Introducing Scott Thomas Outlar “Happy Hour Hallelujah”

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My new book “Happy Hour Hallelujah” is available now through CTU Publishing. Cheers and thank you to Raja Williams for all her efforts in bringing this project to fruition…

Creative Talents Unleashed

Happy Hour Hallelujah front cover draft

Preface . . .

Ultimately, Happy Hour Hallelujah is a proclamation and celebration of life even while staring the suffering of existence squarely in the eyes. It is an affirmation of the Great Yes that art defiantly screams in the face of entropy’s existential core. It is a truth that seeks to puncture through deception. It is a fire that yearns to rise from out the ashes. It is the next step forward when all momentum seems to be at a standstill. It is a light piercing through the darkness. It is nothing more and nothing less than the expression of one man’s vision toward the future….

Now Available At: www.ctupublishinggroup.com/scott-thomas-outlar-.html

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Interview with Nibstears

Nibstears (1st place)

This is an interview I did with the Nigerian journal Nibstears earlier this year after winning a poetry contest they hosted on the theme of societal illness. Happy Hour Hallelujah, a book which was mentioned during the interview as being in the works, has now been released through CTU Publishing. Copies can be ordered here at this author’s page.


Nibstears: Good day sir, nice to have you as our poet of the week. May we know you more than this sir?
 
Scott Thomas Outlar: Thank you for selecting my work in the recent contest. It is an honor to be associated with NIBSTEARS. Such awards are always humbling, and it is certainly a nice feeling whenever one’s work is recognized in such a way.
 
Well, who am I? Such a question could conceivably lead me off on any number of tangents, so I guess I’ll just start putting ink to paper and see where things go from there. In one sense, I am a simple man living a simple life. Most of my time, energy, and effort is focused on my work…trying to get my words out into the world so that they might be seen by as many sets of eyes as possible.
 
I began writing a short while after graduating from high school, and I then spent the next thirteen years or so developing and honing my craft until the style had reached the point where I felt comfortable with the idea of submitting it to various journals, magazines, literature blogs, and zines. I was fortunate that my poetry quickly found a home at the social justice newsletter Dissident Voice. I developed a good relationship with the editor Angie Tibbs, and I’ve now been a weekly contributor to the Sunday Poetry Page at the site since the Summer of 2014. Being accepted in this venue gave me the initial boost of confidence to seek out other publications with a burning fiery fervor.
 
At this point, more than 800 of my poems have appeared in over 180 different print and/or online publications. It has been a fast paced first year and a half in my journey, highlighted by all the great connections I’ve been fortunate enough to make with other writers and editors. There is great talent in the field of contemporary poetry across the world, and reading the work of other wordsmiths helps keep me inspired and passionate about continuing to lace pages with my pen.
 
In December of 2015 my second chapbook “Songs of a Dissident” was released through Transcendent Zero Press. The poems included in this collection touch on subjects including politics, philosophy, and society. I tried to hit on some of the notes which concern me about modern American culture, such as the heavy-handed nature of the Federal Government both domestically and abroad. Generally speaking, the work is an unapologetic prophecy of the imperialistic empire’s inevitable demise. The people of the world are waking up to the treacherous intentions of the globalist agenda and the henchmen who serve such a system’s unholy pursuits. The book is currently being sold on Amazon.
 
In January of 2016 I signed a contract with CTU Publishing for a full-length poetry collection titled “Happy Hour Hallelujah” which will be out later this year. I’m currently in the process of cleaning up the final edits on the manuscript, and then all that will remain is securing a cover image that captures the overall energy of the work.
 
I spend a fair amount of time working on my own website 17Numa.wordpress.com where links to all my published poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, and reviews can be found. The site also features resource pages that I’ve set up as my small way of giving back to the indie/small press community that has treated me so well since I emerged on the scene. There is one page that has links to the personal websites, blogs, and archives of other writers and artists whom I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with. Another page features links to over 230 literary venues for anyone who might be seeking new journals to read and/or publications where they can submit their work.
 
At the beginning of this year I began helping out as an editor at two online poetry sites, Walking Is Still Honest Press and The Peregrine Muse. W.I.S.H. is a publication that is affiliated with The Southern Collective Experience – a group of writers, artists, journalists, radio personalities, photographers, musicians, and business-minded forward-thinkers who support one another while working cohesively to pierce through the saturated contemporary market with a clear, distinct, dynamic vision of the future. The SCE has many exciting projects lined up in the months ahead that we will be happily revealing as time moves along.
 
