Tag Archives: issue 5

Interview with Chiyuma Elliott

Hope you all had a fine Thanksgiving! I had a great one myself; very little family equals very little hassles. Perfectly roast turkey and a bottle of Maker’s 46 can’t be beat.
Anyway, this’ll most likely be the last interview for this issue. I’d like to thank all the authors for taking the time to answer my questions, and thanks to everyone for reading. Here’s Chiyuma Elliott, who gave us two poems: “From” and “Bildungsroman.”
Describe your work in 25 words or less.
Ever since I read Van Jordan’s poem “from” I’ve been making (and hijacking) poetic forms.
Tell us about your poems “From” and “Bildungsroman.”
Way too autobiographical. I’m still freaked out to have published these. Every summer, Toi Derricotte tells all the poets at the Cave Canem retreat: “Write the hard poem.” I listened to her, and it turns out that the hard poem right now is about race and sex and place. How those things shape the way some of us grow up.
What or who inspires you to write?
Nouns. And visual art. Love calls us to the things of this world, right? I spend a lot of time on Etsy, looking at paintings. And at FoundMagazine.com, which is like a giant writing prompt. In my dreams sometimes, I write like Rilke: house, bridge, fountain, gate, pitcher, fruit-tree, window. Last night, I woke up and realized I’d been remixing a manifesto by Kandinsky into a bunch of found poems in my sleep. They weren’t done, of course—but it was really beautiful to see the drafts in my head, to watch the words rearranging like that. Usually, the writing process is much more laborious!
What authors have influenced you as a writer?
Right now, I think I’d be lost without Carl Phillips and Katie Peterson and Robert Hayden and E. E. Cummings. And Natasha Trethewey’s ekphrastic poems. Also everyone who’s gutsy enough to write ghazals.
Do you have a blog/website?
Nope—that feels too exposed somehow.
Where can we read you next?
I’ve got a new poem (a bent triolet) in Dear Sir: http://www.dearsir.org/sites_current_issue_writers_13/chiyuma_elliott.html
I’ve also got work coming out soon in two anthologies: the White Space Poetry Anthology (edited by Maya Washington), and Three Minus One (co-edited by Sean Hanish and Brooke Warner).
What are you working on right now?
A long series of poems called Tanabata about my childhood sweetheart. I keep thinking about James Baldwin—how he said he wrote Another Country to find out if love exists in the world. I get that. I think I’m writing Tanabata to find out if love matters.
Any advice for other writers?
Listen to Toi: write the hard poem. Then do it again. It will make you a braver, better writer to take risks on the page. Even if you don’t share those poems with anyone.
Anything else you’d like to say?
If I could magically have a different talent, I’d work with molten glass. I’m in love with a series called “Desire Path Revisited” by Julie Alland, and I think everyone else should be too:

Interview with Art Heifetz

Hope everyone’s having a fine Tuesday morning, or at least one better than the store is. Today’s interview is with Art Heifetz, who contributed “Bargains” to Issue 5. 
Describe your work in 25 words or less.
I enjoy telling stories, simply and musically. I want to make you smile, laugh, cry. Anything but leave you cold.
Tell me about your poem “Bargains.”
It’s about my father, his obsession with getting a good deal, and our visits to the “discount house.”
What or who inspires you to write?
My wife, Mayela, a Nicaraguan beauty. My old Peace Corps buddy Ray and his wife, Aouicha.
What authors have influenced you as a writer?
William Carlos Williams ( the subject of my never-to-be-completed dissertation), my namesake Malka Heifetz Tussman (a Yiddish American poet) and Nicaraguan poets such as Ruben Dario.
Do you have a blog/website?
Where can we read you next?
Writers Tribe Review, current issue.
What are you working on right now?
Storypoems about my family. Poems about Nicaragua. Poems about the crazy modern world.
Any advice for other writers?
Keep it simple. Write straight from the heart. Work on the rhythm of the words.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Even at 67, life still has a lot of surprises in store.

Issue 5 is Ready to Take Your Money!

Finally, you can now purchase Issue 5 (just in time for Issue 6’s submission period to start). To buy, click the Buy tab above or just click here. We’ve got poetry by Lindsay Doukopoulos, Sarah Kravitz, Jacob Euteneuer, Chiyuma Elliott, and Art Heifetz, fiction from Carly Berg, and cover art by Zakk Maher, below:


The title of the photo is “Portrait of the Artist as a 4 Year Old.” Figured it was a fine picture for our Innocence themed issue. Big thanks to Zakk for at least saving me the last minute scramble for cover art that I had to do for each previous issue. Contributors, thank you, and be on the lookout for your issues (and money, for some). Readers, please hand over your measly three dollars for an issue or five.

