shake readers out of their complacency, to startle them, make them question their assumptions—and above all, to move them.
Talk about your poem “The Song Still Waiting”

I never ‘explain’ my poetry, but as is clear from the text, this poem is about the agony of losing someone you have loved for a very long time. It’s not specifically about my own father, though there are echoes – I have some old books of his that have drops of candle wax on them from reading at night, as described in the poem; and the miners’ track is a route I have walked with him on his favourite mountain, Snowdon. We all hurt with loss, we all grieve, we all have memories that cut us deeply even if they seem like such small things – a particular shirt, a pizza, a glass of whiskey. We all hope to find that song again.

Who or what inspires you to write?

Life/love/sex/death. The point being, if I appear to be writing about, say, a walk in the countryside, I’m not writing a nature poem whatever it may look like. I also make use of a few ‘muses’ who are blissfully unaware of their role in my writing, but all of whom inspire every word.

Do you have a website or blog so we can follow your writing?

I only remember my blog’s existence when someone asks me if I have one, so a better bet is to look at my multi-purpose website, which I update once in a blue moon.
What are you working on right now?

My main current project is a set of poems due for publication in September that take as their source the memories of dementia patients. I am writing a magazine review of a new novel about Vincent Van Gogh, writing the foreword for a forthcoming poetry collection, and writing poems, flashes and short stories on a daily basis. I’ve recently finished a novel so am concentrating more on the short forms at the moment to give myself a breather before embarking upon another longer work.
Where can we read your work next?

I submit so many stories and poems, I don’t know where to start. I have something new either online or in print virtually every week, but I am particularly happy at the moment to have placed poems in a forthcoming anthology of disability poetry from Nine Arches Press. Details will be on my website in due course.
Any advice for your fellow writers?

Read more. Seriously, even if you’re utterly immersed in writing your latest novel, you need to be reading as much other writing as you can.

Anything else?

I have strong views on craft, and accessibility, but rather than subject you to a lengthy rant on this subject, I’ll direct you to a guest blog piece I wrote recently for The Literary Consultancy.

Q + A with Jennifer Martelli, Issue 18 Contest Winner

Though she’s already been interviewed by us about ten issues ago, she was generous enough to answer even more inane questions. Hurry, Jenn! And remember, if you want to read Jennifer’s award-winning poem “At the Border,” you can buy a copy of Issue 18 by clicking here.



Describe your writing in 25 words or less.

That is a tough one! I can say what I’m not, or where I’m trying to improve: I’m not a very good narrative poet. I’m working on that!


Talk about your poem “At The Border.”

“At the Border” is sort of an ekphrastic poem. I have an old snapshot of my younger sister with my grandfather on the couch, and you can see my hand, arm and leg (a 60’s version of a photo bomb). I’ve been writing about Kitty Genovese (murdered in Queens, NY, 1964), and kind of entwining my own childhood in the 60’s. That picture—my go-go orange tights, my tanned arms—seemed to embody so much of that time. . . .including the bigotry.


Who or what inspires you to write?

I’m inspired by reading other poets, or by becoming obsessed with something. I rarely plan to write a poem. So, I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction (about the murder), which I have to temper with poetry, for the music. I’m re-reading Danez Smith’s [insert] boy.


Do you have a website or blog so we can follow your writing?

Yes, my website is I am very bad about updating it! I also have a Facebook author page.


What are you working on right now?

I have two manuscripts almost done (I think). The one nearest to my heart is about Kitty Genovese.


Where can we read your work next?
I have working forthcoming (in March) in Tinderbox, and later into the spring, in Outlook Springs and Glass Poetry. My chapbook, After Bird,  was chosen by Grey Book Press to be published later in the spring also. I also have a “collage” essay in Five 2 One (again, about Kitty).
Any advice for your fellow writers?

Write! Write! And find a writing community!

Anything else?

Don’t stray too far from poetry!

Last Issue 17 interview: Preeti Talwai

Hi everybody! Soon the interviews with our Issue 18 authors will be posted, but here’s Preeti, who gave us three poems (a Bop Dead City record) and honestly, I should have published all five that she sent. She’s got some wise words, and if you’d like to read her amazing stuff, click here or, if you’re a real jerk, don’t.

Describe your writing in 25 words or less.
I would characterize my poetry as always vulnerable, often nostalgic, and sometimes unsettling. I revel in the “what could have been.”

Tell me about your poems “Skin,” “Someone,” and “Home.”
All three poems, in different ways, are about coming to terms with the idiosyncrasies of one’s identity. “Skin” is about a South Asian woman confronting the aesthetic expectations of Western beauty — her physical identity. “Someone” is a cry for acceptance and celebration of fragility and imperfection in emotional identity. And “Home” attempts to capture the yearning for belongingness — searching for the symbolic feeling of “coming home” — and speaks to a kind of spiritual identity. Like much of my writing, these poems, too, are a way for me to dissect and grapple with my own insecurities and sense of self. 
Who or what inspires you to write?
My everyday observations, nostalgia about the past, my social interactions, and the work of other poets. I often write as a way to analyze my own thoughts and emotions and reflect on emotional experiences. I am inspired to write when I have encounters with others; my poetry is a way to express in writing what I cannot express verbally to that person —  a kind of afterthought to an emotional experience. As a result, my poems are often very short and written in the second person. I’m also very inspired by my cultural background and experiences growing up as a first generation Indian American. 
When did you first start writing poetry?
I can remember writing my first poems for school projects in elementary school, and acrostic poems for family and friends.
What are you working on now?
Sporadic bursts of poetry, that I hope will crystallize into some sort of collection or book.
Is there a website/blog where we can keep up with your work?
Not yet, but hopefully in the near future!
Any advice for your fellow writers?
Don’t equate your literary performance/acceptance with your literary identity. I think this is particularly hard because many writers take their craft so personally. 