Apart from my writing, I enjoy my daily walk to a local park, reading, researching health-related topics, studying nutrition, following the madness of modern-day political theater, watching an occasional sporting event on television, and oscillating between imbibing good wine for long periods of time and then entering into stages of balanced sobriety. Life is both a feast and a fast, and I make it a point to enjoy both extremes to their fullest.
 
Nibstears : Sir, from which state are you, and what is your place of birth?
 
STO: I was born in the suburbs just outside the city of Atlanta, Georgia (U.S.A.) in the year 1980.
 
Nibstears: As a poet, how do you see poetry in today’s world?
 
STO: There is a poetic Renaissance in the process of flowering in this day and age. In one sense, there has always been a confined niche audience for the art steeped in academia, but such university circles and cliques, from the outside looking in, seem to be a bit stuffy, haughty, and non-inclusive with the type of elitist environment which they foster. I won’t be too tough in my attack because academia doesn’t necessarily concern me overly much. Let them do what they will. I’ve always tended to go about life as an outsider to all institutions, and so the path that naturally excited me was that of independent publishing. There is seemingly no end to the number of small presses (both online and in print) that cater to the field of poetry. I intuitively sense that this burgeoning growth of presses will continue to draw in new writers and readers alike. The connectivity of the internet has enabled poets from India to Africa to Asia to America to Europe to the Middle East to easily find common ground with their contemporaries around the world. It is truly a beautiful concept to be able to read from such a diverse and eclectic group just by clicking a few buttons on the computer. Every day there are new journals starting up and inviting submissions. It is an organic process born from the inspired love and devotion for the written word that so many individuals are helping to spread.
 
 
Nibstears: So how does poetry perform in the area where you come from?
 
STO: This question excites me greatly because it’s one which I plan on very soon seeking out the answer to. Part of the next stage in my journey involves venturing forth into the city and reading at various events. Many of the connections I’ve made in the publishing process so far have come via the internet, so it will be nice to start meeting fellow poets face to face.
 
Nibstears: There is a very low profit for poetry. What do you suggest causes it?
 
STO: There are many possible causes concerning why poetry doesn’t seem to pay much for the vast majority of writers. One reason is the flipside of what I mentioned earlier. Because there is so much free poetry available online, the market has become oversaturated. For all the great benefits that come with having so much poetry available to read, it must also be noted that this leads to an overflow of substandard verse floating around. Vanity publishing and print-on-demand sites have made it possible for just about anyone to release a book.
 
Poetry, in one sense, is about having a personal outlet of expression, and so I would always encourage anyone who wants to share their thoughts, opinions, and beliefs to do so. But it must be admitted that having so many options does in some ways bring down the demand and value for poetry from a strictly monetary perspective. There is also a nasty but prevalent idea among many people that poets are meant to bleed their hearts and souls while playing the role of “starving artist” in society. This is a horrible sentiment that needs to be shattered posthaste. Artists are generally left-brained in their thinking, and so the business aspect of crunching numbers doesn’t always get calculated into the overall equation.
 
Nibstears: Okay, now understanding the cause, can you suggest for us the solution?
 
STO: Well, firstly, we must face the harsh reality that for the majority of poets there will more than likely never be a huge financial gain received from the emotions that they pour forth upon the page. The process itself, in such cases, should be considered its own reward. I believe that for many poets who consider writing to be a hobby, having their words read by other people is enough. These poets are not necessarily driven by profit. With that being said, for the poets who are seeking a steady career, there is hope. To earn a solid living from poetry is possible for those who have the determination (and talent). It takes an indomitable inner drive to rise up through the ocean of so many contemporary writers and reach the surface where one’s work will be noticed and ultimately purchased.
 
The truth of the matter is that nothing in this world comes freely, and so very rarely is any poet going to be given a free ride to the top. There are exceptions to the rule of course; luck, politics, and nepotism being among them. But in most cases it takes a certain amount of business savvy coupled with artistic merit to garner recognition from a large enough audience to reach a state of financial success. Fortunately, social media platforms provide a good launching pad in the process of marketing and advertising. Self-promotion is considered tacky and unbecoming by many artists, which is a perfectly fine opinion for them to have. Chances are, however, that such artists will never be recognized. It does take a certain amount of courage and bravado to willingly take the plunge and begin promoting one’s own work publically. There is a way to do so tastefully and with grace. Someone has to spread the word, and struggling poets aren’t usually in a position where they can hire an agency or publicist to do the job, so it falls on their own shoulders to carry the cross.
 
