Interview with Jennifer Clark

Jennifer Clark’s work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times and once for the Rhysling Award. Her first book of poems, Necessary Clearings, was recently published by Shabda Press. Her short story published in Fiction Fix received their 2013 Editor’s Choice Award. Clark’s writings have been published in failbetter, Structo, Pacific Review, The Midwest Quarterly, Crab Creek Review, Nimrod, Concho River Review, Ecotone, FlywayEncore Magazine, and elsewhere. Her work has been anthologized in such places as [Ex]tinction & [Ex]tinguished (Twelve Winters Press), Zombies for a Cure (Elektrik Milk Bath Press), and Growing Concerns: An Eco-Horror Anthology (Chupa Cabra House). She recently completed a 26,000-word manuscript for middle school readers who enjoy edgy fiction. Several of her poems were published in the Autumn 2015 issue of The 3288 Review.

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3288 Review: How and when did you start writing? Was there a specific event or moment which sparked your interest in the written word?

Jennifer Clark: I can’t recall a time when I wasn’t interested in writing. I don’t know if I could pin my interest in the written word on any one moment or event. I was in second or third grade when, through school book orders, I purchased Funny Jokes and Foxy Riddles by Allan Jaffee. I must have read that book cover to cover at least a hundred times. When I was eleven I wrote a joke book. I titled it Humor My Mother Doesn’t Appreciate and sent it off to a publisher in New York City. I mistakenly assumed it would be a hit. Instead, a few months later I got my first taste of rejection. On the upper left corner of the form letter an editor had written: “Keep Writing!” I kept writing.

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Interview with Mary Buchinger

This is one of an ongoing series of interviews with contributors to The 3288 Review.

Mary Buchinger is the author of Aerialist (Gold Wake Press, 2015; shortlisted for the May Swenson Poetry Award, the OSU Press/The Journal Wheeler Prize, and the Perugia Press Prize) and Roomful of Sparrows (Finishing Line Press, 2008). Her poems have appeared in AGNI, Booth, Border Crossing, Caesura, Cortland Review, DIAGRAM, Existere (Canada), Fifth Wednesday, New Madrid, Nimrod, PANK, SAND (Germany), Salamander, Silk Road Review, Slice Magazine, The Massachusetts Review, Versal (The Netherlands), and elsewhere; she was invited to read at the Library of Congress, received the Daniel Varoujan and the Firman Houghton Awards from the New England Poetry Club, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Originally from rural Michigan, Buchinger served in the Peace Corps in Ecuador and holds a doctorate in Applied Linguistics from Boston University; she is Associate Professor of English and Communication Studies at MCPHS University in Boston, Massachusetts. Several of her poems appeared in issue 1.2 of The 3288 Review.

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3288 Review: How and when did you start writing? Was there a specific event or moment which sparked your interest in the written word?

Mary Buchinger: The first time print held meaning for me was reading The Fire Cat by Esther Averill (author and illustrator—I love the drawings!). The main character is a cat, Pickles, who has big paws and gets into trouble until Mrs. Goodkind adopts him and realizes that he needs to do big things with his big paws. She takes him to the Fire House where, with persistence and determination, he learns to slide down the fire pole, and also becomes a brave rescuer of cats caught in trees—the same little cats he used to bully around. The idea that Pickles was not inherently naughty but only needed the right circumstances in order for him to truly shine was important to me—still is. I read this book on the living room couch with my mother, who’d wait for me to say “Pickles” whenever his name appeared, so I would scan the text and be ready for my turn to ‘read.’ The intimacy with my mother, whom I shared with five older siblings, the fantastic art—including a drawing from Pickle’s perspective of climbing up a tall ladder with a proud Mrs. Goodkind waving from far below, the protagonist (growing up on a farm, cats were among my dearest companions), and the idea of someone who is acting badly being truly good at heart—all colluded to make me fall in love with words and reading and books. Writing for me was learned hand in glove with reading. My older brothers all worked on their homework at the kitchen table and I did too, long before I entered kindergarten.

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Interview with Amy Carpenter-Leugs

This is one of an ongoing series of interviews with contributors to The 3288 Review.

Amy Carpenter-Leugs has written poems and nonfiction appearing in Voices, Peninsula Poets, Parabola, and catapult magazines. Amy is also the author of three children’s books dealing with issues of poverty and difference, all published by UCOM Open Door Press. A former English teacher, Amy now speaks and writes about life learning through conferences and online forums.  Amy lives in the literary city of Grand Rapids, MI with her husband Michael, their three sons, and the wildlife of Plaster Creek. More links to her writing can be found at amycarpenterleugs.webs.com. Her poem “Tucking Pants Into Socks” appeared in our Autumn 2015 issue.

