Authors Bios & Q/A
In addition to providing a biography, our contributors answered the following:
1. Aliens are in the backyard! How do you react?
2. If there was a literary character you could kill off, who would it be?
3. If you were a sandwich, what would you have on you?
4. What is the most painful thing you’ve ever had to read?
5. What is your least favorite or favorite pieces of clothing?
6. What is the best thing you can buy for $1?
7. What author should every serious writer read?
8. What would your pen name be?
We hope that you enjoy their answers as much as we did.
AARON ANSTETT’S fourth collection, Insofar as Heretofore, will be published in
2014. His poems recently appeared or are forthcoming in Another Chicago Magazine,
The Laurel Review, and [PANK]. He lives in Colorado with his wife, Lesley, and
1. Ask if they’re hungry.
2. The boy in The Giving Tree.
3. Horseradish and onions.
4. A draft grant proposal whose author accepted every grammar suggestion
proposed by Microsoft Word.
5. My black-and-white skeleton socks.
6. A bargain-bin book.
7. Bill Knott and/or Marcel Proust.
8. Increase Riddle.
CATHY BARBER lives in San Mateo, CA, where she serves on the advisory council
of California Poets in the Schools. She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine
Arts. Her work is forthcoming in Literary Mama, Slant, and San Diego Poetry Annual.
In addition to poetry she writes a humor blog: Is It JustMe.
1. Run! I picture an alien landing much like Europeans landing in North
America—they bring lots and lots of diseases the locals have no immunity
to. Think smallpox.
2. I don’t want to kill anybody off. Even Moriarty made for great fun.
3. Avocado and cheddar cheese.
4. I couldn’t take the Orphan Master’s Son. Things just kept going from
bad to worse to even worse. Loved The Fixer, though, so go figure.
5. Anything with wool is both my favorite and least favorite. Wool looks
great, all those great weaves, but I can’t wear it.
6. I recently found not one but two used copies of poetry books by Baron
Wormser at Green Apple books for .92 cents each.
7. Edith Wharton.
8. Catharine Parker.
MORGAN BAZILIAN is a poet and short story writer. His poems appear in Exercise
Bowler, Pacific Poetry, Angle Poetry, Dead Flowers, Poetry Quarterly, and The Innisfree
Poetry Journal. His stories have been published: in Eclectica, South Loop
Review, Embodied Effigies, Shadowbox, SLAB, and Glasschord. He enjoys scuba
diving and walks in the rain.
ANEMONE BEAULIER’S poetry has appeared or is forthcoming on Poetry Daily, and
in The Southern Review, Cimarron Review, Main Street Rag, Poet Lore, and elsewhere.
She lives in Alabama with her husband and two daughters and writes about
motherhood on the blog Bloom, Baby.
1. Bake them a pie; hide a kitchen knife under my frilly apron.
2. Most literary characters who deserve “death” get it, so I save my homicidal
fantasies for the living. If I could save a character, it would be Kate
Chopin’s Edna Pontellier.
3. I regularly sport peanut butter and jelly, since my tot uses me as a
napkin after lunch—so probably a dollop of creamy and a spoonful of
4. Instructions for assembling a crib. Hormones could not be blamed for
5. Favorite: a good bra lifts even the spirit.
6. Chocolate. Any sliver of chocolate.
7. Christian Wiman’s Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet.
8. It’s impossible to top “Anemone Beaulier.” Thanks, Mom, Dad, and
DOUG BOLLING’S poetry has appeared widely in literary reviews including Georgetown
Review, Slant, Tribeca Poetry Review, Connecticut River Review, Storm Cellar,
Wallace Stevens Journal and Basalt, among others. Most recently online in The
Missing Slate with Poet of the Month and interview. He has been nominated five
times for the Pushcart Prize.
1. Hey—do help us out of this mess!
3. Peanut butter & jelly.
4. My best friend’s obituary.
5. It’s a secret, really.
6. A solar rock.
7. Tim O’Brien.
8. Mark Train.
KEVIN BROWN is a Professor at Lee University. He has published two books of
poetry—A Lexicon of Lost Words and Exit Lines—and two chapbooks: Abecedarium
and Holy Days: Poems. He received his MFA from Murray State University.
1. Just like Billy Pilgrim: go out to greet them, knowing what will happen.
2. I would say Moby-Dick, but we see how that turned out for the Pequod.
3. Anchovies. Very few people would want to eat me.
4. High school poetry (I may or may not have written some of it).
5. Bookstore T-shirts.
6. A used paperback.
7. Herman Melville (seriously).
8. I don’t know what it should be, but when I was in college, I wanted to
be William Ichabod Coleridge. I’m glad I was not.
CLARA BUSH is an undergraduate at Texas Tech University. She studies Environment
and the Humanities and minors in English and Chemistry.