My suggestion, quite simply, is to network. Read as much as possible. Reach out to those writers and editors whom you admire. Make connections within as many poetry communities as possible. Support those whose work you believe in. The laws of reciprocity will help you in return. Loyalty goes a long way in this world that is currently under siege by cowards, criminals, lairs, and thieves. Honor stands out amongst a crowd of swine.
 
If you want to be successful, you have to make a commitment to stay in the game for the long haul. No process in life brings immediate rewards. There are tests and trials that arise on every path. Be thankful for the challenges that you face. Persistence, patience, and proper perspective do pay off in the end. Success breeds success…it is a natural law of attraction. It has been said before that if you knock upon the door, it shall be opened unto you. But the next part of the equation is just as vital. Once the door opens, you must run through it without hesitation to the other side. Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities that present themselves, and when they do, seize them in the palm of your hand and squeeze tightly. The process is not an easy road to hoe by any stretch of the imagination. But nothing that is truly worthwhile in life comes easily. The overall effort is humbling at times when the ego gets smashed and stomped upon. But when you fall, get right back up. If you can create a state of mindfulness that helps you to enjoy each step along the path, then the work will never seem like a job, but will feel like a natural, organic unfolding of your highest potential coming into fruition. The bottom line/bottom dollar analysis is that if you want to achieve something in life (in this case, financial rewards), then you have to be smart, crafty, flexible, open-minded, courageous, and willing to take on any and all obstacles that appear before you.
 
Simple enough, right? You bet! Honestly, I’m still in the process of testing all of these theories which I’ve espoused. I’ll report back after further data has been collected.

Combat the State: Interview with Scott Thomas Outlar

Thank you to Dustin Pickering for the thought-provoking questions in this new interview I took part in recently…

thedailypoetsite

In your interviews, I notice an optimism concerning the future of art. What does that optimism stem from?

 

My state of optimism arises from the need I sense for there to be a counterbalance of energy to combat the negativity and nihilism that so many disillusioned people project in this modern culture. There is no doubt that society is currently weighed down by the regressive, oppressive, fascistic institutions that have been gradually gaining more and more undo power and control over the past several decades. When citizens begin to feel that freewill and personal decisions are no longer available due to the centralized structures of the Beast System continually eroding sovereignty and liberty, they lose touch with the most important aspect of what it means to be a human being blessed with consciousness and self-awareness. Which is to say, they lose their individuality and are swallowed by the mechanical…

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New Speak ~ Sowing Season – Author Scott Thomas Outlar

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Thank you to Raja Williams and CTU Publishing for everything…

Creative Talents Unleashed

Some people

try to kill two birds

with one stone

but I’m far more interested

in planting two seeds

at the same time

© Scott Thomas Outlar

Happy Hour Hallelujah front cover draft

Excerpt from the book

“Happy Hour Hallelujah”


Seated (Visions of Verse)About the Author

Scott Thomas Outlar resides in the suburbs outside of Atlanta, Georgia where he spends the hours flowing and fluxing with the ever-changing currents of the Tao River while laughing at and/or weeping over life’s existential nature. He hosts the site 17Numa.wordpress.com where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, and interviews can be found. His poem “Poetic Points” was nominated for Best of the Net by The Mind[less] Muse in 2015. Since beginning to submit his work in 2014, he has had more than 800 poems appear in over 200 print and/or online venues, both in the United States and internationally. He has been a weekly contributor to the Sunday Poetry Page of…

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New Books on the Way!

361 Nacional - 5 poems translated by Irsa Rucci

The past two years have been an amazing journey since I began publishing my work, but I believe that the greatest honor I’ve received so far came recently when five of my poems were translated for the Albanian newspaper, Nacional. I owe a thousand thank yous to the talented, lovely, beautiful poet, Irsa Ruci. My poetry cannot help but be infinitely improved when placed in her capable hands.


Clifford Brooks III, D L Yancey II, and I performed at Dogwood Terrace Restaurant in Acworth, Georgia earlier in July at an event hosted by Reinhardt University’s MFA Program. Our performances representing The Southern Collective Experience were filmed by Casanova Green, and the full video can be viewed here on his Periscope channel.
 
