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10 Questions for Paola Bruni

- By Edward Clifford

What do we remember?
I read about a woman who could recall
the womb, who described it as a shiny, mirrored
substance, slick, the purplish hue of an eggplant.
Another suspended in anti-gravity, shuffled
along in a premature moonwalk.
—from "Birth," Volume 61, Issue 1 (Spring 2020)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
My very first fiction piece was written when I was eleven years old. My Italian immigrant parents had just uprooted us, moved our family from an ethnic tumble of a neighborhood in the Excelsior District of San Francisco, to a white American suburb. I entered sixth grade terribly shy, a plump girl with acne and a strange name no one could pronounce. On the first day of class,...


10 Questions for Charlie Peck

- By Edward Clifford

(Author Photo by Simon Sahner)

Around the courthouse they've built orange and white barricades,
directed traffic to side streets to reduce heads craning from car windows,
and as I walk the dog this morning with Kate, she turns and asks,

What do you think? and I say, Must be a protest. When my dad gave
the eulogy at my granfather's funeral, one woman afterwards
was appalled that he quoted Grandpa's favorite phrase, Smiling like a cat

eating shit. [...]
—from "Barricades," Volume 61, Issue (Spring 2020)


Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote....


10 Questions for Nancy Miller Gomez

- By Edward Clifford

The dress bound my body
like a bandage staunching a wound.
Lace choked my throat.
My arms were cinched in tourniquets of tuelle.

I was a hand grenade of a girl
vacuum packed into a costume,
my fingers poised in the fuselage of my lap.
I'd chopped my hair short.
—from "My First Grade Picture," Volume 61, Issue 1 (Spring 2020)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
I published my first collection of poems when I was ten. It was written in cursive on multi-colored construction paper held together with brass brads and filled with bad drawings of peace signs and flowers. The opening poem in that “collection” was called “Freedom.”

What writer(s)...


10 Questions for Keith Leonard

- By Edward Clifford

There must have been a world
before the slender architecture
in the palm flexed the pistons
in the wrist and the chisel
shaped the hips of this;
there must have been a single tree
plucked and carved hollow
which drew from some of us
a wilderness; [...]
—from "Guitar," Volume 61 Issue 1 (Spring 2020)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
I actually still have them. I found them a few years ago in my parents attic, and they are unspeakably awful. Here are some sample titles: “Need for Speed”, “Staring at the White Wall”. I read them to my high school students at the beginning of each poetry course I teach. We all agree that nothing they write could be as...


(Not Quite)10 Questions for Laura Glen Louis

- By Edward Clifford

My brother, Victor, said that Mr. B was the only interesting teacher at our school, and that I might finally learn a thing or two. Because this brother never said anything more urgent to me than Get out of my room, I saw in his comments something akin to the hot and savory. For once Victor was right, but interesting didn't begin to portray the man. One needed a more complex word, something involute. Labyrinthine. One needed a ball of string and a torch.
—from "The Empirical Mr.B," Volume 61, Issue 1 (Spring 2020)

We asked Laura Glen Louis the same 10 Questions we ask our other contributors. She responded with following interview.

Why “The Empirical Mr. B”?
Each piece begins with a haunting. All...

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