Posted in The Potty Mouth Interviews

Emma Trelles is Way Cooler Than E.T.

Even though Emma Trelles is not E.T., it doesn’t matter. She’s better than anything Spielberg could possibly dream up. That’s, right! Emma Trelles is the author of Tropicalia (University of Notre Dame Press), which won the Andres Montoya Poetry Prize. Ma adores the cover art because it reminds her of her imaginary backyard. Our real backyard doesn’t have grass. Anyway, back to Emma. Emma is also the author of the chapbook Little Spells (GOSS183), a recommended read by the Valparaiso Poetry Review and the Montserrat Review. Montserrat, Spain, FYI people, is my favorite place on Earth and in or around heaven. That’s where I want my ashes tossed from. Emma has been a featured author at the Miami Book Fair International and at the Palabra Pura reading series at the Guild Literary Complex in Chicago, and she is a regular contributor to the Best American Poetry blog. She lives with her amazingly awesome husband (I wish I had a husband!) in South Florida where she teaches and writes about arts, books, and culture. She also break dances. Note: I’m a liar. I interviewed Emma before her book release at AWP in Washington D.C. and this is what she had to say. Enjoy-ness.

Almost Dorothy: What does it mean to live in South Florida and what does it mean to live in South Florida as a poet?

Emma Trelles: Living in South Florida means living and dreaming water: ocean, lake, canal, and rain (misted or primordial), the Gulf and its delicate inlets, marshes, rivers, swimming pools, fountains and the man-made waterfalls that trickle down the tiki gods of the Mai-Kai. Living in South Florida as a poet is a tightrope
Continue reading “Emma Trelles is Way Cooler Than E.T.”

Posted in The Potty Mouth Interviews

Manuel Zapata: Self-Portrait of an Artist

"Fish Eye" (Self Portrait) by Manuel Zapata

Manuel Zapata graduated from the Academy of Arts and Minds High School in Miami, FL and completed his first year of college in New World School of the Arts. Now he attends Ringling College of Art and Design and he is majoring in Computer Animation. His idols are Salvador Dalí and Walt Disney. In a few years, this dude is going to be super famous or at least pretty awesome even though he was a weird eye! I spoke with Manuel and he agreed to this Potty Mouth interview on the condition that I would  help him escape from his self-portrait above. Seriously. He is free now. For now.

Almost Dorothy: You draw, sculpt, sketch, paint, make films, fly, dance, pilot space jets—I don’t know who you are. Who are you?

Manuel Zapata: I’m a creator. I have a need to illustrate my mind from a simple thought to a complex belief. But paper isn’t enough. I might need to sculpt a character, paint a vision, take a photograph, edit a video, or a combination of these. I’m a dreamer, but I dream with my eyes open.

AD: Before we get this show on the road, or blah blah further, what is art and what is the criteria for an artist?

MZ: In today’s society, the boundaries that defined “art” have been broken and forgotten. Anything can be art, and anyone can be an artist. Art is anything that can evoke a trend, feeling, thought, or reaction, whether it has a true thought-process behind it or not. But all bullshit aside, art is the act of consciously creating an idea, and the ability to convey that concept in a way that an audience can not only read it, but Continue reading “Manuel Zapata: Self-Portrait of an Artist”

Posted in Almost Dorothy, The Potty Mouth Interviews

Brian Spears: A Witness In Exile

Singer Britney Spears is the best selling fema...
Image via Wikipedia

No, baby, baby, Brian Spears is not, in any way, spaceship or format related to Briteny Spears however he is the father of Brittany Spears. He is also the author of A Witness in Exile, forthcoming from Louisiana Literature Press. I read A Witness in Exile after a trip to the Florida Everglades and immediately connected to the book because it deals with, among other things, fishing. I read the book before it was published so I feel super special like Lois Lane felt when Superman took her out for spin. In this Potty Mouth Interview, which gets exceptionally x-rated toward the end (and I had nothing to do with it), Brain Spears reveals the tragic paradox of tragedy, of being a grad student who witnessed the murder of a professor, and of becoming a professor in the post-Virginia Tech post-Columbine mad mad massacre world. He is also worried no one will ever hire him again after this interview is published. He is potentially almost right. However, I told him I’d hire him as my _____. It’s not right, I told him, but it’s ok. (Whitney Houston moment.) Ladies and Gentlemen, Brian Spears.

Almost Dorothy: I’ve asked this a majillions of times: what is a poem?

BS: I like Miller Williams’s definition of a poem, that it occurs when the imagination of the reader and the imagination of the writer confront each other inside an act of language. The sci-fi nerd in me imagines an infinite number of potential universes for each poem. Or at least dozens.

AD: Second frivolous question: did you really name your daughter Brittany Spears? Does she know?

BS: Sure did, and she was 8 when the singer released “Baby Hit Me One More Time.” I first heard the song on my clock radio Continue reading “Brian Spears: A Witness In Exile”

Posted in The Potty Mouth Interviews

Jay Snodgrass: Is Not A Cantankerous Starfish!