1. Depends. Are they crashing a birthday party or destroying the world?
I’d grab a video camera and record them.
2. Harry Potter. Love the series, but he’s such an annoying character.
3. Salami and pepper jack cheese.
4. A bad love poem.
5. Moccasins I bought at a garage sale for a couple bucks. I wore them
for about three years until they started falling apart.
7. Pattiann Rogers.
8. Clara Jane.
KEVIN CALLAWAY is a graduate of Belmont University and winner of the 2013
Treadway Creative Writing Award. He lives in Milan, Italy where he works as a high
school English language teacher and private tutor. He enjoys tea, chocolate, beer,
and coffee. This is his first published work.
1. “Hi? Can I offer you some tea or coffee?”
2. Zarathustra, from Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche.
3. Chunky peanut butter and homemade raspberry jelly.
4. Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier.
5. Least favorite: pants. Most favorite: sweatshirts.
6. Those slappy wristband bookmark things from bookfairs.
8. Brian Arnold—crime novelist and amateur botanist.
MARCY CAMPBELL’S recent work can be found in The Rumpus, The McSweeney’s
Internet Tendency, The Millions, The Writer, and The Awl. Her flash fiction has been
nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She’s currently working on a novel and blogging as
The Closet Creative: www.marcycampbell.blogspot.com.
1. I’d hide in a location where I could watch them and take notes, for
future writing inspiration.
2. The grandmother from O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find,”
though The Misfit beat me to it.
3. Crunchy peanut butter and honey (just like me, a little sweet and a little nutty).
4. The letters to the editor in my local paper.
5. I like my oversized nubby grey cardigan. Perfect for writing in my chilly
6. Silence, in the form of two .50 cent gumballs for my kids.
7. Lorrie Moore.
8. Cranky McSassBack.
LAURA CARTER lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where she also teaches. Recent work has
appeared in Hambone and Whiskey Island, and her fourth chapbook, Chaos Provisions,
is forthcoming (Dancing Girl, 2014).
1. Run and hide somewhere; or else, think to ask them to read me a
poem in their language.
3. Vegan (rice) cheese and possibly some glitter.
4. Lord of the Flies.
5. Least favorite: scarf. I dislike cold weather, but I’m getting used to
winter (it’s January now).
6. Target on-offs in the front of the store, on the aisle with the $3 goods
7. Oh wow. No answer to this one.
8. Something with “Lulu.”
SUSANA H. CASE, Professor at NYIT, is the author of: Salem in Séance
(WordTech), Elvis Presley’s Hips & Mick Jagger’s Lips and Earth and Below
(Anaphora), and 4 Rms w Vu (Mayapple, forthcoming 2014). Please visit her online
1. I grab my camera, and lock up my dog, just in case.
2. At this point in my life, I no longer want to kill off anyone, not even in a book.
3. Mustard, or hot sauce.
4. Anything in legalese
5. Favorite=leather jackets, black, any style
6. You can’t buy anything in New York City for $1, not even a soda.
7. All of them.
8. Susana Casanova, a variant of my grandfather’s surname.
LISA M. COLE has written six chapbooks, Living in a Lonely House (Dancing Girl,
forthcoming), Tinder//Heart and The Bodyscape (Dancing Girl, 2012 and 2013),
Renegade//Heart (Blood Pudding, 2013), Negotiating With Objects (Sundress,
2013), and Ghosts (The University of Arizona Poetry Center, 2008).
1. I would say hello and ask them who their favorite poets were.
2. I would kill Robinson Crusoe. Then, I never would have had to read his
silly, stupid story in college.
3. I would have peanut butter and jelly on me.
4. See question 2.
5. My favorite piece of clothing is my John Lennon shirt.
6. A cup of coffee from McDonald’s, or Super Hit incense from the dollar
7. Emily Dickinson.
8. Elisabeth Maxwell.
DEBKA COLSON has published fiction and poetry in North American Review,
Roar, Sol: English Writing in Mexico, Poetry Cram 11, Construction, NEWN, and in
Open to Interpretation: Fading Light, an international juried book competition. She
received her MFA from Lesley University and was the 2013 Ivan Gold Fellow at the
Writers’ Room of Boston. She is currently working on a hybrid memoir and a novel.
1. I would invite them in for a glass of wine. (After all, some of my best
friends and lovers have been resident or nonresident aliens).
2. All zombies and vampires.
3. I prefer my sandwiches naked.
4. Painful? I was once asked to critique a story that ended with a lengthy
soliloquy, loss of limbs and eternal damnation—all in the final paragraph.
5. Least favorite: winter boots and wool socks. Most favorite: flip-flops.
6. I could buy 6 Tibetan momos or a plate of dal bhat and tarkari in Kathmandu,
Nepal for the equivalent (in Nepali rupees) of $1.
