Interview with Grant Clauser about Necessary Myths

Here’s an Interview at ITMOAW in which I talk about myths, my relationship with readers and other things I’ll regret.

Inside the Mind of a Writer

I was lucky enough to meet poet Grant Clauser at the Push to Publish event this past October. I grabbed his book, The Trouble With Rivers, and knew I had to interview him.

Below is the interview:

WITTLE: What books are you reading right now?

CLAUSER: The most recent poetry books would be Richard Carr’s Lucifer (sort of a novel in poetry form—he tells the story of a drug-addled guy who’s stuck with Lucifer hanging on his shoulder all the time); Mary Biddinger’s O Holy Insurgency (I just started this one last night); Brian Russell’s The Year of What Now (awesome—you must get this book); and James Galvin’s Resurrection Update (this is a collected poems from 1998 I think. He’s a very outdoorsy writer, which is something l like a lot).

WITTLE: Who has influenced your current writing style the most and how?

CLAUSER: Influencing my writing and influencing…

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My Book “Necessary Myths” Wins Dogfish Head Prize

Necessary Myths Dogfish Head Prize 2013 coverI am very pleased to announce that my book, Necessary Myths, has been awarded the 2013 Dogfish Head Poetry Prize and is published by Broadkill River Press.

The prize was sponsored by Delaware’s Dogfish Head Brewery, a maker of exceptional craft beers (especially fine is the 90 Minute IPA and Burton Baton which I receive as part of my prize). Brewery owner Sam Calagione is a former student of the writing program at Columbia University in New York and with Jamie Brown of Broadkill River Press, continues to support poets through this contest. The contest was open to any poet from the Mid-Atlantic states (DE, MD, VA, PA, NJ, NY and NC).

A reception for the book was held December 8 at Dogfish Head’s flagship brewpub in Rehoboth 90-minute-ipaBeach, but winter weather prevented me from attending. I hear the food was very good.

I’ll be doing several readings throughout the year at places like Musehouse, Doylestown Bookshop and Big Blue Marble Bookstore. You can buy a copy from me at these events. I will be adding more readings and workshops soon I hope (go here for the latest).

You can order the book here

Praise for Necessary Myths

Grant Clauser knows where the bodies are buried (or not buried).  At times startling and unflinching, his poetry confronts the worst in us and along the way discovers language freshly marked by compassion.  “Twitter loves a failure,” he writes with characteristic directness and wit.  He finds sources of renewal in images of streams, rivers, and the “gossiping” of springs—and speaks up boldly, memorably, and disarmingly for the guilty and the innocent alike.

—Lee Upton, author of Swallowing the Sea: On Writing & Ambition, Boredom, Purity & Secrecy

In “Necessary Myths” Grant Clauser focuses on little things that together gather energy to create a strong sense of place and drama.  In his short poem, “Yin Garden,” this:  “And somewhere out in the yard/the dandelions wound their tails/around their neighbors’ throats/killing off the wild sage/then launching their feathery/seeds into the wind.”  This is what we experience in poem after poem, this energy, this changing, this launching.  It is a well-wrought collection, and I am pleased to recommend it.

—Harry Humes, author of Butterfly Effect and Underground Singing

In these clear-eyed, deeply considered poems, Clauser engages the world in its entirety—from an outdoorsman’s encounters with the wild, to the daily media onslaught of terrible human news, to a father and husband’s tenderness and toughness—and offers us moment after moment of illuminated life.

—Hayden Saunier, author of Tips for Domestic Travel and Say Luck

Also check out my first book, The Trouble with Rivers.

Sick House at Heron Tree

I have a new (actually it’s kind of an old) poem published at Heron Tree. It’s nothing about herons or trees. The idea came from a story I heard about a family in Charleston during a yellow fever outbreak.  Don’t get too hung up on the facts.

You can read the poem here. Many thanks to the folks at Heron Tree for selecting it.

And here’s a heron photo, shot at Nockamixon State Park in Bucks County PA.