Bop Dead City finally got a Twitter!

I decided to finally get with the times (if the time was 2012 or so) and get Bop Dead City a twitter. It’s, surprisingly, @bopdeadcity.

So, feel free to follow and if you don’t seem like trash, I’ll follow you back.



Issue 19 is open to submissions!

Just a friendly reminder that our 19th issue is open to submissions from yesterday (oops) until April 1. Also, a little early because I want it now, it’s Bop Dead City’s 5th Annual Flash Fiction and Poetry Contest. The rules for that can be found on our Contests page, but in brief:

The deadline is April 1. Poems must be 50 words or less, and stories must be 500 words or less to be considered for the contest. Please include a word count with each submission. You may submit up to five poems and one story. Also, mention that it’s contest entry, just for my sake.

Prizes are $20 to the best flash poem and $20 to the best flash story, plus publication and a copy of the issue. And fame. And honor.

Good luck to everyone, and I’m excited to see what comes through this time.



Come buy Issue 18!

Finally! It’s been a long one, both here (cover art was tough to come by, as usual) and personally (a new job is tough to come by, as usual), but it’s finally wrapped up and ready to go. We’ve got poems by Jennifer Martelli, Theresa Senato Edwards, Emily Light, Allison Emily Lee, Christine Stoddard, C.J. Miles, Patricia J. Miranda, Kathleen Radigan, Catherine Edmunds, Robert Lee Kendrick, and Eve Kenneally, plus a story by Kathryn McBride.

Give an extra congratulations to Jennifer Martelli and Kathryn McBride, winner of our contests. Long time readers might remember Jennifer’s poem “Picture of a Botched Abortion,” which appeared waaaaaay back in Issue 6. Didn’t get the money then, but she raked in the $20 bucks this time for her poem “At the Border.” Kathryn’s new to us, but she’s got two good things going for her: $20 and having her name spelled the correct way (sorry, Ms. Edmunds).

Now, that cover!


This beautiful work of art, titled “Come in and sit a while,” is by the talented photographer Matt Bates. He also indicated that the format of the photo is “6x6cm Hp5+ b/w film.” I don’t know what that means, but it sure sounds impressive. An extra thanks for Matt for bailing me out on the cover art at this late hour.

Click the cover to buy yourself a copy for the low, low price of three bucks, plus a dollar for the stamp and the envelope. ORRRR if you really want to be a darling, click here to buy a whole year of Bop Dead City for just $12, straight up!

Finally, in the spirit of Oscar season (bold statement: Denzel and Viola win for Fences, but La La Land wins Best Picture), here’s the list of people I’m thanking:

Everyone who submitted

Everyone who was accepted

Everyone who read the last issue

Everyone who’s going to read this issue

My wife

My mom

My boring workplace for providing me with nothing else to do but read stories and poetry


Phew. Good luck y’all. Keep your heads up and be safe out there; you’re in Trump’s America for now.

Interview with Issue 17’s Contest Winner Kaz Sussman

Hope everyone is staying warm and dry. Shoot, we even had some snow and ice down here in Alabama. You’d think it’d be plenty of time to work on Issue 18 but… well, it’s a process. Keep checking back. In the meantime, read this interview with Kaz Sussman, winner of Issue 17’s poetry contest.




Describe your writing in 25 words or less.

Much of my work is akin to emotional spelunking, feeling my way through the unknown dark, gathering up the aggregate of experience for future contemplation

Congratulations on winning Issue 17’s contest. How did it feel when you found out? Is this your first win?

This was a sweet surprise – my first “win”.

Tell me about your poem “In Retrospect” 

Being a parent is hard work that often goes askew, despite one’s best intentions.

Who or what inspires you to write?

I’m an old guy, so I am tending towards reflection and irony, hoping for grace.

What are you working on now?
I’ve been working on shrinking up my work, killing off my tongue-twisting darlings, trying to get closer to the nub of what it is I’m attempting to say.

Is there a website/blog where we can keep up with your work?

Any advice for your fellow writers?

Go live . . . quick, now . . . work with your hands, travel. Engage in new experience so that you do not have to rely on poetic prompts, greek urns or someone else’s plums for content.

Issue 18 is done with your submissions!

Thanks to all of you for submitting and a special thanks to those who subscribed this reading period (and those who bought a back issue, for once). We’ll have the issue out as soon as I’m finished reading these… *checks inbox*… sixty emails! Christ, the holidays hit me hard. My bad, y’all, keep faith. I’ll also be posting a few more interviews with the writers from Issue 17 this month, including some future Pushcart Prize winners.

Happy reading and writing!