7. Pablo Medina (my favorite book: Cubop City Blues).
8. In the tradition of morphing pet names and old street addresses into a
pen name: Greta Scenecliff.
JOAN CONNOR, a professor at Ohio University Among many honors she has
received a Pushcart Prize, the Ohio Writer award in fiction and nonfiction, the AWP
award for her story collection, History Lessons, and the River Teeth Award for her
essay collection, The World Before Mirrors. Her most recent collection, How to
Stop Loving Someone (2011) won the Leapfrog Press Award for Adult Fiction.
1. I do not react. I do not believe in aliens.
2. Daisy in Gatsby.
3. I would not choose to be a sandwich. Maybe a cheese omelet.
4. The Old Man and the Sea.
5. Do headbands count? They hurt. I like my nightdress.
6. Anything at the Dollar Store.
7. Nabokov. (Can you tell that I hate filling this out?)
8. Siobhan, my name in Gaelic.
LIZ DOLAN’S manuscript, A Secret of Long Life, nominated for the Robert McGovern
Prize, will be published by Cave Moon Press in 2014. Her first poetry collection,
They Abide, was published by March Street. A six-time Pushcart nominee and
winner of The Best of the Web, she has also won an established artist fellowship in
poetry and two honorable mentions in prose from the Delaware Division of the Arts.
1. I hope they’re here to rake the leaves.
2. King Creon for his cruelty to Antigone.
3. Roast beef and Dijon.
6. A fine point pen.
7. Cormac McCarthy, Coetzee.
8. Justin Time—I started late
BRIAN FANELLI is the author of the poetry chapbook Front Man (Big Table) and
the full-length collection All That Remains (Unbound Content). His poetry has been
nominated for a Pushcart Prize and the Tillie Olsen Creative Writing Award and
published by The L.A. Times, Portland Review, Spillway, Oklahoma Review, World
Literature Today, and elsewhere. He teaches English full-time at Lackawanna College
in Scranton, PA. Find him online at www.brianfanelli.com
1. I would invite the aliens into my home for some tea and then ask if they
could share with me the answers to the mysteries of the universe.
2. Sometimes when I re-read Flannery O’Connor’s short story “A Good Man
Is Hard to Find,” I wish the grandmother died earlier because she’s so annoying.
3. If I were a sandwich, I would have roasted veggies on me because I’m
a vegetarian. No meat!
4. Reading the elegies about my father from my two poetry books can be
painful because they cause me to revisit the heavy loss.
5. I enjoy my sweaters the most. Northeastern, Pennsylvania winters can
be long and cold.
6. Gummy bears!
7. Poets should read as many poetic movements as possible and the
main players of each movement. The Modernists are still important
to me, especially William Carlos Williams, Carl Sandburg, Marianne
Moore, Langston Hughes, T.S. Eliot, and Pound, though more so his
essays on poetry than his poems.
DJ GASKIN has placed poetry in Gargoyle, Iodine Poetry Journal, The Fairfield
Review, Zillah, Literary Salt, and others. She was a finalist in an Arlington, Virginia’s
“Moving Words” contest and is featured in two anthologies. DJ lives in Springfield,
Virginia, where she is currently working on a novel in poems.
1. Grab the camera!
2. N/A. . . I don’t even kill spiders.
79677 Working Txt.indd 201 3/24/14 12:51 PM
3. Cheese. And cheese. And maybe a little more cheese.
4. My first rejection letter.
5. LOVE my folk couture dresses!
6. A handful of Hershey’s chocolate kisses.
7. Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.
8. Rachel Melancholia.
GAIL HOSKING is the author of Snake’s Daughter: The Roads in and Out of War
(U Iowa). Her poems and essays have appeared in The Florida Review, Post Road,
Lillith Magazine, Hiram Poetry Review, and Nimrod International. She was a finalist
for the 2012 Center for Book Arts Chapbook contest as for Iowa Review’s creative
nonfiction contest, 2012. She holds an MFA from Bennington College and teaches
at Rochester Institute of Technology.
1. I’d like to say I’d stay and say hello, but given the day, I might also shut
the door and go somewhere else.
2. The mean slave owners in Edward Jones’ novel: The Known World
3. Some soft lettuce.
4. Probably high school English books I did not get like Silas Marner.
5. A bikini.
7. E. Annie Proulx.
8. Rose Conrad.
SUSAN JOHNSON received her MFA and PhD from the University of Massachusetts
Amherst where she currently teaches writing. Poems of hers have recently
appeared in The Kerf, Hawaii Pacific Review, Freshwater, Pinyon, Oyez Review, and
others. She lives in South Hadley MA.
1. I would give the aliens time to settle in after their long trip.
2. I would rather not kill off anyone, but rather resurrect Septimus Smith
so the poor guy can give it another go.
