the chapbook interview: Sarah Ann Winn on “the ephemeral things I hold dear”

You are the author of the chapbook Portage (Sundress Publications, 2014). What did you learn during your MFA studies about the chapbook?

As excellent as GMU’s program was, I didn’t learn very much about the chapbook in my classes there. Most of what I learned was in conversations with my friends who were submitting/assembling chapbooks. Occasionally someone would mention them in a class (usually a student), or I would see them as final products in displays for courses I hadn’t taken but wish I had been able to (like Susan Tichy’s poem-as-object class, Book Beasts), but overall, I was not required to read any, and there was no formal learning outcome which related to them specifically. I learned by going to panels and in the book room at AWP as well. They can be such tactile objects that being able to see them in person/hold them in my hands was an essential part of my learning experience.


Your chapbook Portage isn’t a tactile object in the sense that it’s an echapbook. What are the benefits of publishing echapbooks?

One of the benefits of publishing an e-chap is the wide audience. For a small publisher like Sundress, it keeps costs down, and distribution easy. At AWP, I was able to hand people my card, and more than one person said that they planned to have their class download it as an additional text, since it was free. What a great way for a poet at the beginning of their career to develop readership!


What chapbooks and chapbook presses do you admire for the tactile objects they create and why?

There are many presses that are doing a great job capitalizing on the physical capabilities of chapbooks. One thing that they have in common is their attention to detail/use of the form to enhance the already beautiful work. Something that’s been interesting to watch is the more and more frequent inclusion of hybrid works in chapbook lineups. This seems like a match made in heaven, where both are the manticores of the literary world.

In no particular order, here are a few I love:

Yellow Flag – Block print painted covers on some (like Erica McCreedy’s Red Winter), unique size on others (like Lauren Gordon’s Generalizations About Spines), this press clearly takes into consideration the style of the poet.

Porkbelly – These handmade beauties with full color covers are sold on Etsy. All of their titles are head turners. I admired them before they picked up my micro chap, Haunting the Last House on Holland Island (due out next year).


Miel Books – Their catalog would be dreamy in full size features as well – but in minis!? I felt like swooning at their table. Slip covers, illustrations throughout, diagrams, authors are frequently hybrid works writers. what’s not to love? Miel also does something rare – their chaps and microchaps have ISBNs, making them more available/visible to bookstores and libraries.

Red Bird Chapbooks – Have you seen Donna Vorreyer’s chapbook, Encantado? Its cover and images throughout were done by Matt Kish. It’s printed in full color on Superfine Ultra White Eggshell Paper. The inside text is printed on Archival Bright White paper. It’s in Garamond. I know all these things because Red Bird prints them on the copyright page! This is artistic pride, and well founded.

Sometimes it’s the small details that offer huge results: Hyacinth Girl and Blood Pudding both use pretty ribbon bindings, and full color covers. Dancing Girl’s covers are also in full color, but the texture of the covers are also somehow stylistically appropriate to the content (Sara Henning’s Garden Effigies cover feels like a sketchbook, mirroring the poems’ light touch and deft craft. Mary McMyne’s Wolfskin feels like a well worn storybook.) It doesn’t have to be an all out extravaganza. I have read and loved chapbooks where the presses didn’t go to such extraordinary lengths. I think, though, that something about the process of making these and reading them binds the reader and publisher together as people who love the same things. It also seems to imply a relationship with the author/connection with his or her work that as the reader, I appreciate.


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I adore the title of your chapbook and the ellipse design after each title of the poems within. There’s a sense of longing that permeates the book. What inspired Portage

The poems in Portage were inspired directly by my childhood, and being raised by my grandparents. When you’re raised by people who are a generation removed from most people’s parents, the question of how to hold on to memories is an ever pressing one, because they can see their own past slipping into history. I felt this sense of urgency move into high gear when my sister died while I was in high school, and have been trying to figure out ways to preserve my personal history/the ephemeral things I hold dear ever since.


How do you define chapbook? A small collection of tightly woven poems, linked thematically or stylistically.

What makes a good chapbook? I think it’s important that each individual poem has a clear relationship to the next. Of course, as associate editor for ELJ, I also hope that the poems in each manuscript are polished, and as a reader I enjoy the physical object, but a core value for me is that strong link between each poem.