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3288 Review: How and when did you start writing? Was there a specific event or moment which sparked your interest in the written word?

Amy Carpenter-Leugs: I’ve always written, even as a child (which sometimes got me into trouble with my classmates). As an adult, though, I’ve come to writing a little differently than many others. Though I’ve occasionally submitted stories, poems, and plays over the years, the most meaningful experience of writing I’ve had—my training ground in many ways—has been related to my parenting.

In 2003, after the birth of my youngest son, our family decided to explore a radically different path of education: unschooling. That means we homeschool without a curriculum—we learn from life and through our children’s interests. To do this, I needed support from others who were making similar choices. I didn’t know anyone in person when we first started, so I joined online forums about unschooling. Over the years, I wrote my way into a path that felt freer from the constant demands of society. As Charles Bukowski wrote in “The Bar Stool”:

I was avoiding
becoming ensnared
in a common
manner of
living.
I truly believed
that this was
important to me
when everything
else was
not.

Of course, he wrote it about drinking his life away, but there is a shared sensibility.

Writing within the unschooling community gave me the tools and the companionship I needed to help our family live so differently. Between playing Pokemon and nursing the baby I was reading, not just unschooling books, but on all sorts of topics from evolution to Hinduism, and it all made its way into my written posts in surprising ways.

On the forums, I was always writing within a conversation—adding perspective and then listening. So I was finding my own voice as part of listening to others. Many of the others were “just regular parents” like me, and yet they had really interesting things to say, and they each said it in their own way.  It was another step away from the more academic side of writing and toward something that felt of real, mysterious life.

We were also writing about the perspective of children—how the world must look to them, how they work to keep hold of themselves within its demands—and that has shaped my writing enormously.

Like many, I feel I’m being constantly remade as a writer. Earlier this year I took some poetry workshops with Phillip Sterling, and that started an interest in the sound-craft of poetry, on tightening and loosening the lines, on exploring them as another quiet path away from the boisterous world. So that’s where “Tucking Pants into Socks,” came from—that work in the last year. Continue reading →

Interview with John Grey

This is one of an ongoing series of interviews with contributors to The 3288 Review.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Perceptions and Sanskrit with work upcoming in South Carolina Review, Gargoyle, Owen Wister Review and Louisiana Literature. His poems “And the Answer Is…” and “Carolyn Drowned” appeared in the Autumn 2015 issue of The 3288 Review.

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3288 Review: How and when did you start writing? Was there a specific event or moment which sparked your interest in the written word?

John Grey: I started scribbling words on blanks pieces of paper (and some not so blank) from as far back as I remember. And my interest in the written word (by others at least) stems from the first time I started reading. My birthdays and Christmas, from the beginning, were more about accumulating books than toys. i did start trying to write poems and songs and even a few small plays in my teens and then by my twenties became much more serious about it. Continue reading →

Interview with Chris Dungey

This is one of an ongoing series of interviews with contributors to The 3288 Review.

Chris Dungey is a retired auto worker living in Lapeer, MI. He spends his days mountain biking, feeding two wood stoves, singing in a Presbyterian choir, watching English football, camping at sports-car races, and spending too much time in Starbucks. He has over 50 story credits. He has been published recently in Marathon Literary Review, whimperbang, Madcap Review, Literary Commune (UK), Door is a Jar, and Aethlon (Wright State University), and has work forthcoming in Sediments Literary Arts. His short story “Slice” appeared in our second issue in November 2015.

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3288 Review: How and when did you start writing? Was there a specific event or moment which sparked your interest in the written word?

Chris Dungey: I actually began writing journalism in high school, Imlay City Community High School in Lapeer County. There was a student newspaper, printed locally at the shop of the Imlay City Times. We tried to publish every two or three weeks. We did our own layout, chose and measured print for headlines, sold ads. Any visit to the shop exposed one to the loud clatter of the old Linotype machine and the ink-stained veteran newsies who worked there. I did not dabble in fiction until I was in college at St. Clair County Community College. But the impetus to write, the seminal event, would have to have been reading Hemingway’s “Big Two-Hearted River” in eighth grade. I am someone who cannot simply enjoy a thing without attempting to emulate it. With regards to that particular classic, I’ve probably fallen well short. Continue reading →

Interview with Chila Woychik

This is one of an ongoing series of interviews with contributors to The 3288 Review.

