13 Questions with Lawrence Gladeview

by HST UK on January 21, 2012

Lawrence Gladeview is a barroom raconteur, cocksure lover, and foul-mouthed poet. His new full-length poetry collection, Just Ignore The Beer Stains, is now available from PigeonBike Press. Mr Gladeview braved the onslaught of our 13 Questions…

HST: On the broadside of your poem ‘As Disraeli Gears Plays’ I notice you’ve used a picture from an old Minor Threat album. Are you a fan of hardcore punk? Has the spirit from that era of music influenced you as a writer, given also that you have operated mostly within the independent small press writing community?

Minor Threat is a favorite of mine along with other hardcore punk bands like The Gorilla Biscuits, MC5, and Lifetime among others. These bands created music they believed in, and that’s how I see my poems. The entire ethos and attitude of what punk is influences my writing in all aspects some way or another, from voice to presentation. In that same vein, operating within the small press writing community embodies those punk rock values in the literary medium.

HST: What’s it like to receive compliments, and praise from other writers? Luminaries such as Wolfgang Carstens and John Yamrus have been very complimentary of your work; does this merely boost the ego, or genuinely motivate you as a writer?

Wolf and John ignore the boundaries of traditional publishing and writing. These guys give it their all when it comes to supporting and promoting high quality, loud, and unafraid poetry. To have these guys take notice of my poems is the best kick in the pants a writer can get. It challenges you to explore alleyways that would have gone unnoticed, to find new ways to tell a story or share a poem.

HST: For what reasons would you recommend your publisher PigeonBike Press to aspiring writers with first manuscripts burning in their sweaty virginal palms?

PigeonBike Press is run by the never-say-die Rob Raymond, and this guy does what he says he will and never compromises. When he approached me about wanting to put out a full-length book, I didn’t hesitate to jump on-board. He was involved in every part of the process and his honesty in editing is what made this book possible. He tirelessly promotes his authors both in his local community as well as online, not to mention the PigeonBike mailers and collaboratively working with other publishers like Epic Rites Press.

HST: ‘Just Ignore The Beer Stains’ consists of fifty four poems. Do you believe that a collection of that kind of length is better to digest for a reader as opposed to one that is drawn out over several hundred pages?

Several hundred pages can be hard to digest and either start to drag, or send you off track. I think fifty four poems is a good length to build a cohesive collection, which is something that my editor Rob and I paid attention to closely. Just Ignore The Beer Statins started with over seventy or so poems. We wanted the selections to play off one another in voice, environment, and style, among other things. Getting the collection down to fifty four wasn’t easy, but in the end the book is stronger for it.

HST: Were the any glaring omissions from the book, poems that you’d have liked to have included, but that didn’t fit in with the rest of the collection?

None whatsoever. I couldn’t be more proud of this book; its presentation, quality, and pages are all top notch. The poems that didn’t make the final cut aren’t necessarily bad poems, but rather stories that just didn’t fit this particular collection.

HST: Would you consider yourself a humanist poet?

People fascinate me. Friends, family, strangers, whoever. Their motivations, words, and behavior can be comforting, humorous, and enraging; all the right juice for a good poem. Poetry needs to make the reader react, and sharing snapshots of the human condition is an effective way to make a person laugh or hate your guts.

HST: Do you write consistently all year round, or are you affected by the changing seasons?

I write year round but I would be lying if I said the seasons have no effect on my poems. This winter, I started a project based on snow, taking that aspect of winter and incorporating it into a series of poems. There are pieces about shoveling snow, car accidents, hand-built fences, skiing, and that’s just the surface. It’s fun to drink in the physical environment and see what you puke back up.

HST: How important is it for a writer to be in a stable, supportive relationship? I’ve noticed a lot of poets in the small press acknowledge their partners in poems. You make several mentions of Rebecca. How does she feel about your poetry?

I don’t think I could exist as a writer without my wife Rebecca. Ben Franklin wrote a series of almanacs entitled Poor Richard, which allowed him to build a fantasy world based in reality for which he had a creative outlet. My poems are Poor Richard and Rebecca supports them whole-heartedly. The drunk driving pieces, streetwalker stories, self-deprecating jabs, and marital spats are all born from what our relationship has been for over eight years of city living, cross country driving, and everything in between. She reads almost every poem I write, and her reactions are better feedback than any publisher or editor could offer. So how does she feel about my poems? In her own words – eh.

HST: Tell us more about Media Virus Magazine – how did MVM begin, and what is on the horizon for MVM in the near future?

MediaVirus Magazine began in the basement of Zeno’s, a State College, Pennsylvania bar. My very good friend Stewart Grant and I were drinking and decided to start an online magazine to provide an outlet for us to publish our work as well as our friends’ poetry, fiction, art, and music. We decided to publish issues on a monthly cycle and to never have a preconceived idea of what the next issue would be, but rather to only read, review, and publish the best submissions we received. We wanted to let the writing and art speak for itself, to grab and pull us down the wormhole of an all poetry issue, artist spotlight edition, or an interview series expose. MediaVirus Magazine has published a new issue on the first Monday of the month for the past two and a half years, and no one issue has been the same; we plan on keeping it that way.

HST: You majored in English at University. Was it always your intention to pursue a writing career after you graduated? Do you fear for the current generation of graduates that are leaving University with few realistic opportunities?

Changing to a liberal arts course of study was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I didn’t necessarily decide on an English major due to career possibilities, but rather to challenge myself and to find the creative voice within my bones. Writing certainly doesn’t pay the bills, but it’s not about the income.

HST: I’m becoming obsessed with the strange escapist phenomenon of ‘Cosplay’, where geeks and attractive women dress up as computer game and comic book characters, and attend various conferences and functions. What current subcultures intrigue you?

The subculture that intrigues me the most is this, the literary underground and small press publishing. Not nearly enough people pay attention to independent authors and artists breaking the mold of what contemporary storytelling, poetry, and art is and how it is presented. There’s no bullshit in small press publishing; editors and authors tell it to your face whether you like it or not, and that pushes you to pound the keys harder. Seeing and hearing poets like Tony Moffeit perform in a corner pocket bookstore and publishing poems in magazines dropped in coffee shops around the world is engrossing, and I wish I would have wised up sooner.

HST: As an American, do you believe that the Kardashian family represent all that is wrong with your country?

The Kardashian family’s success in my country certainly is disappointing and speaks to a greater problem with American attitudes and values. I’m not a religious man by any means, but Americans have lost their moral compass and with it have guided off course into waters where our ability to intelligently reason was thrown overboard. Right now, the rampant mentality sweeping the states is “me first, screw everyone else” and this attitude is perpetually broadcast day in day out in all media and social networking sites. This constant exposure is now encouraging Americans, especially young women and older mothers, to hold individuals in our society like the Kardashian’s in high regard.

HST: These questions were written on the day that Christopher Hitchens died. He famously once said “I became a journalist because I did not want to rely on newspapers for information.” What media sources do you trust?

In today’s twenty four hour news cycle with television, radio, and internet all providing headlines and opinions, people are being bombarded with talking points and outright lies. Media outlets like Democracy Now, NPR, and local, progressive radio are doing a great job reporting on politics, the environment, and most importantly the impact these topics have on the citizens on a local and national level. It’s hard to find the truth in an industry driven by an agenda and wealth with no integrity, but turning to nonpartisan, non-secular reporting offers a certain level of comfort in honest journalism and proactive involvement.


If you are interested in answering HST’s 13 Questions then email us: aprilmaymarch777@yahoo.co.uk

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