What chapbooks are inspiring you these days? So many! M. Mack’s Traveling (Hyacinth Girl, 2015), Shana Youngdahl’s Winter/Windows (Miel, 2013), Ruth Foley’s Creature Feature (ELJ, 2015), Laura Gordon’s Generalizations About Spines (Yellow Flag, 2015) (really anything by Lauren Gordon – all her chaps are amazing!), Amorak Huey‘s The Insomniac Circus (Hyacinth Girl, 2014) — these are just a few!

What chapbooks or chapbook poets have impacted your writing the most? I am so fortunate to workshop often with Jennifer MacBain Stevens and Sarah Lilius. Sarah’s What Becomes Within is brave and poignantly written, and Jennifer’s Jeanne (Be About It Press, 2015) and The Visitant (Shirt Pocket, 2015) are tightly woven and have such beautiful unexpected language. I also really love Sally Rosen Kindred‘s Darling Hands, Darling Tongue (Hyacinth Girl, 2014), Mary McMyne’s Wolfskin (Dancing Girl, 2014), Kelly Boyker’s Zoonosis (Hyacinth Girl, 2014), and Sara Biggs Chaney’s Ann Coulter’s Letter to the Young Poets (Dancing Girl, 2014).

What do you look for when you put together a chapbook? (I think I mostly answered this above)

How are you trying to get better as a chapbook poet? I’m trying to look for unexpected links in my work which already exist, and to write longer sequences. I have poet A.D.H.D, and tend to race from one interesting thing to another, rather than really settling in with a topic, and letting it blossom.

What’s next for you? I’m finalizing a full length manuscript of poems about Glinda the Good Witch who’s grown tired of Oz, and who leaves. These poems explore the intertwined ideas of home and identity.

Number of chapbooks you own: 30? 40? Many…

Number of chapbooks you’ve read: Almost all that I own. I am just now catching up with my AWP haul.


Talk about your commitment to the chapbook writing community. I enjoy reading chapbook manuscripts for ELJ, and appreciate their commitment to discovering new artists. I try to read widely, and beyond my own circle of friends, and tweet/Facebook promote the amazing finds I make. I’d like to commit to writing more reviews, but right now I owe 2-3, and this is enough of a backlog to tell me that this might be beyond me for now. Writing reviews is something that I really enjoyed doing as a School Librarian, and have moved away from it to a degree to focus on generating new material. Time to get back to it!

Ways you promote and serve other chapbook poets: Mostly, I recommend the ones I read and like to friends/followers. I try to talk about titles that I adore often in interviews and online, because word of mouth is so important in our community. I also enjoy trading manuscripts, because manuscript critiquing services can be expensive. (Of course, this is also self serving, because I get a second set of eyes/third/fourth, and I get to preview wonderful work.)

Where you spend your chapbook earnings: In my imagination — the only place that currency’s accepted.

Residence: Manassas, Virginia

Job: Free Range Librarian

Chapbook education: MFA from George Mason University in Creative Writing Poetry, MSLiS in School Librarianship from Catholic University of America (They seem equally important to my chapbook’s generation!)

Chapbook Bio: Sarah Ann Winn’s poems have appeared or will appear in Cider Press Review, Hobart (online), Massachusetts Review, Quarterly West, and RHINO, among others. Porkbelly will be releasing her micro chapbook, Haunting the Last House on Holland Island, in Summer of 2016. Her chapbook, Portage, is available as a free download from Sundress Publications. Visit her at or follow her @blueaisling on Twitter.

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the chapbook interview: Scott Abels on there is room

scott abels

You are the author of the chapbooks A State of The Union Speech (Beard of Bees Press, 2015) and Nebraska Fantastic (Beard of Bees Press, 2012), as well as the full-length books Rambo Goes to Idaho (BlazeVox, 2011) and New City (BlazeVox, 2015). You also have a MFA from Boise State University. What did you learn during your MFA studies and undergrad degree in literature about the chapbook?