Jay Snodgrass is not a canker even though he says he is. He is the author of the fabulous poetry collection Monster Zero, a book I read many centuries ago (in 2003), and The Underflower. Jay is also an awesome dad (see below) of a deranged child (see below) and the wife of poet Kristine Snodgrass who I Potty Mouth interviewed last year. He is an aspiring actor and palaeontologist. (Please note some of the aforementioned may or may not be true or false.) Jay’s writing wonders or wanders among the stars–as all astronauts do–tethered to life with a chain of hope and fury, love and lust. No, Jay is not furry, at least as far as I can tell, but his poetry is furious and bib-melting. It is scorching hot. It reaches the head and the heart, and his heart is bigger than Godzilla. I Potty Mouth interviewed Jay in Saint Augustine, Florida where Huguenot ghost pirates captured him and stowed him a treasure chest. It’s true. Here are the results of that interview.

Jay & Abby Snodgrass @ Cafe Metro Miami | Photo by Neil de la Flor

Almost Dorothy: What is a poem?

Jay Snodgrass: A cataleptic turbine. I hold the engine while you suckle. It usually goes very fast and you can tell right away if it feels good or not by the burning and the oil on your bib.

AD: If one wears a bib, and reads a good poem, I wonder if that means it will burn a hole to the heart. Jay, show us your insides. What makes you a poet?

JS: I am cantankerous by birth like a geode of petrified starfish. No woman is safe!

AD: Men, I assume, are totally safe safe. If you met yourself in the future, at 70 or so, what would you say to yourself about your art, your poetry, life?

JS: You should have moisturized, you cantankerous prune. I only recognize you by your raisinous nub. How can you write with that thing? Also, remember when you thought you were a genius? You so totes were right! (fist bump)

AD: I didn’t know people, especially men, could write with their nubs. When I write with my nub, this comes out “;oejr =”. Where do you live in your poems?

JS: I’m on the left. No, not beside the creepy guy, I am the creepy guy!

AD: What was it like playing both Jabba the Hutt and Princess Leah in The Return of the Magi?

Larry Ward provided the voice for Star Wars vi...
Jabba the Hutt | Image via Wikipedia

JS: Well, they were destined for each other. My sexual awakening Continue reading “Jay Snodgrass: Is Not A Cantankerous Starfish!”

Posted in Almost Dorothy, The Potty Mouth Interviews

Jericho Brown: Please

Jericho Brown | Pretty in Pink | Photo by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard University News Office

Diana Ross is Jericho Brown’s zodiac sign. He also says he’s a liar and likes to squat and burpee. Need I say more. If you don’t believe me, read on. Please. It’ll change your life. In case you don’t already know, Jericho Brown is the Mayor of New Orleans. Well, not really, but he was the mayor’s speechwriter. Now Jericho Brown is the poet who makes me want to be a better Wonder Woman. His book Please is way better than really good sex–well, at least as good as really good sex. It’s the kind of book that hurts. It makes you shut up and really listen to the music. I promise I’ll shut up in a moment and let you read my Potty Mouth Interview with Jericho. Ready? Go.

Almost Dorothy: Hi Jericho, I wrote down a set of questions before I read your book. I thought I was smart, a pre-cog, but I’m not, so I wrote new questions. I ♥ Please. It made the sun brighter when I read it nude sun-bathing. Please is musical, aural, gripping and vulnerable. I’m sure smart people have said much smarter things about your book than I ♥ your book, but when I got to the poem “Like Father”, I knew this book was made from the 4-letter word—l.o.v.e.

Jericho Brown: I’d love to see those earlier questions. I wonder what four-letter word they would suggest about a book you hadn’t read.

AD: I can’t use those words in public, smarty pants. My ma would lock my butt in my bedroom and handcuff me to the bedpost so fast your head would bobble. Jericho, tell me, what makes a poem and what makes a song?

JB: Words manipulated into music make a poem. Music makes a song.

AD: Eh? Were you born a poet or did you become one?

JB: Mad America hurt me into it. I was born gay and black to a father and mother who insisted on proper English but hit me dead in the mouth when I said things they didn’t want to hear. I was born

Continue reading “Jericho Brown: Please”

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Immaculata, The Potty Mouth Interviews, Themes

The Immaculata Series by Larry Leiva

Immaculata | Photo by Maureen Seaton

PRESS RELEASE: Ladies and gentlemen, boy-girls and girl-boys, welcome to the Immaculata Series by Larry Leiva. In this atuobiographical series, Larry Leiva documents his long term struggle with Anorexia and Bulimia, Heavenly Creatures, and Japanese Kitsch. Although Larry is not the Virgin Larry (or Jesus Christ,) he has stuff to share with the world and he will do it on Almost Dorothy. Ma is super pistol-packing psyched-out and pumped because Leiva (also known as Leyva) is a heavenly creature fond of 80’s music and Mr. Zebra. She’s also excited because Leiva is not afraid to talk about life as a guy (or boy) (or man) dealing with multiple eating disorders (ED). He is not afraid of dispelling the myth that ED only affects girls. It can affect anyone. And it’s freaking hard to beat.