Happy Hour Hallelujah front cover draft
Raja Williams at CTU Publishing designed a sleek new author’s page for Happy Hour Hallelujah last week. Please swing by the site and check out the generous blurbs which several contemporary authors wrote about my work. Of course, I’ll have plenty more to say about the book when it is released in August.
 
Chaos Songs Front CoverMy other forthcoming book, Chaos Songs from Weasel Press, has officially been set for a September 1st release date. One day before my birthday. That’s about as cool a gift as I could possibly conceive of. Pre-orders are now available here.
 
I’ll be posting a full July recap at some point during the next week, but I just wanted to highlight a few of the amazing things that have been going on lately. There is no sense in slowing down at this point. The schedule for the months ahead is looking good, and I have a number of new announcements to start rolling out soon. Thank you to everyone who reads and supports my work. Your encouragement is warmly received and greatly appreciated.
 
Selah,
Scott Thomas Outlar
 
P.S.
 
I also launched a new 17Numa Facebook page where I’ve been promoting other writers and artists whose work I dig. Please give it a like to get in the loop concerning book announcements, publication links, submission calls, upcoming events, and all sorts of other fun news.

Showcase Spotlight #2: Kiriti Sengupta

The Earthen Flute Front

The Earthen Flute
Hawakaal Publishers
February, 2016
60 pages; $6.00
ISBN-13: 978-9385783586
 
Reviewed by Scott Thomas Outlar
 
Established poet Kiriti Sengupta of Calcutta, India has teamed up with illustrator Tamojit Bhattacharya to compile a collection of short poems that, as the title indicates, focus primarily on the flesh and bone phenomenon of this earthly plane. The opening piece, “Keep An Eye,” references the spiritual nature of the third eye, or what some have called the seat of the soul, but then quickly establishes the point that sculptors are not as concerned with this aspect of metaphysical consciousness as they are, instead, on experimenting with the two eyes of the actual human face. And so we know from early on that we will be taken on a journey that is influenced by those concerns which are all-too-human. This is made even more clear in the poem “Womb.” Here, the female body is compared with the earth itself. An archetype that has, of course, been expressed through countless millennia by various civilizations across the planet. Such a mythos continues to ring true. There is no escaping the fundamental fact that all of us, ultimately, come from and return to the dust and dirt of terra firma.
 
What I found to be the most powerful poem, “Experience Personified,” is a simple, serene meditation on the morning dew and the sensation it makes on one’s bare feet when walking through the grass. Sengupta sums up the event:
 
I don’t call it a feeling,
I would rather name it
my experience.
 
I am reminded of the birds in Aldous Huxley’s book The Island that parrot the refrain: “Here and now, boys, here and now.” This poem brings me back to the present moment with a reminder that each experience throughout the day is a reflection of eternity.
 
In “A Different Ballgame” Sengupta considers a problem that certain poets have encountered when realizing that their work has failed to garner attention by catching hold with reviewers. He offers two possible paths (one slightly more sarcastic than the other) that the poet can take at this stage of the process:
 
Redoing all your old stuff;
replacing the words
with synonyms found on Google,
or in Oxford Advanced Learners, and then submit
Them to the journals
where the editors boast about their high standards
Or
leave your old stuff as it is,
and think about the classic poets,
the masters,
who were explored
as they set out for their heavenly abode
 
 
The Earthen Flute contains a number of anecdotes pertaining to the basic routines of everyday life. In “Time And Tide” Sengupta writes about a breakfast ordered after a heavy night of drinking with friends. The cheese omelet has not been prepared correctly. When it is inquired whether the cook is new we come to discover that she is a family member of the establishment’s owner who has gone through a terrible tragedy earlier in her life. The lesson this reader came away with: Let us not be aggravated by simple annoyances in life, but always remember to have compassion for those we serve as well as those who serve us.
 
References to both elemental and earthy ideas such as the sun, moon, lakes, ponds, birds, flowers, and the like are scattered throughout the pages, but in the final poem, “Struggle for Silence,” the philosophical tenets of existentialism and eternal quietude are considered as we leave this bag of bones behind and seek harmony with the Creator. It all boils down, in the end, no matter what type of fun and games we’ve played here on earth, no matter how much suffering and sorrow we’ve experienced in this physical body, to the simple fact that entropy of the mortal coil eventually comes calling. The only question that truly matters is whether or not absolution is realized before that final bell tolls.