I think the best approach I found to writing poems in grad school was to decide that the goal of writing a poem was simply to get me to the next poem—which is a way of saying I wasn’t thinking much about publication back then, happily, just trying to generate as many different kinds of poems as I could  and to keep moving forward (and, yes, the never-ending workshop deadlines do help you keep moving forward).  We were reading a lot of Jack Spicer back then, trying to get our heads around the idea of the “serial poem,” which seemed to have two priorities: 1) the idea that poems don’t live very well by themselves, but just seem to be more productive in groups (not everyone agrees with this, of course, but it seemed a lot more important than the well-crafted poems in The New Yorker, which I’ve heard described as delivering the perfect feeling of a pat on the as—yes, I enjoy a pat on the ass, but I want poetry to do more than that), and 2) the spirit and energy of the myth of Orpheus, which demands that one keeps moving forward, and, at the risk of death, never looking back, as if the life of the poem ends if there is a pause and a backward glance.  Then one year Robin Blazer (who formed one third of the triad of Robert Duncan/Jack Spicer/Robin Blazer, a crew which did a lot for poetry in America) came to read at BSU, and that whole idea of serial poetry became a bit more contemporary for me, while also demonstrating how important extended poetry communities are to generating poetry.  Other longer, experimental lyric sequences that I found (and still find, in different ways) generative include the work of Ted Berrigan, John Berryman, and Alice Notley.  So I think most of us in grad school were thinking not about poems, but about books.  Martin Corless-Smith taught a tremendous class on poems as books, which, arguably, is very much a British and American poetic tradition from Milton to Blake to Whitman and so many others.  And, of course, there was this great experimental poetry press right there—Ahsahta Press, brought back to life right in front of us by the strong editorial guidance of Janet Holmes—which always had us thinking about the book’s place in writing individual poems.  And so, it occurred to most of us that a longer sequence was just more interesting than writing a short lyric and then seeking publication for it.  Of course, I keep saying “book,” while I am being asked about the “chapbook,” so, to clarify, I am using the term “book” inclusively and expansively, which works for the purpose of this conversation.  Chapbooks are a short book format–but are still in every way “books”—which perhaps offer a more accessible set of attributes (they are smaller, more portable, cheaper to produce, potentially more approachable to readers, etc…).

Your chapbook A State of The Union Speech tackles issues of sustainability, agriculture, big agribusiness, and government. What inspires you to write and what inspired you specifically to write your new chapbook?

There is a sort of creative writing classroom cliche that says that you write a novel to say or do the things that only novels can do, you write a play to say or do the things that only drama can do, and you write a poem to say or do things that only poetry can do.  Though I’m not entirely sure what that all means, it does help me think about the things that poetry is particularly good at.  Poetry is very good at rendering memory, poetry is great at comedy, poetry is great at helping us have a conversation about politics and/or power dynamics, and poetry is really great with absurdity—which, along with a tolerance for ambiguity, is, I think, essential to imagination.  And so, although a lot of the politics which that particular sequence of poems takes on are very real, vital, and sincere, I wonder if (or, rather, I hope) the value can really be found in the absurd otherworldly atmosphere of the poem—which is to say I hope it is fun and that it might even help people with their imagination.

As far as what inspires the political content–sustainability, agriculture, big business, and government—of the chapbook, perhaps that comes from the process of composing the poem.  It mostly comes from the news (or the news I read, which must somehow reflect what I’m trying to pay attention to).  If poets are always listening to language, then a lot of the language I find amazing (hilarious, otherworldly, imaginative, etc…) comes from the news.  But of course it becomes those amazing things when the context shifts; isn’t that what metaphor is: the magic act of bridging an impossible distance by placing two fantastically distant yet specific things side by side as if it’s just the most natural thing in the neighborhood. And so, I admit that an awful lot of the language in my poems is a collage of news headlines, news phrases, and conversations among strangers that I overhear by chance.  That’s a lot of the language that surrounds me, I suppose, coherent or not, and the game of piecing the ensemble together gives me great joy.

Yes, I can tell that about your work—your delight in the language and the play of the way words are put together by others. Reading your work makes for a provocative and joyful read, even at a cursory glance, like perusing the titles of your poems. I adore the title of your chapbook Nebraska Fantastic and the individual titles of your poems. Tell me about your use of titles and the poets and the collections you admire who title with verve and style.

Thanks!  Earlier, I had mentioned influences such as Spicer, Berrigan, Berryman, and Notley, and I will also point to those poets in the context of great titles.  As far as younger poets, I would add Nate Pritts to the list of great titlers, as he’s not afraid of indulging in grand superlatives—as in his Sensational Spectacular out with BlazeVOX [books]—to express a contemporary romanticism, which reminds me that the two-thousand year old tradition of messing around with what it means to say “I” in a poem (articulation of self-hood) isn’t yet exhausted, at all.  Also, Michael Earl Craig stands out as a contemporary master of titling (Yes, Master; Can you Relax in My House; Thin Kimono), being capable of both grand humor and grand heart, simultaneously.