3. For me sandwiches are all about the bread, not the spread. Sourdough
5. My favorite piece of clothing is/are my hiking boots.
6. I can walk miles on a piece of gum and a pack costs less than a dollar.
7. Virginia Woolf should be on every reader’s list, not just serious ones.
8. The name of my pen is Iza.
JEN KARETNICK is the author/editor of eleven books, three forthcoming in 2014:
Prayer of Confession (Finishing Line), Mango (U of Florida), and Brie Season (Kelsay
/White Violet). She works as the Creative Writing Director for Miami Arts Charter
School and as a freelance dining critic and food-travel writer for several outlets
including Modern Luxury Group, Onboard Media, and USA Today.
1. Offer them a glass of wine.
2. Christian Grey. Except that he’s not literary.
3. The works.
4. Finnegan’s Wake. Except I didn’t really read it. Has anybody?
5. I’m old enough to appreciate a good quality push-up bra.
6. A cigarette from a homeless guy at the Metro station.
7. Margaret Atwood.
8. Juanita Cruz. In fact, I’ve used it, as both a pen name and the name of
CHUCK KRAMER is a Chicago writer of fiction, poetry, journalism. Fiction online at
Scholars and Rogues.com, Smokebox.net, Flash Flooding.com, Blue Lake Review,
forthcoming at Off the Rocks; poetry in various anthologies; journalism in Chicago
Tribune, Sun-Times, Reader, and Windy City Times.
5. Least favorite clothing: wool overcoat and snow boots
7. Author for serious writers: Philip Roth.
MOLLY KUHN graduated with a B.S. in English & Creative Writing from Slippery
Rock. She works with AmeriCorps’s KEYS project, serving at risk-youth In Allegheny
County, PA. In her spare time she makes pop-up books, tells stories from found
objects, performs slam poetry, and reads children’s books at coffee shops and
1. When I see aliens I tie pastrami to a fishing pole and dangle it out the
window. They like brined mutton. It makes them gregarious.
2. Franz in The Unbearable Lightness of Being. He should have been
mugged a lot sooner.
3. Sourdough bread with a very wooly inside, maybe a tad bit moldy from
sitting out too long. Thinly sliced pieces of nightingale—engineered to
sing even after being butchered, the fleshy part of a tomato—baring
no hard layers, kiwi—unnecessary garnish, with one of those plastic
swords pretending to hold everything together.
4. Abraham Lincoln’s A Letter to his Sons Teacher, December 15th of last year.
5. Nylons. They go all the way to my belly, and roll downwards as the day
goes by, creating a halo of fat above my thighs.
6. Glue. If you put your ear to a bottle you’ll hear the hooves of horses running.
7. Nicole Krauss.
8. Thunder . . . or Gamy Whistles.
MERCEDES LAWRY has published short fiction in several journals including Gravel,
Cleaver, Garbanzo, and Newer York. She’s published poetry in journals such as Poetry,
Nimrod, & Prairie Schooner, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize twice.
Additionally, she’s published stories and poems for children. She lives in Seattle.
1. Hum the tune from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
2. I am blanking on this—not because I am too kind to kill someone off but . . .
3. Good cheese.
4. The Pearl by John Steinbeck because of a legendary horrid quiz in
6. Lottery ticket.
8. I don’t need one—unless I was writing something I was embarrassed
about— romance??? Then Clarity Peel.
Recently named one of 30 Poets in their 30’s to watch by MUZZLE magazine,
JESSICA HELEN LOPEZ is a nationally recognized award-winning slam poet, and is
the 2012/ 2014 Women of the World (WOW) City of ABQ Champion. Her Zia Award
winning poetry collection, Always Messing With Them Boys (West End, 2011) made
the Southwest Book of the Year reading list.
1. Should aliens ever land in my backyard I will attempt to provide them
with naturalization papers, field hand employment and enroll their
children in a local public school. Whether they be armed with lasers or
the idea of the American Dream my reaction is to provide aid/amnesty
first and foremost. And yes, the term “illegal alien” is both dehumanizing
2. If I had my own punk band it would most certainly be named Daisy
Buchanan Must Die. Such a cruel, privileged and heartless socialite
should have been writ by Fitzgerald as meeting her demise in a horrible
mansion-fire just after she decided to not attend Gatsby’s funeral.
3. If I were a sandwich I would have plenty of pastrami and then some
more pastrami and lastly some tasty, succulent pastrami heaped between
my heavenly Kaiser buns.
4. The instructional manual for putting my bookshelves together.
5. I hate shoes. When it snows I wear sandals. In the summer the bottom of my feet are happily dirty. Again, I repeat, I hate shoes.
6. The best thing I have ever bought for a dollar was una carne asada taco
con cilantro y cebolla from my favorite taqueria in Albuquerque. Delicioso!
7. I am not a serious writer so I cannot answer this question. Currently my
tongue is in my cheek and therefore, I suggest every un-serious writer
should read David Sedaris. Or Sherman Alexie. Or both. At the same time.
