Editors' Notes

Maria Damon and Michelle Greenblatt
Jim Leftwich and Michelle Greenblatt
Sheila E. Murphy and Michelle Greenblatt

A Visual Conversation on Michelle Greenblatt's ASHES AND SEEDS with Stephen Harrison, Monika Mori | MOO, Jonathan Penton and Michelle Greenblatt

Letters for Michelle: with work by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Jeffrey Side, Larry Goodell, mark hartenbach, Charles J. Butler, Alexandria Bryan and Brian Kovich

Visual Poetry by Reed Altemus
Poetry by Glen Armstrong
Poetry by Lana Bella
A Eulogic Poem by John M. Bennett
Elegic Poetry by John M. Bennett
Poetry by Wendy Taylor Carlisle
A Eulogy by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Joel Chace
A Spoken Word Poem and Visual Art by K.R. Copeland
A Eulogy by Alan Fyfe
Poetry by Win Harms
Poetry by Carolyn Hembree
Poetry by Cindy Hochman
A Eulogy by Steffen Horstmann
A Eulogic Poem by Dylan Krieger
An Elegic Poem by Dylan Krieger
Visual Art by Donna Kuhn
Poetry by Louise Landes Levi
Poetry by Jim Lineberger
Poetry by Dennis Mahagin
Poetry by Peter Marra
A Eulogy by Frankie Metro
A Song by Alexis Moon and Jonathan Penton
Poetry by Jay Passer
A Eulogy by Jonathan Penton
Visual Poetry by Anne Elezabeth Pluto and Bryson Dean-Gauthier
Visual Art by Marthe Reed
A Eulogy by Gabriel Ricard
Poetry by Alison Ross
A Short Movie by Bernd Sauermann
Poetry by Christopher Shipman
A Spoken Word Poem by Larissa Shmailo
A Eulogic Poem by Jay Sizemore
Elegic Poetry by Jay Sizemore
Poetry by Felino A. Soriano
Visual Art by Jamie Stoneman
Poetry by Ray Succre
Poetry by Yuriy Tarnawsky
A Song by Marc Vincenz

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An Interview with John Bryan
by Jonathan Penton

Regarding "Love Has Been Liquidated," John Bryan's five-part choose-your-own-adventure A Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, even role-playing prose poem, in which you can play the near-helpless mute in a completely fucked epistolary romance.

Jonathan Penton:  How long have you been writing creatively?

John Bryan:   The impulse has been there since I was ten at least. I used to fill exercise book after exercise book with the most horrendous imaginings: Science fiction stories involving pus in outer space. Post-apocalyptic stories where the mutants wore shoulder pads and fought for fuel and for some reason a diary entry by a character was dated 33rd September. Evil Dead-type scenarios where myself and a bunch of friends from school would be in a holiday house and one by one my friends would become possessed and have to be cut up with chainsaws. All my school crushes invariably suffered this fate in said stories.

JP:  Did you study writing in school?

JB:  I was always keen on writing at school but never studied it more than I had to. I have an uncommon ability to know how to spell most words, even words I've heard only for the first time. Sideshow John. It's the physicality of writing for me which seems to be just as important. When I was 14 I wrote out all the dialogue from Frank Herbert's Dune books, thus deciding that these would be the scripts for the movie versions. Just laboriously writing it all out is just as crucial as what is being written. The energy of writing. Even now, instead of counting sheep, I'll draw on my leg with my finger any matter of things to get to sleep: band discographies, all the characters from my favourite movie series, the ex girlfriend list comprising of when, who, how and where.

JP:  How long have you been writing poetry?

JB:  I've always been envious of poets. Poetry is the physics of language, and I never thought I would be able to scale the heights of her long legs. In January 2001 (yes, it was a new years' resolution) I decided to start writing poetry. For some strange reason, by April 2001 I was getting published. So it's very much since been a case of: if people are willing to read this stuff, then I'll keep writing it. Poetry is an equation from the soul and, you know, all that other white light stuff. This first period of writing / publishing went from 2001 to 2007. And then... one day... I stopped.