I wrote Nebraska Fantastic during the years that I taught English (as a second language) in rural Mexico, which is to say I was swimming in English that was being spoken by folks who were just beginning to learn the language.  So much of that language was amazing—really, that kind of astonishing syntax and vocabulary, with its unique and authentic balances and imbalances and risk of failure—and I say that out of a real respect for how difficult language acquisition is.  Having also taught English (as a second language) for many years in Hawai’i, so much of the language I heard on the job was making its way into my poems, which then began to grow into a long series that took the point of view of an English language learner attempting to make sense of a foreign country in a foreign language (English).  It just now occurs to me that those poems were an exercise in dictation—that old practice of recording the voice of a distant or imaginary character.  When it came to the point where I let a few editors look at those poems, a few people had the sense that the poems had the effect of mocking the speaker, as if that was my intention.  This of course mortified me, and the poems were destroyed.  And so, to be clear, despite what I really think were my best intentions, I acknowledge that project was a mistake, as the risk of offending groups of people in that context was never a risk I thought was worthy or interesting.  Having said that, I think that a certain awkwardness is important to my writing, and I suppose this is where a lot of that awkwardness comes from: having lived a few years within a number of layers of language barriers, and inviting those layers into my work.  The idea is that the challenges of translating a language and translating an experience (or memory) aren’t really so different, and the imbalances and breakdowns involved are important.  Thus, in that chapbook, I tried to play with Nebraska as someone who had never been to Nebraska, as an imaginary extreme outsider, even though I did indeed grow up there, and anyway Nebraska was on my mind, from many thousands of miles away.

I love the cleverness of your poetry. For example, your poem “Nebraska Family Tree” includes two keys, the first with notations like EF for excessive firearms and SRP for strong religious preference. Your notes indicate a thanks to a relative who complied a family tree. Talk about navigating familial truths in poetry

Thank you for saying so, and for posing this good question.  Both of my books are often approached as “semi-autobiographical,” and I do not know why. I’m not being coy here, I really don’t know why. I’m from Nebraska and I have a number of poems about Nebraska.  I have an MFA from Boise State University, and the speaker of Rambo Goes to Idaho is also an MFA student at that same school.  So I get that the basic frame sets up an “semi-autobiographical” reading on a surface level, but I don’t think such a reading holds up in any interesting way beyond that.  And, more importantly, I think that an autobiographical focus does nothing for the poems—but it probably does hold them back from whatever they are.  So you ask a great question here, and my response is that I try very hard not to navigate actual familial truth through poetry.  Others do this very well (Maggie Nelson’s handling of her aunt’s death in Jane: A Murder is a masterful example).  I’ve heard poets such as Matt Hart state something close to the notion that there is never a speaker in their poems—which is to say the speaker in their poems is never a construct, but the actual poet speaking through the lyric “I” (perhaps that’s the fingerprint of the so called “New Sincerity” poets, if you were to discard all the Tao Lin hipster self-absorption).  The idea of the poet speaking directly to the reader is a great way to read Whitman, I think, but a bad way to read my work.  Yes, my “Nebraska Family Tree” sequence spans five generations in Nebraska, quite like my own family, but that’s numbers that form the frame, not the emotional content.  And, yes, some of the language and structure of the sequence are credited to my mother’s excellent work with our family tree, but there is no useful correlation between the book’s characters and my own ancestors—maybe there are a few original characteristics, but the addition of fictitious characteristics removes the entire sequence from my actual family, as in Denise Riley’s wonderful notion of interpolation (if you introduce new elements into a thing, the whole of the thing is fundamentally different than the original elements—it is a new whole thing). Or maybe a more conservative maxim would be Richard Hugo’s good advice that if the barn was red but it needs to be yellow for the poem, you make the barn yellow.

How do you define chapbook? I think it’s a short book—loosely speaking, it’s a size somewhere in between a book and a pamphlet/broadside.  It’s a form most popular with poets, I think, though there are plenty of fiction chappies coming out.  And what complicates the idea of chapbook is the popularity of e-chapbooks, which makes sense to me (though some folks consider this an oxymoron, as you can’t put an e-book in your pocket; I think that’s a silly reason to reject e-chapbooks, as the idea is portability, which the internet is great at).  I bring up e-chappies because the form reminds me that chapbook makers often have the ethic of low-cost (both production costs and cost to the consumer) and also ease of production.

What makes a good chapbook? Often it’s great poems made by low tech/low cost production.  But of course there is a huge range of production values to fit great poetry, from pdfs to letterpress.