8. If I had a pen name it surely would be Jessica Hellcat Lopez.
LUCIAN MATTISON’S poems can be found or are forthcoming in apt, Digital Americana,
MUZZLE, Stone Highway Review, The Quotable, and other journals. He edits
poetry for the Green Briar Review and Barely South Review. In his spare time he
enjoys cooking and playing backgammon. Email him at Lucian.c.mattison@gmail.
1. After the initial bouts of bewildered pacing between rooms, pinching
myself, and repeating the words holy shit, I’d most likely give them a
stern lecture about manners.
2. Clifford the Big Red Dog. Hung, drawn, and quartered in a public
square, so as to make an example of his body and warn his comrades.
3. I imagine spicy mustard, any kind of pickle available, half an avocado,
and a piece of bread sitting atop my head.
4. My own prose before I found out I wanted to write poetry.
5. In the summer, my favorite article of clothing is a rad ass tank top. During
winter, my least favorite article of clothing is a rad ass tank top.
6. I saw someone on Craigslist selling Star Fox 64 for $1, so definitely that.
7. Pablo Neruda.
8. J.K. Rowling.
MICHAEL P. MCMANUS is an Altoona, Pennsylvania native who now resides in
Louisiana. He has received the Artist Fellowship Award from the Louisiana Division
of the Arts. His short stories and poems have appeared in numerous publications.
1. I’d ask if they are members of Steelers Nation.
2. Anton Chigurh.
3. Whole wheat.
4. My stepfather’s obituary.
5. Least favorite—suit. Most favorite—shorts, hikers, Tee.
6. Advice from a homeless man.
8. Siddhartha Gautama.
JED MYERS is a Philadelphian living in Seattle. His poems have appeared in Prairie
Schooner, Nimrod, Barely South Review, Atlanta Review, Grey Sparrow Journal,
The Quotable, and elsewhere. He’s a Pushcart nominee, winner of Southern Indiana
Review’s Mary C. Mohr Award, and winner of the Literal Latte Poetry Award.
1. French roast or oolong?
2. Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
3. Sliced Lithuanian beets, Murray’s Delicatessen coleslaw, West Bank
falafel, political hash, Dean Martin Hollywood Roast, several of the
pickles I’ve been in, a sunny-side-up egg, splash of lavender bitters,
spoonful of Cascade Mountain wild blueberry jam, spread of coho roe,
and, unforgivably, plenty o’ blood-red ketchup.
4. The words of a Libyan father insisting that his missing son must still be
alive in the days after a government assault.
5. Most favorite: new socks. Least favorite: socks worn through at the
heel and toe.
6. A single shot of good espresso in a real demitasse cup.
7. Albert Camus. To get the real spirit of freedom through commitment.
8. Yehudi Nussbaum (given my known and unknowable history).
DR. J. SUNITA PEACOCK, Associate Professor of English received her PhD from
Southern Illinois University. She teaches World, Eastern, and Interpreting Literatures
at Slippery Rock University, PA. She has published articles in Commonwealth Novel
in English, Pakistani Women’s Journal, International Journal of the Humanities,
South Asian Review, Mosaic, and has essays in the anthologies Violence and the
Body (Indiana UP , 2003) and Transnationalism and the Asian American Heroine
1. Invite them for a cup of tea.
2. Bartleby the Scrivener. He annoyed the heck out of me throughout the story.
3. Hot sauce.
4. Bleak House by Charles Dickens.
5. My PJs.
6. Vanilla latte from the coffee machine in Spotts. Unfortunately, the machine
does not work anymore!
7. Zora Neale Hurston.
8. TW (Tropical Woman!).
JOEL PECKHAM is a poet, essayist, and literary scholar. He has published four collections
of poetry: Why Not Take All of Me: A Cycle of Poems on the Life and Music
of Billie Holiday (FutureCycle), The Heat of What Comes and nigthwalking (Pecan
Grove), and Movers and Shakers (Pudding House). His poems have appeared in
The Beloit Poetry Journal, Black Warrior Review, and elsewhere. In 2012 he published
his memoir Resisting Elegy (Academy Chicago).
1. There comes a time when every man must ask himself that question.
2. Tom Sawyer. I have my reasons.
3. Honey mustard.
4. We’ll say just say Little Dorrit. You don’t really want to know the truth.
6. Four Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies
8. Tom Sawyer—I have my reasons.
PAMELA PETRO is the author of three place-based works of creative nonfiction, and
contributes to publications from Granta to the Paris Review. She teaches writing
at Smith College and on Lesley University’s MFA program; her visual work may be
seen at www.petrographs.blogspot.com.
1. Invite them in for a drink.
2. No question: Gilbert Osmond in The Portrait of a Lady (Isabel Archer
deserves better!) And I’d give him a long, hard death, too.