Coming soon…

Reflections on Salvation - Transcendent Zero Press - Press Release
A historical moment in literature! A new sub-genre has emerged combining poetry, philosophy, and anecdote. Kiriti Sengupta, bestselling author & poet based in Calcutta, India and translator of Bengali literature, is finalizing his Reflections on Salvation. This work promises to be startlingly unique, fresh, and enlightening!
 
Sengupta’s collection, termed “Flash Wisdom,” is slated for release this week. We hope to spark interest in this project as few poets of this type are represented in the American publishing industry, and this peculiar collection of less than 50 pages invents a sub-genre of poetry, combining humorous anecdote with wise musings using a terse prose style.
 
Dr. Mary Madec, award-winning poet of Ireland, instructor of those with intellectual handicaps, and recipient of a doctorate in linguistics, invented the term “Flash Wisdom” to categorize Sengupta’s promising new style — as in a similar vein, Hedwig Gorski invented the term “performance poet” during the 2000’s to describe what later became “slam.” — Dustin Pickering (Founder of Transcendent Zero Press and Editor-in-Chief of Harbinger Asylum)

Showcase Spotlight #1: Emily Ramser

Emily Ramser Bio Photo

Emily Ramser Bio Photo

Welcome to the first ever Showcase Spotlight here at 17Numa! I’ve been planning to launch this feature for almost a year now, so it’s about time I finally put the pedal to the metal and got things rolling. I have plenty of big ideas for the weeks and months ahead, but as for right now, I couldn’t imagine starting off with a better guest. I first had the pleasure of meeting Emily Ramser last year while she was working as an editor at Visceral Uterus. We began talking after she published a recently accepted poem of mine there. The formatting at the site required her to completely type up my poem from scratch before posting it, so I knew straightaway that this was someone who truly cared about poetry and was willing to give her time, energy, and passion to the small press world. Ramser is set to release her fourth collection of poetry soon through Weasel Press, and so I thought it would be a good time to reach out and ask her a few questions about the forthcoming chapbook… 

Scott Thomas Outlar: Firstly, I’d like to say thank you, Emily, for taking the time to do this interview. Let’s dive right in! I’m sure you must be excited about your forthcoming poetry book from Weasel Press. Could you tell us a little about the collection and how it came about?

Emily Ramser: So to answer your question the book is titled UHaul: A Collection of Lesbian Love Poems. It is, as the title says, a collection of love poems. However, it’s also more than that. In a way, it’s a coming out story. It is me coming out to the world, saying as a woman, I love women. It’s me saying that I am proud to love women and not afraid to say it. It’s funny because my mom told me the other day, that I shouldn’t keep writing poems or books about women, but really this book isn’t about any one particular woman, though a lot of the poems were inspired by a certain person. It is about me. It’s about my relationship with women and my own kind of literary coming out as queer. 

I actually started writing the poems in this book last summer when I made a Tinder account in order to meet women. On there, I met a nineteen-year-old who told me that when she was sixteen she had given herself a small stick and poke tattoo of the word queer on her abdomen. This encounter provided the inspiration for the opening poem of the chapbook “Queer.” 

I eventually met a lovely woman on Tinder named Meagan who I began dating. When I was first talking to her, I wrote her poems in an attempt at classical wooing, which is where a few of the poems such as “Let Me Write For You” came from. I continued writing throughout the year poems inspired by my relationship with her. 

Uhaul - A Collection of Lesbian Love Poems - Emily Ramser - Weasel Press

Outlar: Sounds as if it’s safe to assume that your wooing worked. Good to know that courting and romance are still in style. The power of the written word wins again! Do you feel that this, your fourth collection of poetry, is a continuation of your earlier books, or have you taken the content to another level with the “coming out story?” Has the process of writing such thoughts down for the world to read helped you feel more liberated?

Ramser: This book is a quite different from my other books in my opinion. Toast is Just Bread That Put Up a Fight is the closest to it, but that chapbook is not quite a coming out story like this one is. Toast is more of a fighting against and never standing down kind of story. That said, it wasn’t quite as put together with a purpose as UHaul. I specifically chose the works in UHaul with a purpose. 