JP:  You stopped?

JB:  Yeah. At the beginning of 2007 I spent six weeks in the Tasmanian wilderness living like an animal. I was looking for the thylacine. Didn't find it. And when I came back I didn't write.

JP:  When you send your poems out, how do you choose where to send them?

JB:  When I first started I just grabbed a couple of poetry directories and went from there. After a year or so one becomes pretty familiar with the whole poetry 'scene'. I met kindred spirits and journals that amused me and whom I became a tad loyal to. But during that six years I was a bit of a publishing slut too. Anywhere would do and the more the better. The internet poetry scene is a phenomenon whose ramifications have yet to be unravelled. And it's thriving. From your rock star poets down to your hippie grass eater folk ones, they're all there.

JP:  How many poems have you written? Seen published?

JB:  From 2001 to 2007 I had 400 plus poems published in various journals print and on-line throughout the world. Therefore, that roughly equates to 16 thousand rejection slips. And those toilet walls. But I always use someone else's name for those, and the phone number of someone I don't like.

JP:  What are the Five Fits?

JB:  The five fits were originally going to be five books of my published poetry. Each fit would have a hundred poems in it. But the poems had to have been published. That was the rules. That constituted a final draft. I was up to the fifth fit but then I stopped writing for a few years, basically unhappy with everything I'd written anyways. Five is my favourite number. Five is symbolic for me of four fingers and a thumb holding a pen. These days the five fits refer to the five parts of my prose poem 'Love Has Been Liquidated'.

JP:  So what we've published here is part one of five?

JB:  Yes. This is 'Love Has Been Liquidated I'. Or 'I', as it prefers to be called. Or Mrs. Palmer and her five daughters, as my writing hand lovingly remembers it.

JP:  What is "Love Has Been Liquidated?" Is it a poem? A prose poem? A story? A game?

JB:  It's a vampire that has sucked the life out of me throughout the noughties.

JP:  How does one read "Love Has Been Liquidated?"

JB:  Intuitively. The blueprint is there. One can either read the HTML pages sequentially, if you prefer to ignore the narrator, or through them.

JP:  How closely is a piece like "Love Has Been Liquidated" related to Oulipo?

JB:  Nothing like it because those guys know language better than me. I have to use a calculator. Not those guys!

JP:  Is it related to the Choose Your Own Adventure series of children's books from the 80s and 90s?

JB:  Definitely. That was definitely the inspiration. I used to get right into those 'fighting fantasy' ones, full of monsters and shit. At least with Love has been Liquidated there's no dice... Maybe there should've been. If you want to use a pencil throughout it though, feel free.

JP:  How about "text adventures" or "interactive fiction," like Zork or the other computer games put out by Infocom in the 80s and the Interactive Fiction Community today?

JB:  I remember Zork being big in its day although I was always more an arcade person myself, or at least the choices I took in my own role playing never lead me to picking up a copy of it for my Commodore 64.

JP:  Have you ever seen a choose-your-own-adventure poem? Did you like it?

JB:  I can't say I've seen a choose-your-own-adventure poem before, though I have no doubt they are out there. There was a certain novelty to that which appealed to me.

JP:  What inspired you to use the choose-your-own-adventure format? Did you ever conceive of the piece in any other format?

JB:  Bits of the book have been published before during 2001 to 2007, but these bits work best all joined together. All the poems I had published before. They are all proto extracts of this final book. Little mines I laid prior to this final form.

JP:  How long did it take to write "Love Has Been Liquidated?"

JB:  I can't even remember. Let's say, all up: January 2001 through either August 2012 or January 2013. There's just a couple of final things to tweak into place regarding Fit Number 5, and they will either wrap up in August or January.

JP:  Do you have any advice or reading suggestions for others who might want to work in this milieu?

JB:  No advice. Just do it. Milieu Vanillieu.

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