3. Cheese. No meat.
4. Section B of my parents’ Medicaid report.
5. Favorite: a sleeveless top that reads Ptown.
6. The Gazette (Northampton MA’s local newspaper)
7. Alison Bechdel, preferably Fun Home (every writer should read a literate
graphic novel now and again; graphic novels and memoirs lay bare narrative
8. Pentre Ifan (it’s a 5000 year-old cromlech in West Wales. Read the “f” as a “v”).
RANDOLPH PFAFF is a poet, editor, and visual artist. His work has been featured in
[PANK], Word Riot, H_NGM_N, Open Letters Monthly, and The Destroyer, among
others. He also edits the literary journal apt and runs Aforementioned Productions,
a small press. He’s not very good at free time.
2. Big Brother.
3. Thanksgiving leftovers. It might sound like a bad idea, but it’s delicious
and you’ll keep coming back for more.
4. My father’s obituary.
5. My favorite piece of clothing is my wedding ring. Does that count as
clothing? I mean, I wear it, so that should count. Right?
6. Some peace of mind by giving that dollar away to an organization that
will help other people/animals/places.
7. Italo Calvino.
8. I’d use my first name and a much less confusing last name. Something
famous. Randolph Obama? Randolph Kardashian? Randolph Gordon-Levitt? It’s kind of a toss-up at this point.
SAM PIERSTORFF received his MFA in poetry from CSU Long Beach and became the
youngest Poet Laureate in California when he was selected to the position in by the
city of Modesto where he teaches English at Modesto Junior College. He is the editor
of Quercus Review Press and author of Growing Up in Someone Else’s Shoes.
1. I would make a trail of Reese’s Pieces that stretched from my home to
my horrible neighbor’s backyard.
2. The literary character I would kill off would be Bella Swan from Twilight,
which would leave Edward and Jacob to recognize their latent homosexuality
and live happily ever after.
3. My sandwich would have Dijon mustard, garam masala, and fried tofu.
4. Poetry from students who say they’re poets but have never read any
poems but their own.
5. Most favorite: my swimming Speedo. Least favorite: my swimming
Speedo when it fades thin from chlorine.
6. Advice from a toddler.
7. John Fante.
FERGUSON PORTER grew up in Dallas, Texas. He earned a degree in Cinema-Television
in 2005 from Southern Methodist University. His story “The Party Will Go On
Without You” won the 2013 Annual Short Story Contest of the California publication
The Desert Daily Guide. He lives in Palm Springs, California.
1. I go inside and make a fresh pot of coffee. It’s a well-known fact that
aliens love coffee.
2. Holden Caulfield.
3. Miracle Whip. Repeat: Miracle Whip! Don’t give me that disgusting
“real” mayonnaise. Also, sliced ham, sliced turkey, cheese, and lettuce.
4. An email from my cousin essentially saying how my boyfriend was not
welcome to come with me to our family Thanksgiving.
5. I look really good in my blue blazer and pink shirt.
6. Coca Cola in a glass bottle.
7. Just one? Gore Vidal.
8. Matthew Barnabas.
SEAN PRENTISS is the co-editor of a forthcoming anthology on the craft of creative
nonfiction. The Far Edges of the Fourth Genre is being published by Michigan State
University Press. His essays, poems, and stories have appeared in Brevity, Sycamore
Review, Passages North, ISLE, Ascent, River Styx, SpoonRiver, Nimrod, and many
other journals. Sean lives in northern Vermont and teaches at Norwich University.
1. I’d invite them over for a beer. I love hearing travel stories, so we could
chat about where they’ve been.
2. Since I focus on creative nonfiction that seems like a bad question to
answer. But my favorite literary death is Everett Ruess’s. He wandered
throughout the Desert Southwest in the 1930s until one day, poof, he
disappeared, never to return. But he left behind beautiful letters and
journals. And mystery.
3. Since I’m a Pennsylvania boy by birth, I’d be a Philly cheesesteak.
Though I’m not from Philly (I’m from rural Bangor), I sure love a good
4. Not sure.
5. I love my Dickies work pants. I have probably five pair in various stages
of decay. Some have no knees. Some have paint stained on them.
Some are new enough that I wear them out on date night with my
6. A slice of pizza. It’s a glorious thing!
7. I think of favorite books rather than great authors. Read Desert Solitaire,
read Sometimes a Great Notion, read Moment to Moment by
David Budbill, read T’ao Ch’ien, read Fool’s Progress.
8. Sean Prentiss. I love my family. I’m happy to wear this name.
ROBERT REID studied journalism and political science at the University of Iowa and
earned his MA in creative writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is
currently working on a novel.
1. Feed them. I assume they’re here for the barbecue.
2. Gandalf (no second chances).
3. Raspberry jam.
4. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families:
Stories from Rwanda/ Phillip Gourevitch.
