Monday, March 14, 2011

Interview with Gerald So of THE LINEUP

By Steve Weddle

The new issue of THE LINEUP is hitting the stands soon, and Gerald So swung by DSD HQ to discuss the upcoming issue, which includes a poem I wrote about hitting a guy in the face with a shovel.

Steve Weddle: What is The Lineup and why does the world need it?

Gerald So: The Lineup is a journal of poets' reactions to crime, however they may define it. Even when we try to show no reaction, we are dealing with being hurt or wronged somehow. Where other genres might gloss over conflict, crime fiction deals with it immediately. In the same way, looking at crime through poetry gets at everything we might otherwise cover up. To understand our reactions is to better understand ourselves and others.

SW: Poetry has always been tough to publish in book form. For the most part, the two big publishers of poetry have been university presses and your local copy shop. How has the Internet – including Kindle, Nook, etc – changed that?

GS: In the Electronic Age, anyone who can make a webpage can make his voice heard. This is good for poetry in that it has led to many zines, each with its own spin. Today's interconnected world lets more people get to know each other. I got to know the three people with whom I started The Lineup through the Internet.

SW: In your opinion, who are some of the more poetic crime fiction writers these days? Dennis Lehane? James Patterson?

GS: If we're taking "these days" strictly, Lehane, Wallace Stroby, Reed Farrel Coleman, S.J. Rozan. The recently passed Robert B. Parker started me thinking about crime fiction poetically, but that's what rekindled my interest in poetry after high school and college.

SW: What's your favorite place to write?

GS: At my computer desk, but on a memo pad, ironically.

SW: A poem can be 50 words and a short story can be 5,000. Are poets complete wusses or is poetry harder to write?

GS: I wouldn't say poetry is harder to write; it just has different goals. Though shorter than a novel, a story's goal is still to depict beginning, middle, and end. The goal of poetry is to communicate the power of a moment, emotion, or viewpoint in as few words as necessary. Readers may be able to forgive one or two extra pages of a story, but if a poem goes one word too long, its whole message may be lost.

SW: What is the last book of poetry you bought?

GS: Having None of It by Adrienne Su, from Manic D Press.

SW: Better – poetry readings or novel readings?

GS: Poetry readings. Poetry is more intended to be read aloud by the poet or by a single voice. Novels are seldom written in the author's voice. They usually employ several characters' voices, so it can be awkward when the author reads them.

SW: Who works on The Lineup with you? What’s the process from submission to finished product?

GS: My current co-editors are Reed Farrel Coleman, Sarah Cortez, and Richie Narvaez. I call for and gather submissions (e-mail only, please) for three or four months at a time. The four of us read the submissions in two large batches. We use an arbitrary score, 1-5, 5 being best, and the poems with the highest scores are published.
After the poems are chosen, we decide on the order that flows best. Richie designs the book's interior layout, and I proofread it for typos.
Later in the process, we pick the cover photo. To date, John Collis has designed our covers.

SW: Any public readings for The Lineup coming soon?

GS: We have one at NYC's Cornelia Street Cafe (29 Cornelia Street) on May 31st at 6:00 PM. Reed and Richie will host and be joined by Lineup 4 contributors Jeanne Dickey and Caitlin Elizabeth Thomson.

SW: When and how can folks get the new issue of The Lineup?

GS: Issue 4 goes on sale April 1st at and signed copies will be available at Murder By The Book in Houston, Once Upon a Crime in Minneapolis, The Mysterious Bookshop in New York, and M is for Mystery in San Mateo, California.

And here is the lineup for The Lineup:

Ken Bruen
Michael Casey
Reed Farrel Coleman
David Corbett
Mary Agnes Dalrymple
Mary Christine Delea
Jeanne Dickey
H. Palmer Hall
Paul Hostovsky
David Jordan
Laura LeHew
Thomas Michael McDade
Peter Meinke
Keith Rawson
Chad Rohrbacher
Stephen Jay Schwartz
Nancy Scott
Kieran Shea
J.D. Smith
J.J. Steinfeld
John Stickney
Caitlin Elizabeth Thomson
Randall Watson
Charles Harper Webb
Steve Weddle
Germaine Welch


David Cranmer said...

A fine collection of poetry I've read through twice. And will a third and fourth before the year is out.

Great interview, both.

John Hornor said...

I'm not into poetry that doesn't rhyme and have electric guitars, but this is something I can get behind, you know?

Killing and maiming and shovel to face action? Hell yeah!

Gerald So said...

Thanks for the comments, David and John.

For anyone who primarily writes prose and would like to try poetry, I've posted two lessons inspired by Steve's question, "Is poetry harder to write [than prose]?"

Sheilagh Lee said...

Sheilagh Lee said:an intersting collection of poetry.