Five with Larry O. Dean

For our next guest, I'm pleased to present Larry O. Dean, a very funny fellow I just recently met when he read from his "I Am Spam" at the Fixx Reading Series. He is part of a reading tonight in Chicago at the Sulzer Library, by a delightful coincidence. I'm going, and so should you. It should be noted, I suppose, that while I generally include only one photograph of the featured author, when presented with a photo of someone in rock-mode and a photo of the same person as a wee tiny, well, I'm going to post the both.

Anyway, without further ado:

1. What are you working on now?

Two collections: Brief Nudity, which is your basic kitchen sink's worth of poems of no definable cohesion other than they're new to the neighborhood; and Loma Prieta, a series of persona poems based on the 1989 San Francisco Bay Area earthquake. The former has a lot of humor, the latter, needless to say, is much more serious. I was living in San Francisco at the time, and while my own experience of the quake was benign, I was haunted by testimonials in print of those who weren't so lucky, and later newspaper articles about those who died. Loma Prieta focuses on giving the victims voices.

I'm also writing a batch of new songs for my band, The Injured Parties' second album. Our debut, Fun with a Purpose, which was mixed by Mark Nevers (Lambchop, The Clientele, Calexico) in Nashville, is due out later this year.

2. What is your favorite part of literary festivals and why?

The clean bathrooms. I find that literary types are very careful urinators, urethrally if not always literarily.

3. Who are your favorite small press mover/shaker types at the minute?

C.J. Laity at ChicagoPoetry.com has been an ardent and sometimes controversial presence on the local scene for many years; any discussion of the state of Chicago poetry that deducts him from the equation is sorely lacking. Also, tooting my own horn, Fractal Edge Press, Wayne Jones' local imprint that published my chapbook, I Am Spam, deserves a shout out if for no other reason than for the sheer number of titles Wayne's put out in a short period of time. Also Puddin'head Press, Featherproof Books, Switchback Books, and Teachers & Writers Collaborative Press.

4. Which author do you wish was coming to Pilcrow Lit Fest this year who is not?

I'm gonna go for two: Marc Behm, who died last July, and Alden Nowlan, who died in 1983. Behm was an American expatriate, living in France, probably most famous for writing the treatment for Help! But it was his series of surreal and creepy neo-noir novels, such as Eye of the Beholder and Queen of the Night, that really grabbed me. Nowlan was a Canadian poet and novelist, also little known in the US, who's a particular favorite of mine.

5. If you were in charge of picking a theme song for Pilcrow Lit Fest this year, what would it be?

“Blinded by the Light,” for sure – the Manfred Mann's Earth Band version, not the original by Springsteen – because with all the literary talent on display at Pilcrow, I'm sure we'll have to squint our eyes. Also because Mann's singer pronounces “deuce” like “douche.”

No comments: