Friday, December 18, 2009

An Interview With Meg Pokrass

Meg Pokrass’s story, “Her Own Music,” appears in STORYGLOSSIA 37. Meg took a few moments to discuss writing humor, her recently released chapbook, Lost and Found, her work with the Dzanc Creative Writing Sessions and Smokelong Quarterly, and her forthcoming work.

Anne Valente: The people in "Her Own Music" seem to rely on technology for communication - Facebook, telephones, iPods. Does this piece comment on these mediating tools, in how they affect our human connections today?

Meg Pokrass: Technology is changing so rapidly that our brains are constantly and desperately attempting to adapt! I find this phenomenon enormously useful material for stories. I (usually failing to adapt) find that I am my own best study. I make mental notes of my foibles and rare successes in ever-expanding worlds of communication and technology to use in stories.

AV: There's so much great humor in this piece. How does humor lend itself to your work? Is it difficult to write and include in stories?

MP: Humor is indeed hard to write, because when a writer tries to be funny, it often doesn't work. Humor emerges from a character's way of seeing things - both the character's lack of awareness about what they are seeing/experiencing or his acute awareness. Strangely enough - many times when I write serious pieces, they end up comedic - and the other way around!

AV: You've recently published a chapbook, Lost and Found, of elimae stories. Can you tell us a little about this project?

MP: My recently released chapbook, titled Lost and Found from Bannock Street Books is a collaboration of my stories from elimae, and Cooper Renner's art. The pieces in Lost and Found were edited by publisher Cooper Renner. They all originally ran in elimae. "Lost and Found” is the title of one of these pieces.

AV: In addition to serving as an editor for SmokeLong Quarterly, you also work as a mentor for the Dzanc Creative Writing Sessions. How are both of those going? How does this work inform your writing?

MP: Being an editor/mentor is a wonderful way to expand my own understanding of the creative brain, sort of doing research in the field! - I honestly cannot get enough of it. Working with writers who are like-minded is like feeling at home nearly immediately. I love helping other writers to help figure out what works for them personally and designing exercises - finding a way to access the window that allows them to find their voice.

AV: What are you currently working on? Any stories forthcoming that we can point readers to?

MP: I have stories forthcoming in many online and print magazines. The print mags include Gargoyle, Pank, Gigantic, and Ampersand. I am doing video readings and loving that. Here is the link to my YouTube channel. Also, I recently completed a Podcast for Prick of the Spindle in which I talk to writer/editor Cynthia Reeser about the creative process and my way of writing and finding what works.

All are welcome to join my prompt blog network or visit my blog:

Meg Pokrass is a fiction writer and poet who edits for Smokelong Quarterly and serves as a mentor for the Dzanc Creative Writing Sessions. Her story, "Leaving Hope Ranch," published in Storyglossia in September of this year, was also selected for the Wigleaf Top 50 list. Another of Meg's stories, "Lost and Found," first published in elimae, was selected for Storyglossia's Short Story Month. She has a chapbook of the same title which was released Thanksgiving week - which includes art by Cooper Renner of elimae. Her fiction pieces, "What the Doctor Ordered" from Monkeybicycle, and "The Big Dipper" from Annalemma, received nominations for the Dzanc Books Best of the Web 2010 anthology. Meg also interviews writers for Fictionaut, having taken over the Fictionaut Five. She has published over 100 stories and poems.

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