What chapbooks are inspiring you these days? I’ll answer this by naming some publishers.  The New Megaphone, Horse Less Press, Dancing Girl, and Sixth Finch have been putting out good stuff in recent years.

What chapbooks or chapbook poets have impacted your writing the most? Jack Spicer’s poems are back in print as “Collected Poems,” thanks to Peter Gizzi (you can still find Spicer’s Robin Blazer edited “Collected Poems” but it’s expensive and out of print).  But I would argue that a lot of the poems in that book were published as chapbooks by micro-presses.  Boise State University (where I went to grad school) happened to have a number of first-edition Spicer chapbooks, which I used to check out and spend time with long before I realized how rare those copies were.  It was a lot of fun to read his Billy the Kid in its original format.

What do you look for when you put together a chapbook? Oh, it has to work together as a whole, just like a book.  So I suppose I have the same criteria as a book, just within a smaller size/scope.  That’s sort of a simple answer, but it does feel that simple to me.

How are you trying to get better as a chapbook poet? By trying to be patient.  These things take time–a lot more time than they used to for me.  But I think the result is that though I’ll take a lot more time to put together a chapbook (and lately my book-length manuscripts are a combination of several linked chapbooks) than I used to–maybe a year more than I used to–the end product is much better.  I stopped self-publishing a number of years ago–which maybe is a bummer–but working through the publication process does help slow things down, and anyway rejection has helped me eliminate a lot of weak writing.  And part of being patient is not worrying about output.  Sure, most/all writer’s have feeling of guilt for not writing enough, but I hope we also all recognize that these things come and go, and come again.

What’s next for you? I’ve been deleting a number of poems that I have wrongfully been attached to in the last two years, so, as I’ve mentioned above, I’m taking my time with about ten good poems.  Some of these are published, some not yet, but I’m looking for the thread(s) that will help them grow into a chapbook-size thing.  It’s probably called Well, but maybe it will become No Hunting.

Current chapbook reading list: Chad Reynold’s Esu-Dei-Vie

Number of chapbooks you own: Probably 50.

Number of chapbooks you’ve read: Oh, I just really don’t know.

Talk about your commitment to the chapbook writing community. Maybe I’ll turn the question and say what the chappie community has done for me.  Earlier I mentioned Beard of Bees and Publishing Genius as publishers of e-books.  Also, Moria.  These first became important to me because I was living in rural Mexico, where I didn’t trust the local postal service, and so the internet was my primary source for poetry.  That was pretty important to me, being lonely in a foreign country.

Ways you promote and serve other chapbook poets: Not sure I’ve done so much, but issue six of my online poetry journal Country Music is all PDF chapbooks.  I am proud of that issue.  I wish I had more time (took more time) to review the work of authors I like.  I’ve done that a bit, but not enough.  If you’re looking to get your name out there, review books!  Everybody’s looking for reviews, and everybody’s also looking to get reviewed, so do the work and fill the void.

Your chapbook credo: There is room.

Alternate credo: Bring back fun.

Where you spend your chapbook earnings: I’ve published my chapbooks with Beard of Bees, and the most chapbook thing about them is it’s all for free.  It’s done for free, and it’s available for free.  It’s what sometimes gets called the small press gift culture.

Your chapbook wish: Flood the market!

Residence: On the farm, near Stanton, Nebraska.  My great-great-grandfather homesteaded the property.

Job: I teach English at Northeast Community College, where I also coordinate the ESL and Developmental English programs.

Chapbook education: In grad school, we’d be sure to crank out a homemade chapbook at least once a year (usually by unauthorized use of the English department’s copy machine, but sometimes we’d skip the bar and go to Kinkos).  We, a small circle of use, didn’t worry about publishing much at the time; I think that hand make work was a way of moving on to the next thing.  But I also think that was the beginning of a very real object worship with the concept of books (yes, that applies to online design as well).

Chapbook Bio: Scott Abels is the author of Nebraska Fantastic (Beard of Bees, 2011) and A STATE OF THE UNION SPEECH (Beard of Bees, 2015).

the chapbook interview: Bud Smith on trusting muscle memory

You are the author of the chapbook Fun Times in the Wild (Unknown Press) and Or Something Like That (Unknown Press), both published by your press, as well as the two novels, the  book F 250 (Piscataway House, 2014), Tollbooth (Piscataway House, 2013), a full-length collection of poetry Everything Neon (Marginalia2014), and two additional collections Tables Without Chairs (House of Vlad, 2015) with Brian Alan Ellis and a forthcoming novella, I’m From Electric Peak. What did you learn in school about the chapbook?

