Hey kids! Look! It’s another installation of Guthmantics! Oh-la-la! Today’s very, very special guest is poet, editor and publisher, Reb Livingston, author of Your Ten Favorite Words (Coconut Books, forthcoming), Pterodactyls Soar Again (Whole Coconut Chapbook Series, 2006) and co-author of Wanton Textiles (No Tell Books, 2006), her work appears in literary magazines and has been nominated for two Pushcart prizes. “That’s Not Butter” appears in The Best American Poetry 2006 (Scribner). She writes an occasional poetry column called “Crucial Rooster” at The Happy Booker. She and Molly Arden edit No Tell Motel, an online poetry journal devoted to meaningful and discreet poetic encounters, and the annual print anthology The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel. And, Reb is the editor and publisher of No Tell Books and, and, and co-curator of The Burlesque Poetry Hour, a monthly poetry reading series in Washington, D.C.
Diving right in…
Guth: Tell us what you write, what you have written and how you do it? (You guys know I like to ask that because I have such funky and specific writing rituals, myself.)
Reb: Primarily I write poetry. Also I blog and write the occasional goofy poetry column. Two chapbooks came out in 2006, Pterodactyls Soar Again and Wanton Textiles. My first “full-length” collection, Your Ten Favorite Words, will be published this fall from Coconut Books. That book stems from my psychic ability to discern a person’s favorite word and use it in a poem.
How does she do it? I’m a little wary of the possible implications of such a question, not that I’m assigning any dubious intentions on your part. Lately I’ve come across a number of media profiles of supposed “super-moms” and these portrayals tend to be quite disingenuous. Unfair to their subject (from all the disdain generated from the airbrushed presentation) and cruel to the readers (who are working their asses off, yet are made to feel like unambitious losers). But here’s my chance to break that vicious cycle. I am the married mother of *one* toddler. My husband is frequently away on travel, but when he’s home he’s very involved and doesn’t expect a statue every time he changes a diaper. He lets me sleep in on the weekends. That alone gives me a better advantage than most. Also I have part-time daycare (two days a week). Yet still, I am completely overwhelmed combining my parent/family responsibilities with my writing and editing my magazine and running my poetry micropress.
So how do I do it? I stay up until 2 or 3 a.m. most nights, have a sloppy house and am forever behind on laundry. I don’t prepare elaborate meals, in fact, I rarely cook. When my husband comes home I say “we’re going out for dinner God damn it” and off we go. I write poetry late at night. I read submissions, put together galleys, edit manuscripts, blog and work on other projects during my son’s nap in the afternoon and in the evening after he goes to bed. When the unexpected happens, the wrench in the schedule — everything gets backed up, a real mess.
Usually I don’t get around to taking a shower until 4 or 5 p.m. This is embarrassing when people show up to the door unannounced.
AG: What grand things are next for you? What would you, we’re talking dream gigs and adventures here, love to be next for you?
RL: I have two readings at the end of May, one in Chicago, the other in NYC — and then I’m off the reading circuit for the summer and will resume with a vengeance in the fall to promote Your Ten Favorite Words. I’ll be all over the country hypnotizing people to buy my book.
This summer I’ll be spending my time working on five new No Tell Books titles. The first to come out will be The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel – Second Floor, the follow up anthology to last year’s Bedside Guide. The four other titles are single author collections scheduled to be out this fall: Shy Green Fields by Hugh Behm-Steinberg, Harlot by Jill Alexander Essbaum, Blue & Red Roses: Personations by Karl Parker and The Myth of the Simple Machines by Laurel Snyder.
I’d love to finish my next book this year too — it’s a grimoire inspired manuscript currently titled God Damsel. I’d like to be able to design the entire book myself — inside and cover — which would require a little design schooling on my part, I’m looking into courses now.
AG: What Smiths or Morrissey song or lyric sums it up for you right now?
RL: “Hairdresser on Fire” would be the obvious choice, but today I’m feeling much more “I Have Forgiven Jesus.”
Guth again: Thanks for swinging by, Reb, my dear. I adore you and all you do! Anyway, folks, you know the drill by now, right? After you’ve read all of her work, add what you can to your LibraryThing and Shelfari collections. Go on, go on. Then, be a mensch and buy a copy or two or ten for your friends and lovers and BFFs and the next time you hear the fabulous Reb Livingston is reading near you, go show some love.
Want to be a featured author/writer type for Guthmantics? Well, just send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll tell you everything you need to know.