UHaul came about in a time when I was a lot more confident in both my sexuality and my general person. I knew more who I was by the time I started writing the poems in this book. The process of writing these books, though, made me feel even more confident in myself and my writing. 

I’d be lying though if I didn’t say I was nervous about publishing this book. It’s a coming out story in many ways, but my coming out publicly could come back to bite me. You can be fired in 28 states for being gay or transgender. So, this book says I’m gay and proud, but it gives employers a reason to not hire me or to fire me. 

As nervous as I am with publishing it, I won’t back down from publishing it. Heterosexual love poetry has been published for ages upon ages. I think it’s time to show that homosexual love poetry is just as valid as heterosexual love poetry. It’s okay to be gay, and it’s okay to write about being gay. 

I sent my girlfriend a copy of Elizabeth Barret Browning’s Sonnets From the Portuguese for Valentine’s day, but it didn’t feel quite right. It had male pronouns. It removed my female partner from the equation, as it focused on male qualities. 

So, I started writing my own love poems for women because there weren’t love poems for me to send these women I was interested in. There weren’t poems about women for women. There are plenty of poems that are for men by women or for women by men, but there are so few gay love poems in comparison. 

I wanted to tell my partner I loved her and there were no poems that did so, so I wrote my own. 

Outlar: Sometimes in life when there is not a path laid out clearly before us, we must act as trailblazers and create a new one. That’s the sense I get from your efforts with this collection. What type of reaction has the work garnered so far from those who have had a chance to read it? Are you happy with the feedback? On that note, being an editor yourself, how do you react to critiques of your own work, and what do you feel the appropriate role of an editor should be?

Ramser: I like that turn of phrase. I agree. That’s certainly something that I’ve thought some during my work on this chapbook. 

I’ve only gotten one real response so far and that is from Matthew David Campbell. I’ve included it below: 

The poems in Emily Ramser’s Uhaul are irrevocably human while living in the intimacies of new love. Uhaul is a book of devotional poems that is forthright in its convictions, whether those convictions are romantic, carnal, or obsessive. Ramser comes out in declaration in the title poem “Queer,” as she “almost gagged on my own tongue” in an almost denial of her own “queerness” to her lover, only then to dive right into acceptance of self and love as the “writing” of “all these poems about caressing your hipbones and cheekbones” begins with a “hickie in the shape of a heart is left on my breast” by her muse: as the searing burn of love melts any remaining doubts as to where this is going. From here the poet feeds her lover, “decorating her mouth with chocolate crumbs” as a way of understanding love and carnal joys, or in the poem “I give you my body for your own” Ramser dismantles her physical self in offerings to her muse. Love in the book takes shape as poems take shape: always differing in form, but ever aspiring towards art. Uhaul is an earthy book that dwells in Eros with grace through tension, doubt, faith, and utter charm.

—@Matthew David Campbell, Author of 
Harmonious Anarchy, and The House of Eros

Matthew’s feedback almost made me cry because I was so surprised that someone liked my work that much. This project has been intensely personal, so good feedback is a godsend. A few of my friends have read the individual poems, as I was working on them, but overall, I’ve kept this collection pretty close to my chest. It’s a little scary to let it out into the world. 

As to my being an editor, my editorself honestly helps me to better accept critique. I understand the purpose and need of it. I want to know what will make my poetry better and, as the assistant editor of an indie press, what will sell more books. That said, my editorself steps back in this situation. I am not an editor here, I am a writer. Weasel is my editor with this. He’s the one I trust to look over and suggest edits and the like. Overall, editors in these situations are meant to assist writers with publishing the best work for themselves and the press. 

Outlar: That’s one hell of a good review from Campbell. I can see why it put a smile on your face. That’s great that you have that type of trust in Weasel Patterson where you can rely on his advice to steer you in the right direction if necessary. That type of writer/editor relationship is certainly a nice ace to be holding in your hand. How do you manage your time between your editorial duties, writing your own work, going to school, teaching, hosting readings, etc.? I’m exhausted just thinking about all the hats you wear. Do you have a specific time of day set aside for writing, or is it more of an anytime inspiration hits sort of thing?  