Heron at Nock cropped

Poems by Siegell, Saunier and Roarty from Rodger’s Place

Yesterday we had one of the most perfect weather days for the month of October–cool enough to feel like fall, but warm enough to feel comfortable spending the day outside. And how did I spend that day? By participating in one of Rodger Lowenthal’s poetry and music parties. These parties, held in Rodger’s Wyncote, PA backyard, aim to bring poets and musicians together for an afternoon of performances. The atmosphere was unpretentious and engaging for all. At this most recent one I joined poets Paul Siegell, Hayden Saunier and Joe Roarty along with several jazz and rock musicians to entertain a very welcoming crowd seated in lawn chairs.

Rodger’s backyard is framed by a tight barrier of tall trees (they would occasionally release a display of yellow and orange leaves on our heads), which helped amplify the sound resulting in pretty impressive acoustics (particularly for Joe Roarty’s barbaric yawp).

First, I want to thank Rodger for the invitation and for welcoming all of us to his home. He’s planning another one in May, so plan to be there.

Here are some videos I recorded at the party. All are wonderful poets, so I encourage you to look for more of their work.

Poetry House Concert This Weekend

Poetry and Music in Wyncote: October 21st, 1:30 pm

Rodger Lowenthal is Having a House Party!

Poets HAYDEN SAUNIER, GRANT CLAUSER, PAUL SIEGELL and JOE ROARTY… with special, musical guests playing blues, Irish, rockabilly, bluegrass.

Small desserts appreciated. $15 donation (all proceeds to poets + musicians)
HAYDEN SAUNIER is the author of the poetry collection Tips for Domestic Travel, published in 2009 by Black Lawrence Press. Her work has appeared widely and her most recent awards include the 2011 Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry from Nimrod International Journal and the 2011 Rattle Poetry Prize. Her acting credits include The Sixth Sense, Philadelphia Diary, Hack, the voice of a broken-down stove for Ikea, and dozens of roles in the theatre. Raised in Charlottesville, Virginia, she now lives outside Philadelphia. (http://howapoemhappens.blogspot.com/2012/08/hayden-saunier.html)

GRANT CLAUSER is the author of the book, The Trouble with Rivers ( Foothills Publishing, 2012). He earned an MFA in poetry from Bowling Green State University where he was a Richard Devine Fellow. In 2010 he was selected as the Montgomery County Pennsylvania Poet Laureate by Robert Bly. He started the Montco Wordshop in Lansdale and he has conducted workshops for the Musehouse Writing Center and Philadelphia Writers Conference. His favorite dry fly is the Parachute Adams. (http://www.uniambic.com/)

JOE ROARTY has been shiprekkd on the shores of the susquehanna and has made his way 2 Philly. He is a performance artist who has performed his work across the United States.(http://www.foxchasereview.org/10SU/JoeRoarty.html)

PAUL SIEGELL is the author of three books of poetry: wild life rifle fire (Otoliths Books, 2010), jambandbootleg (A-Head Publishing, 2009) and Poemergency Room (Otoliths Books, 2008). Paul is a senior editor at Painted Bride Quarterly. Kindly find more of Paul’s work – and concrete poetry t-shirts – at “ReVeLeR @ eYeLeVeL” (http://paulsiegell.blogspot.com/).

 213 MAPLE AVE, WYNCOTE, PA 19095

DONATION $15.00. (All proceeds to poets & musicians)

Small desserts appreciated.

TO RESERVE YOUR SEAT REPLY TO

rodlow31@yahoo.com – 215-885- 5557

New Review of The Trouble with Rivers

My book The Trouble with Rivers was recently reviewed at Almost Uptown.

Here the reviewer calls the collection  “unpretentious, lyrically beautiful, and surprisingly deep. Clauser’s sparse, densely- packed words frame his images and experiences with a zen-like quality that allows them to expand before the reader like, well, like a river… Clauser’s writing is unabashed in its harsh sentimentality, merging bitterness with love, death with renewal, and hope from the darkness- all without ever losing his simple, melodic tone…”
Read the whole review here.

New Book Review

Hey look, Philadelphia Stories and Courtney Bambrick posted a new review of my book The Trouble with Rivers. Read it here.

In it Brambrick compares my writing to Claudia Emerson, so I guess I’m going to have to look up her work. She says some other nice things, so be kind and read it. Also see the review of my friend Liz Chang’s new book What Ordinary Objects here. I plan to post my own review of that book as soon as I get some of my other deadline work behind me. Also, my tomatoes are ready to be picked.