5. Least favorite: socks
6. A bargain book from my local used bookshop
7. Jeffrey Eugenides.
8. Robert Reid.
JOHN REPP’S fourth full-length collection of poetry, Fat Jersey Blues won the 2013
Akron Poetry Prize and has just been published by the University of Akron Press.
1. “Take me with you.”
3. Swiss cheese.
4. The most recent administrative memo.
5. Favorite: My newest New Mexico T-shirt.
6. A package of Oreos.
8. Junior J. Walter.
JENNY ROBERTSON’S poems and stories have appeared in Dunes Review, Greatest
Lakes Review, Dislocate, and Bite: An Anthology of Flash Fiction. She studies
fiction in Pacific University’s MFA in Writing program, and she’s working on a novel
about a 1923 Finnish mining family living on Minnesota’s Iron Range.
1. Close the shades and pretend I’m not home. Just what I need, another
interruption. But I’d probably cave after an hour or so and go out and
bring them sandwiches and shoot the breeze.
2. Independent People’s Bjartur of Summerhouses. He causes so much
pain and hardship for his family, for reasons he finds sane and good;
had he died early in the book, his wives and children might have lived
happy Icelandic lives.
3. Lots of melted cheese, caramelized onions, spicy greens and a slice of dill pickle.
4. The Reader Comments on an article about rape in a college fraternity.
5. My favorite pants are long and green and lined with flannel.
6. Four Andes mints.
7. Ms. Nobel Prize Winner Alice Munro.
8. Ynnej Nostrebor.
CYNTHIA SAMPLE lives and writes in Dallas Texas. She holds a MFA in fiction from
Vermont College as well as a PhD in finance from UT Dallas. Her stories have appeared
or are forthcoming from NumeroCinq, Summerset Review and Sleet as well
as Love After 70: an Anthology.
1. Good Lord, I was NOT expecting guests! Quick, get me my lipstick and
check the fridge for sweet tea.
2. I’m a thorough pacifist and couldn’t possibly kill off anyone, but the
characters I would dismiss would be the ones who are flat, bless their
hearts. But wait, they’re already dead.
3. No question . . . peanut butter and Hellmann’s mayonnaise on white bread.
4. After my dad died, for my writing group, I wrote a story called “Duty: a
Study in Grammar,” about him. When it came my turn, not only was it
necessary for me to ask a colleague to read it for me, after only sentences
I had to exit the room.
5. Least favorite: Honey, I already threw those fat pants away. Favorite:
Pearls, of course.
6. The smallest bag of dark chocolate peanut M&Ms. Christmas colors.
7. Everyone serious about their soul would benefit from reading the Dead
White Guys (you know who I mean: Hemingway, Faulkner, Flaubert,
Carver, and on and on and on). Then as slowly as possible, read every
word that Flannery O’Conner wrote; imprint Eudora Welty on their
brain. To clean out the mind, read aloud Emily Dickinson and Dorothy
Parker. Along the way, study the fiction and essays on writing that
master-teacher David Jauss recently published. If you must have only
one writer, there is no substitute for Alice Munro.
8. Zellah Kellogg Blakely, after my great-grandmother of sainted memory.
Pushcart Prize nominee FRANK SCOZZARI resides in Nipomo, a small town on the
California central coast. His award-winning short stories have appeared in numerous
literary magazines including South Dakota Review, Oklahoma Review, Berkeley
Fiction Review, Ellipsis Magazine, The Nassau Review, and The MacGuffin, and
have been featured in literary theater.
1. I’d invite them in for chocolate and wine.
2. Ebenezer Scrooge (especially this time of year).
3. Onions and mustard.
4. Warren Commission Report.
5. Favorite clothing—blue jeans & a scarf.
6. A newspaper.
8. Never thought about a pen name. If somebody writes something, they
should put their name on it.
FRED SHAW is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, and Carlow University. He
teaches writing and literature at Point Park University and Carlow. His poems have
been published in 5AM, Permafrost, Floodwall, Nerve Cowboy, Spry, Burlesque
Press, and Mason’s Road. He also reviews books for Pittsburgh City Paper.
1. I’d get them a beer and a chair.
2. Old-Man Warner from “The Lottery.”
3. If I were a sandwich, I’d be brilliantly concocted by my wife using leftovers
from the fridge, a homegrown heirloom tomato, fresh mozzarella,
and basil on toasted ciabatta bread.
4. Poorly written student essays.
5. My least favorite clothing is a V-neck sweater that makes me feel like I
deserve to get beat up.
