Peggy Alaniz interviews Lisa Birman

howtowalkawayI first met Lisa Birman through my studies at the Jack Kerouac’s School of Disembodied Poetics summer writing program in July of 2012.  At that time she was one of the directors of the workshop.  The first thing I noticed about her was a beautiful smile and bubbly laugh – an honest compassionate soul. Now it’s three years later. My first impression stays with me, but now having worked with getting to know her on a professional as well as personal level I know the depth of her compassion is greater than my initial impression.  I know too that she is intelligent, kind, and willing to give those around her a nice forceful push when needed. And it is these same characteristics that she brings to life in her latest novel How To Walk Away (Spuyten Duyvil, 2015).  The story is about two characters who both suffer from Post Traumatic Syndrome. As the reader of the novel you will be convinced that not only are the characters real, but at some time in life, you probably had coffee with them.  The story is honest. It shows compassion for people who suffer from an ailment that is common in today’s society. Lucky for me I got to catch up with her between her travels for the following interview. Continue reading

Sandra Cohen Margulius interviews Stephen Roger Powers

This interview was originally published in the museum of americana (issue 4).

hello-stephenStephen Roger Powers is a poet/writer who earned his PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee back in 2006. When I met Stephen at the university years ago, he was focusing his writing primarily on writing fiction, but as time progressed found he had an uncanny talent for putting his feelings, sense of humor and muse, Dolly Parton, into the poetry genre.  His second book, Hello Stephen, just came out this past spring.  It follows a very successful first work, The Follower’s Tale, published in 2009.

I was lucky enough to be able to sit down with Stephen recently to discuss his newest work, Hello Stephen, his second book to be published by the Salmon Poetry.

Sandra Cohen Margulius:  First, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to sit down and talk about your upcoming book of poetry, Hello Stephen, which will be making a spring debut.  As in your first book, The Followers Tale, you have a special muse, Dolly Parton, who has been quite an influence in your life, as well as your poetry.  Can you discuss your fascination with Ms. Parton, when it began, and how it came to be? Continue reading

Franklin K.R. Cline interviews Siwar Masannat #wppoets


Winner of Cleveland State University’s 2014 First Book Competition, selected by Ilya Kaminsky

On Sunday, April 12 at 8:00 PM, Woodland Pattern will host a FREE reading celebrating two Cleveland State Poetry Center book prize winners, Broc Rossell and Siwar Masannat. Please join us! More information here.

In advance of the reading, Franklin K.R. Cline, a PhD candidate in English—Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, interviews Siwar Masannat, also a PhD in the program.

Philip Metres says of Siwar’s 50 Water Dreams:

“[It] beckons us into a mysterious world of broken tesserae, a dispersed mosaic the reader must  puzzle over to reconstruct. What we discover, as the pieces begin to fit, is that Siwar Masannat subversively flips  the script of scripture, and invites us to re-read what we thought we  knew as the story of a land called ‘holy.'”

Continue reading