German-born author and editor Chila Woychik is at home hiking in adjacent woods or regarding coyote calls at night. Her literary efforts have been acknowledged by Emrys Journal (forthcoming), Pithead Chapel, Stoneboat, Prick of the Spindle, and others. She occupies the near-space of another human and keeps numerous animals, including sheep and ducks, just outside her windows. Her lyric essay “A Place Called Place: Surrounds” appeared in our Autumn 2015 issue.

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3288 Review: How and when did you start writing? Was there a specific event or moment which sparked your interest in the written word?

Chila Woychik: As a child, I learned both German and English, having been born to a German mother and American father. Even though the bilingualism of everyday life changed for me once we reached America, my parents still spoke to each other in German on occasion, and from that, I believe, I glimpsed the nuances and beauty of spoken language. My childhood books were a dictionary and a set of encyclopedias, beyond what we received from our small town Illinois schools, and I relished each new section, each new word, as I moved through the entire set. I wrote my first poem in third grade; it was about spring, of course, and probably birds. In high school, I took every English, “office,” and writing class I could and loved every single one of them, in large part due to our fantastic teacher, Elaine Lowry. Then I set aside creative diversity for a while but took it up again at 34 after surgery on a herniated back disc. Again another long lull in serious creative pursuits.  It wasn’t until 2013 that I discovered the literary journal market, so I’m definitely a late-emerging writer to this scene. The thing, person, who nudged me to finally and irrevocably cultivate literary writing was Annie Dillard’s book Holy the Firm. I read it and something died inside, while something else sprang wonderfully to life, something far far better. Continue reading →

Interview with E.E. King

This is one of an ongoing series of interviews with contributors to The 3288 Review.

E.E. King is a performer, writer, biologist and painter. Ray Bradbury calls her stories “marvelously inventive, wildly funny and deeply thought provoking. I cannot recommend them highly enough.” Her books include Dirk Quigby’s Guide to the Afterlife, Real Conversations with Imaginary Friends and Another Happy Ending. She has won numerous awards and been published widely. She has worked with children in Bosnia, crocodiles in Mexico, frogs in Puerto Rico, egrets in Bali, mushrooms in Montana, archaeologists in Spain and butterflies in South Central Los Angeles. Her short story “The Grammarian’s Grimoire” was published in our Autumn 2015 issue.

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3288 Review: How and when did you start writing? Was there a specific event or moment which sparked your interest in the written word?

E.E. King: I wrote when I was very young, but left the pen, and computer, to pursue ballet, theater, painting and biology. About 2002 when I began writing seriously, daily. I was extraordinarily fortunate to have Ray Bradbury as my champion and mentor. He had been in my father’s writing group and I visited him weekly for many years until his death. His greeting was always, “Have you written today?” I can still hear him saying; “I am your Rabbi and your Priest. This is your temple. Now go forth and WRITE!” I have always been a vociferous reader, and I was lucky to have grown up being read to and told stories. I began by writing a children’s book—a story and novel. Then I wrote stories—hundreds of stories—before moving on novels. Continue reading →

Interview with Joe Baumann

This is one of an ongoing series of interviews with contributors to The 3288 Review.

Joe Baumann received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he served as the editor-in-chief of Rougarou: an Online Literary Journal and the Southwestern Review.  He is the author of Ivory Children: Flash Fictions, and his work has appeared in Tulane Review, Willow Review, Hawai’i Review, and many others, and is forthcoming in Jelly Bucket, Lunch Ticket and others. He teaches composition, literature and creative writing at St. Charles Community College in St. Charles, Missouri. Baumann’s story “The House on the Edge of the Canyon” appeared in issue 1.2 of The 3288 Review.

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3288 Review: How and when did you start writing? Was there a specific event or moment which sparked your interest in the written word?

Joe Baumann: I can’t remember the exact moment at which I started writing stories, but I have a distinct memory of writing something in first grade. I was living in New York, and in elementary school we had a program—looking back, it feels like magic that this was a thing the school could do—where every student was asked to write a short book that would be published as a hardback. I have little memory of what that book was about (I’m sure my parents have it shelved away somewhere), and I don’t distinctly remember having a deep love of writing before that, but perhaps that’s because I have a very blurry sense of my memory before that moment (my first five years of life are spotty and bleary, as young memories tend to be). That, however, was certainly a major starting point for me. Being able to hold, in my hands, my own work, made me feel immediately empowered as a writer, even at that age. I had been a reader for all of my childhood—I devoured Goosebumps, The Boxcar Children, and the Clue books, even at that age—and somewhere inside, consciously or unconsciously, having that item in my hands made me feel ready to be a part of that world. The rest, I suppose, is history. Continue reading →