I thought it would be cool to conduct a Potty Mouth Interview with Leiva and he said yes when I asked him so here it is. Enjoy.

Almost Dorothy: How long have you dealt with ED? And how/why/when did you come out of the ED closet?

Larry Leiva: I have been dealing with ED for three years now. Soon to be four. I remember the time I told my dad that I had this problem, though I knew he had already known or had a hunch that Continue reading “The Immaculata Series by Larry Leiva”

Posted in The Potty Mouth Interviews

Sandra Simonds: I Warsaw Her Bikini

Sandra Simonds is the word Wanderer. She uses phrases like “sack of meat”, “I am the stone testicle”, and “a manatee’s big toe” to woo me into her lair. When she gave me her book Warsaw Bikini (Bloof Books, 2008), which was a finalist for numerous prizes including the National Poetry Series, it had a coffee stain on the cover. I thought: wow, this is gonna be good. And it was. Simonds’ poetry is gigantic, gorgeous and, one more g-word, goddamn good. Her words are diamond tiaras and the coal-world from which they came. She’s my new hero and heroin (heroine) in one. She agreed to this Potty Mouth interview on one condition: that I interview her. So, I did, and I’m happy. Enjoy.

Almost Dorothy: What is a poem?

Sandra Simonds: I’m a lyric poet with political, surrealist and, to a lesser degree, narrative tendencies. Let’s just make that clear right now. So, everything that I write here will be what the definition of a poem is to me and the sort of understanding of poetry that I have espoused and admire. There are other poetic traditions; the house of poetry is large and I am not trying to make any claims about poetry in general though I make here a lot of generalizations.

While I was running last week, I thought to myself—passing the little houses and trees and barking dogs and lazy cats and grandmothers and grandfathers and little babies hanging Continue reading “Sandra Simonds: I Warsaw Her Bikini”

Posted in The Potty Mouth Interviews

Terese Svoboda: The Pirate Talker

Terese Svoboda is not a pirate. She’s pirates. And her new book, Pirate Talk or Mermalade, is all pirate talk. It’s a hysterically dark  dialogue between two pirate brothers, a nutty ma, a whacked out parrot, and a host of other freakishly funny characters. Oh, and there’s even a mermaid. Hence, Mermalade not Marmalade. (See below.) In the end, the brothers arrive at the end and end up in the Arctic “where a secret unhinges them both”. I won’t reveal the secret (because I’m still decoding it) but all you really need to know is that all the characters are unhinged. Lovable. And absolutely kick ass. This interview took place in the hull of  a pirate ship and I’m still here. Help!

Almost Dorothy: In your latest novel Pirate Talk or Mermalade (DZABC Books), I hear you. The voices of two brothers, or bros, who fall into pirating and mermaiding, plunder the 18th century with a vocal cast of cooks and crooks, Ma, and a lunatic parrot that screams “hanged” now and then. Hanged! (I can’t get that line out of my head.) How the heck did/do you maintain/sustain the voices throughout the novel?

Terese Svoboda: The fun element. I enjoyed writing the voices, finding out what they would say. That is to say, people are always looking for ways to sound optimistic in the direst circumstances, and that continued to inspire me. Continue reading “Terese Svoboda: The Pirate Talker”

Posted in Almost Dorothy, The Potty Mouth Interviews

Montgomery Maxton: This Beautiful Bizarre

Montgomery Maxton is so bizutiful. He writes. He takes photographs. He makes video reviews of other writers. He wears a mask for fun, but not all the time. And I think he does acrobats too. In other words, he does lots of creative stuff that makes me want to fly on his superhuman wings. He uses  swear words too in front of cakes. (See below.)

Almost Dorothy: Tell us about your first collection of poetry, This Beautiful Bizarre. What makes it beautiful and what makes it bizarre?

Montgomery Maxton: I look at the world as a very beautiful and very bizarre place. And life is very beautiful and bizarre, too. With this book I take excerpts from life, and from the world, and showcase them, glorify them really – love, death, tragedy, triumph, etc. – to the point that it becomes the reader’s life. People who are connecting with this book are those who haven’t picked-up a poetry book in their adult life; your everyday people. The big wig poetry diva’s and divo’s that have read it have given it wonderful praise, but it’s the everyday men and women – the hard workers, the broken-hearted, the ones who can’t write a poem to save their life – who are reading it over and over and A-bombing me with great feedback, for which I’m completely grateful.

Continue reading “Montgomery Maxton: This Beautiful Bizarre”

Posted in The Potty Mouth Interviews

New Interviews Coming Soon…

I’m heading back to school. That means I won’t have time to write, which is good news for Rick Scott and Sarah Palin. However, I’ll be a lot smarter when I’m done! Dont’ worry though, I will have some new Potty Mouth Interviews (coming soon) with Terese Svoboda and Montgomery Maxton. In the meantime, watch out for these two ghouls. They’re eating all the chocolate chip cookies from Miami to Fort Lauderdale.