I didn’t learn about chapbooks in high school and that’s as far as I got.

I started making them to give out for free at readings, especially bookstores, where I’d make up a chapbook of the set I was going to read (Fun Times in the Wild, is just some of the newer short stories I love to read). I give the chapbook to anyone who buys something from the book store. A way to support the venue that is cool enough to have the reading. I’ve made other chapbooks from time to time and there always, just a set. Like … Hey thanks for saying you liked the reading and asking what book that piece is in, but since it won’t be in a proper published book by a press, here’s a DIY chap I made last night so I wasn’t reading off my phone.

This is what I know about chapbooks from making them and from reading them:

They are best, slim

You can’t get too creative with it, drawings and doodles and maps and whatever

A long stapler is the best thing on earth

I’m reading your chapbook Fun Times in the Wild. I had the chance to hear you read the opening short story “Tiger Blood” at Small Prestivus this summer. This story, as well as others in the chapbook, take surreal and strange turns that are imaginative, quirky, and provocative. What contemporary writers do you admire who do similar work?

Thanks, for the kind words. “Tiger Blood” is a story about a guy who goes on a first date with a girl who reveals that she has tigers that live in her blood cells, he counters with the revelation that he eats rocks to help him digest.

One of them on this first date is extraordinary … Which is something that happens sometimes. You meet someone in the world and you cannot keep them, you’re not enough for them …

Quirky fiction where the strange and surreal surface, still remind me of the real world, because sometimes in real life, a person can just look around and say ‘wow this whole being alive thing is such an insignificant joke, any second now I’m going to vaporize into dust, it’s all meaningless and all I can do is laugh at myself and laugh at everyone around me, and peel back the regular scenery of this life to reveal representative joy and sadness’. This realization might happen at the super market or it might happen while driving to or from work. What can you do after that thought pops in your head?

Fun Times in the Wild is a wacka-doo look at the seemingly mundane. Its characters and events are perhaps happening in some dream world, but the implications of what it means to be mortal, lonely and alienated/oppressed are true to what it means to live on this planet at this moment in time.

Some great writers who are doing this same style are, Ben Loory, Amelia Gray, Matthew Simmons, Aimee Bender, Dolan Morgan and Amber Sparks just to name a few. I first found my way into imaginative literature from reading Kurt Vonnegut, he’s dead now, but don’t tell him I said that, I’d hate to discourage him.

The stories in your chapbook are playful and surprising. Discuss your day-to-day writing process.

I write on my cellphone usually, in the notes app. The short stories in Fun Times were written typically, first drafts taking 15 minutes or so and then revised here and there over time. My daily writing approach is just to always have my phone on me and to write a story or poem if it comes. And to do it quick.

As far as approach I usually write a story because it feels like a stupid idea. I like to bend stupid ideas, into something that might have a little shiny gem about it somehow—a man finding a talking seashell that negatively influences his life; a girl raises an eagle from a hatchling to a dragon-size terror; a spaceship lands in a man’s yard and no one can see it but him … These all start as little scenes of what would be C movies in my mind and I just slap the stories down as fast as I can, pretty much just trying to keep up with the absurdity as it zips by.

I don’t always write surreal stories like these. Realism has its appeal and so does surrealism for me. Fun Times is a collection of stories that could be cartoons. Something exciting happens when you are writing about a cartoon character but treating it like it has a complex mind, emotions, ways to relate to the other cartoons around them, who are also deeply aware of that common though I think most humans are wrapped up with “What the fuck is going on?”


How do you define chapbook? Little book you make yourself or with a cohort.

What makes a good chapbook?
Can read it all on a lunch break. Or in between green lights.

What chapbooks are inspiring you these days? 
Sam Slaughter’s short story chap When You Cross the Line and the recent chap by Juliet Escoria, Witch Babies.

What do you look for when you put together a chapbook? Strong theme. A collection of punk songs or Loony Toon cartoons.

How are you trying to get better as a chapbook poet? Always go a little crazier. Be messier. Not take any of it too serious. Trust muscle memory.

What’s next for you? Working on a novel about the dirt road I grew up on and the campground we lived in for a while.

Bio: Bud Smith is the author of the novels, F 250 and Tollbooth, the short story collection Or Something Like That and the poetry collection Everything Neon.