We're honored to feature Glen Armstrong's "The Bedside Book of Threadbare" in Issue One of Orson's Review. We're also very fortunate for the time Glen took to sit down and chat with us about his journey as a poet.
*The following interview involves Orson's Publishing (OP) and Glen Armstrong (GA).
OP: How did your journey with the written word begin?
GA: I remember my mom taking time to notate stuff I had planned out in my head before I could caption my own Crayola drawings.
OP: Is being a poet your primary occupation?
GA: I teach at a University to pay the rent.
OP: What about "The Bedside Book of Threadbare" are you most proud?
GA: I like that it balances the quixotic and the just plain nuts in a modern setting.
OP: Tell us about your writing process. Do you approach all pieces of writing in the same way?
GA: I get out of bed, brew a cup of coffee and write until I have to start off to work. I try to draft a twenty-line poem every morning, which might be more like running scales or etudes than truly completing a poem. The resulting manuscript reads a bit like a diary. At other times, I’ve been obsessed with revision.
OP: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that impacted your writing?
GA: I wanted to be a trombonist. It seemed like something the world needed, something that could do no harm. I suppose I had an intuitive sense that there was something called “the arts” and making things for other was a possibility.
OP: Tell us about the biggest sacrifice you’ve made while pursuing writing.
GA: Though writing connects us to others, the amount of practice that I feel I need has compromised most of my relationships.
OP: How many books do you read in a year?
GA: 24 -30. I wish it were more.
OP: Do you attend poetry readings? If so, tell us about the best one you’ve ever attended -- what made it so good?
GA: One of my favorites was hearing James Tate read from Worshipful Company of Fletchers just before it won the National Book Award. He seemed as amazed at where some of those poems wanted to go as we were. It wasn’t about self-promotion or a lesson in the writing process. It was just a trip to these cool little planets.
OP: What do you want most out of your literary community?
GA: Adoration. (I’m willing and able to love back, mind you, but any other answer strikes me as a little false.)
OP: Do you believe that an MFA is crucial to success as a writer today?
GA: I’m not sure. An MFA degree isn’t something we look for when we choose poems for Cruel Garters, the journal that I edit with Ben Bennett-Carpenter.
OP: What do you cross your fingers for as a writer?
GA: With a little luck, I’ll surprise myself. Something unplanned will raise its mongrel voice.
OP: Where do you see your journey with the written word going?
GA: I have a couple collection and a couple longer poems that I’d like to see settled in with the right publisher.
Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has three recent chapbooks: Set List (Bitchin Kitsch,) In Stone and The Most Awkward Silence of All (both Cruel Garters Press.) His work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, Conduit and Cloudbank.
Be sure to check out Glen Armstrong's "The Bedside Book of Threadbare" in Issue One of Orson's Review.