Ramser: Oh god, time management is my worst enemy. Keeping all the hats on usually means wearing multiple hats at the same time and multitasking. It’s a never ending cycle. There are some days where I might get only three or four hours sleep because I stayed up until 4am writing an article after a day of internship and homework. So far, I’ve been able to make it work, but I’m curious to see how my schedule and duties will change following my graduation in December. I also am starting a graduate program in the summer (hopefully), so it will be an adjustment when it comes to relearning how to keep all my hats on my head. 

As for writing for myself, I try to set aside time during the day to write, but it doesn’t always happen on schedule. It tends to happen sporadically and often at night. 

My partner, Meagan, always laughs because I tend to get up randomly at night, usually when I’m half asleep, and start writing. She works nights and there have been a couple times when she’s come home at 6am and I’m sitting on the bed, typing away, never having realized that the night has flown by. I also tend to carry a journal around with me to write down ideas and pieces, but I’ve been known to use receipts (I have an entire chapbook of blackout poems done on receipts actually). I also use a note app on my phone to write down ideas or poems. When the inspiration happens, it happens. 

I remember this one time where I was talking to her outside while she was smoking and I got struck with an idea after fiddling with a piece of grass that had been growing through a crack in the concrete. I pulled out my phone and started writing on the app while she was still talking, by the time she’d finished her cigarette, I’d written an entire poem. I put my phone in my pocket, and she looked at me and asked, “Did you just write a poem?” to which I nodded and she laughed. Luckily for me, she takes my moments of inspiration in stride and loves me all the more for them.

When I’m working, my schedule changes a little though. I try to write when my students are writing and do the exercises they are doing. It serves a dual purpose, it makes me write and works as an example for my students. Obviously, these writing moments aren’t always the most ideal, as I still have to supervise and sometimes as such don’t get to write as much. However it helps to get this kind of built in time. 

All of that said, all the work and balancing acts are so worth it. It keeps my mind and hands occupied. I can’t ever seem to sit still normally, so always having work to do works for me as a person. I enjoy working. It’s what drives me. Writing is my life. I couldn’t be me without having a list of things to write or five billion projects to work on. 

Outlar: I just had several memories of writing poems on napkins or in notebooks while speeding down the highway flash through my mind. Would that be considered a worse offense than texting and driving? Well, hell, when inspiration hits, it must be seized! As the release date for Uhaul  moves ever-closer, what are your hopes for the book? Are you planning any sort of launch event where you live? When it comes to promotion, how important do you believe social media is in this day and age? On what platforms can people follow your work?

Ramser: When inspiration hits, it hits. You gotta take advantage of the opportunity when it strikes. 

Oh goodness, my hopes for the book. My biggest hope is that it speaks to people. I want it to mean something to readers. I could give a shit less how many copies it sells as long as it strikes a chord in someone at least once. 

Though some sales would certainly be nice, as it would help support the Press. 

As for launch events, I’m tentatively planning to have one, but nothing for sure yet. I’m getting ready to start social media promotion of the book soon, though, waiting until July to really get it started. I think social media is important, but I also think more traditional routes such as interviews and reviews are as well. I think a mix of them are necessary. Use social media to review books or publicize reviews. Etc. I like that kind of mixture of traditional publicization and social media publicization.

As for my presence on social media, my Instagram is emramser, my twitter is @ChickadeePoems, and my facebook page is Emily Ramser. My blog is also another option:  www.authoremilyramser.wordpress.com. Also email: emily.r.ramser@gmail.com

Outlar: I’m confident your book will do well. I can tell it was written from your truest sense of self, and that, ultimately, is what resonates with readers. Truth is the most powerful force in the end. Thanks again, Emily, for taking the time to do this interview. It’s been a pleasure from my end. Are there any final thoughts you’d care to leave us with, or anything you’d like to add that I might not have brought up?

Ramser: I appreciate your compliment, Scott. Coming from an author like yourself that means a lot. I cannot think of anything else to add other than a thank you to any readers for sticking through my ramblings and a thank you to you, Scott for interviewing me (and respectively also putting up with my rambles). 


Emily Ramser - Queer Photo from Book
Queer
 
I met a girl
with “queer”
tattooed across her abdomen,
and when I drug my fingers across it,
she asked me if I was a lesbian,
and I gagged on my tongue
when I tried to say no
because I’ve been writing all these poems
about caressing your hipbones
and cheekbones,
so instead I asked her
to stick and poke a new tattoo
across my collarbones,
and so she licked me
and bit me,
leaving a hickie
in the shape of your heart
on my breast.