6. A newspaper.
7. Don DeLillo.
8. Rabo Karabekian.
SHERRY STEINER lives in Housatonic MA, originally from NYC. Published writer of
off-beat poetry, monologues, flash fiction and musical performance pieces, arts
educator, exhibiting visual artist and more. For detailed background information:
1. I would salute them.
2. None— I don’t believe in violence.
3. A credit card.
4. SAT scores.
6. Dark chocolate Kit Kat.
PHILLIP STERLING’S most recent book is In Which Brief Stories Are Told, a collection
of short fiction (Wayne State). He is also the author of the poetry collection
MutualShoresand three chapbook-length series of poems: Significant Others,
Quatrains, and Abeyance.
1. My reaction to aliens in the backyard would depend upon whether I
found them attractive or not.
2. I’d hunt down and kill Moby Dick.
3. As a sandwich I’m simply peanut butter (generic, crunchy) and jam (black
raspberry, made on the stove from the berries that grow wild in my yard).
4. Divorce papers (the accusations therein).
5. Favorite piece of clothing: LL Bean insulated work shirt. Least favorite:
academic gown (doctoral).
6. $1 will buy a newspaper with several crosswords in it.
7. Every serious author should read Alice Munro.
8. Maitland Boczek.
TAYLOR SUPPLEE is a Creative Writing student at Missouri State University where
he serves as an associate editor of Moon City Review. His poems have appeared in
Midwestern Gothic, Paddle Shots: A River Pretty Anthology, and The Missing Slate.
1. If aliens were in the backyard, I’d greet them with Vulcan pleasantries.
2. I would kill off the speaker of every Edgar Allan Poe story and poem.
3. I’d be a pork tenderloin sandwich; terrible for you, but oh so tasty.
4. The most painful thing I’ve ever had to read was my own poetry after
the introductory workshops.
5. I do not understand the scarf trend, and I can’t resist a good pair of
self-made skinny jorts.
6. The best thing I can buy for a dollar is the idea of buying something for
only a dollar.
7. Every serious author should read W.B. Yeats and Lynda Hull.
8. My pen name would be Robert Taylor.
J. TARWOOD has been a dishwasher, a community organizer, a medical archivist,
and a documentary film producer. His poems have appeared in magazines from
American Poetry Review to Visions. His books are The Cats in Zanzibar and Grand
Detour. His latest, And For The Mouth A Flower, is due in 2014.
1. “Thanks for the ride from Alpha Centauri! Good to see you again.”
2. Why kill when you can simply close the book?
3. Atomic Horseradish.
4. Manual for the International Computer Driver’s License.
6. Shinga beer.
7. Himself, herself, itself.
8. Yengoagea Nodaddy.
CHARLES FARRELL THIELMAN was born and raised in Charleston, S.C., moved to
Chicago, educated at red-bricked universities and on city streets, Charles is a loving
grandfather for five free spirits who has also enjoyed working as a social worker and
as a city bus driver.
1. After peeling my 3 dogs off said Aliens, I’d invite the Aliens in for brownies,
2. Francisco d’Anconia, CEO of fictional Anaconda Copper, main character
in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.
3. On days when I’m sandwiched between this & that, I want to jump into
a vat of mustard mixed with sprouts.
4. My parents’ obituaries.
5. Least favorite: suit and tie. Most favorite: a formerly-dark blue writing
sweater w/two remaining buttons that spawns many metaphors while
avoiding my wife’s clothes donation bag.
6. Our community newspaper.
7. John Steinbeck.
8. Kokua Farrell.
CHARLES HARPER WEBB’S latest book, What Things Are Made Of, was published
by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2013. Recipient of grants from the Whiting
and Guggenheim foundations, Webb teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing
at California State University, Long Beach.
1. Depends on how dangerous and/or attractive they appear.
2. Sanctimony S. Squirrel.
3. Mustard, tomatoes, and a big slice of cheese.
4. A tie between The Adventures of Sanctimony S. Squirrel, and my first
girlfriend’s letter saying her family was moving to Tulsa and she had to
break up with me.
5. Certain scratchy sweater that I threw away, rather than give to Goodwill.
If there’d been an Illwill, I’d have dropped it off in a heartbeat.
6. A Lamborghini, if you know how to drive a bargain.
7. Shakespeare. (I’m too in awe to joke.)
8. Charles Harper Webb is my pen-name. My real name is Bomba Fudge.
PAM WOLFSON has published stories in Inner Landscapes, Other Voices, and Quality
Women’s Fiction. Her flash fiction appeared in 375 Views of Boston, an exhibit celebrating the city’s bicentennial. Pam earned her MA in literature and received a merit
scholarship to the Southampton Writers Conference for her novel Stolen Daughter.
1. Get out my binoculars. If I like what I see, ask them to tea.
2. I can’t. Nasty as he is, he reveals my shadow self.
3. Ripe avocado slices and spring greens.
4. A bad, bad revision of my own work.
5. Scarves with splashes of teal are best.
6. A bottle of bubble soap to blow in the wind.
7. Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
8. Nomi de Plume.