New submission period starts tomorrow! Author interviews next week (probably)!


News and One Last Interview with Karrie Waarala


Another fine submission period is over with, and now I start the arduous task of deciding the contest winners and putting the issue together (which, due to a computer failure and my distrust of cloud computing, will have to be done from scratch).  So, hold your submissions until November 1, and start saving up your pennies for this issue. I figure it’ll be out in a week, but we’ll see how my work/play balance works out.

Regardless, thanks to everyone who submit their poems and fiction and especially art, which came in spades this time around. Every time I’m down on this whole thing (usually after reading a poem about the environment with rhyming couplets), I get a submission that makes it all worth it.


Late but never unwanted, we’ve got our last interviewee from Issue 4, Karrie Waalara, who gave us her poem “Reunion” to publish.



Describe your work in 25 words or less.
Tiny snapshots of life (some mine), mostly disguised as persona or how-to.

Tell me about your poem “Reunion.”

“Reunion” is one of the rare poems of late that doesn’t fall into either of the two categories above. It’s just the snapshot, no disguise, of that bittersweet moment when a former love finally truly becomes a friend. It’s easy to say, “Oh, sure, we stayed friends after we broke up” — but in reality it can take a circuitous route to get there.
What or who inspires you to write?
Almost any little glimpse of life can make me want to write. I keep those moments filed away in notebooks or in the back of my brain until they find the right poem. As far as actually sitting down to do the writing… lots of other things I “should” be doing can make writing irresistible. Villanelles are more fun than cleaning the garage or giving the dog a bath.

What authors have influenced you as a writer?
I was just telling one of my creative writing classes that when I look back at my early writing, I can tell exactly whose work I was reading at the time. All of that young, eager imitation. I hope that the influence isn’t as transparent now… but the long list would include writers like Anne Sexton, Marge Piercy, Lucille Clifton, Patricia Smith, Thomas Lynch, Sandra Beasley, Sandra Cisneros…

Do you have a blog/website?
I’m online at www.poetrysideshow.com.
What are you working on right now?
I seem to be at one of those in-between times lately in which the new ideas are percolating. Those can go on for months for me before the work comes pouring out. I’ve been using the time to focus on revising my manuscript of circus persona poems and trying to find it a good home.

Any advice for other writers?
Read. Read, read, read. And then read some more. It’s impossible to be a writer without being a reader.

Issue 5’s Contest Theme: Innocence

So, I originally started doing a contest each issue because 

1. being one of the fastest markets in Duotrope’s database seemed like an accomplishment worth celebrating.

2. more submissions are always a good thing.

and 3. it seemed like something a literary magazine does. 

So, this’ll be our third contest, and I struggled for a theme. Working and going about my business, the question knocked around in the background noise of my mind.

After a few days, I realized that there was a reoccurring theme over the past few days. I remarked to someone that one of the ways I know I’m getting older is that when I see innocence in someone, I don’t want to corrupt them anymore, but instead admire anyone that still has it, especially at our age. Also, now that I’m older and married, I’ve got a raging case of baby fever, and infants are about as innocent as they come, what with their stupid faces and useless legs. Finally, I remembered that the first story I ever got published was about the futility of trying to maintain someone’s innocence in a place that’s anything but. 

So, the theme of the issue is innocence in any of its forms: judicial, moral, and even the euphemistic way of referring to virginity. 

$20 will be given to the best story for the theme, and $20 for the best poem. The submission guidelines are the same as the ones listed here: https://bopdeadcity.wordpress.com/submissions/, except that you must indicate that you would like your poems or story (or both, I guess) to be considered for the contest. The deadline is the same as the one for all submissions; October 1.

Finally, since I’m posting this a little late, anyone who has already submitted to us is more than welcome to submit something different that fits these guidelines. I’m not about to screw anyone out of twenty whole dollars.

Issue 5 is now open to submissions!

Well, that was a short month. Thanks to everyone who bought a copy of Issue 4. We’ve still got a few copies left, so get them while you still can; it’s a fine way to see what Bop Dead City is in the business of publishing. 

There will be a contest for this submission period, only I haven’t thought of the theme yet. Any suggestions would be most welcome. Anyway, I look forward to reading everyone’s submissions, so send them along. Good luck!