Gloria Mindock is editor and publisher of Červená Barva Press. In 2007, she took over as editor of the Istanbul Literary Review, an online journal based in Turkey. In 2010, she co-founded an experimental journal, X Peri, with Irene Koronas.
She is the author of two chapbooks, Doppelganger (S. Press), Oh Angel (U Šoku Štampa) and is the author of three books, Blood Soaked Dresses (Ibbetson St. Press, 2007), Nothing Divine Here (U Šoku Štampa, 2010), and La Portile Raiului (Ars Longa Press, Romania, 2010), translated into the Romanian by Flavia Cosma.
Gloria has been published in numerous journals including River Styx, Phoebe, Poet Lore, Blackbox, Ibbetson St., WHLR, Poesia, Arabesques, and Bogg. In Romania, her poems can be found in UNU: Revistă de Cultură, Gând Românesc, Citadela and the anthology Murmur of Voices (Cogito Press) with translation by Flavia Cosma. Other anthologies include: Bagel With the Bards No.1 and No. 2, WHLR Anthology # 1, andCity Lights.
Recently, she was interviewed by Luis R. Calvo and Flavia Cosma in the literary magazine, Generación Abierta(Buenos Aires, Argentina). The interview was translated into Spanish by Flavia Cosma.
Gloria has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, St. Botolph Award and was awarded a fellowship from the Somerville Arts Council.
From 1984-1994, she edited the Boston Literary Review/BLuR and was co-founder of Theatre S & S. Press, Inc. Theatre S. received grants from the Polaroid Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Globe Foundation, New England for the Arts, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Somerville Arts Council.
With an extensive background in theatre, Gloria has written and performed numerous performance pieces including BIG BOMB BUICKS, WHERE DID ALL THOSE BIRDS AND DOGS COME FROM?, I WISH FRANCISCO FRANCO WOULD LOVE ME, and SKIN CELLS, MAGGOTS, AND OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST. Her poetry collection called Doppelganger was a text of a theatre piece of the same name performed by THEATRE S. A review by STAGES stated she took great liberties with Poe and « captured the romantic desperation of « William Wilson, » a tale of self-destructive double-identity. »
Gloria has performed, acted, composed music, and sang in the theatre. Her newest performance piece is called WALKING IN El SALVADOR. Gloria works as a Social Worker and freelances editing manuscripts and conducting workshops for writers.
RD: – You’re a writer, editor, an active woman, generous in your work as a publisher, a woman who expands the field of contemporary American poetry and fiction as well as international literature. When did your fascination with literature begin?
Cervena Barva Press Reading Series/Gloria Mindock with authors
Left to right: Joan Gelfand, Gloria Mindock, Mary Bonina, Tam Lin Neville, and Chad Parenteau in front
GM: – At a young age, I was surrounded by literature and books. My parents had so many different types of books around in the house. I would browse through so many of them especially the art books which gave me quite a good art education. There were many books of poetry but at that time, I wasn’t interested in what they had on the shelves. The style wasn’t what I was interested in but at least I was exposed to it at a young age. The books at home were so much more interesting than what I read in school.
Reading from my chapbook « Oh Angel » at a bookstore
RD: – What is the genre you love most?
GM: – Poetry is what I love most and I read it constantly. As a writer, it is the genre I write mostly though I do write plays and recently started to write flash fiction.
Eric Wasserman, Gloria Mindock, Craig Paulenich
(Eric and Craig are Cervena Barva Press Authors.
This photo was taken at the AWP Writers Conference in Chicago, Illinois in March, 2012.)
RD: – When did you write your first literary text? What led you to this?
GM: – I started out writing music and song lyrics and use to sing at coffee houses and bars. Singing was always important to me but now that I am older, my singing voice has lost some of its upper range. I am a soprano who has perfect pitch. In the early 1980’s, I started to write performance art, which lead to writing short plays. From there, I started writing experimental poetry. When I discovered that I loved reading Eastern European writing and poetry, I started writing lyrical poetry and having been doing so since. I have been writing poetry seriously since 1982.
Celebrating the publication of my book « La Portile Raiului » at a restaurant with friends in Somerville, MA
Gloria Mindock, Stephen Frech (Stephen Frech is a Cervena Barva Press author. This photo was taken at the AWP Writers Conference in Chicago, Illinois in March, 2012.)
RD: – What are some of the words that you word bank and what themes re-occur in your poetry?
GM: – Some words that I use over and over in my poetry are as follows: blood, heart, death, veins, suffer, tears, clouds, burst, and love, just to name a few. Blood and death are my favorite topics though. You will see these two words in many of my poems. There are many themes I write about over and over. I write about the horrible atrocities that have happened in this world or are still happening such as the civil war that happened in El Salvador from 1980-1992, the genocide in Bosnia, and Rwanda, and the death of relationships, meaning the bad side of relationships that people go through. I like to write on the darker side of things. I write about the atrocities because I want to be a voice for the people who cannot speak. Plus, I don’t want the world to forget about the horrible things that have happened. Sometimes, people have trouble reading about such things and I say, good. Wake-up! I need to stir up some emotion in them. Innocent people are dying. I have to do something so I hope my poetry draws attention to the horrible things that are happening.
Svetlana Dobritchanin and Gloria Mindock at a Cafe in Italy
RD: – Are you inspired to write in the evenings, mornings, or during the day? What are the feelings that you experience during the act of writing? When you are sad? Happy?
GM: – The best time for me to write is 11:00PM-2:00AM when it is very quiet. I come alive at this time and feel very energized to write. I tend to write after I just read a very good book that has inspired me. Usually, it is a poetry book that has been translated of an Eastern European writer. I don’t write according to my mood of being happy or sad. It is always if I am inspired by what I read. There is nothing like reading a great book of poetry. It makes me want to write. It gives me a need to write.
RD: – How long does it take to reach the final perfection of your text?
GM: – The rough draft of a poem does not take long to come out of me. Usually within 15 minutes to an hour. Sometimes, I will edit the poem right away and then it is done. Other times, I have to put it aside for a day or two and go back to it, then edit. If I get stuck on it and think it is worth saving, I ask my friend, Catherine Sasanov for help. I trust her with my poetry because she knows exactly what I am trying to do with my work. This is a rarity. I am very lucky to have someone who understands my poetry so well and doesn’t change my voice when editing.
RD: – What does the word “poetry,” ”language,” and “country” mean to you?
GM: – Poetry is the heart speaking. Language is how we say it. Country is how we share it. Put all of these together and it is universal. Words bridging the gaps between countries.
RD: – All people have their favorite poets that inspire them. Among these poets, troubadours, lonely, misunderstood, involved, social, philosophical, lyrical, surreal, minimalist, etc… Do you have a model poet close to your heart?
GM: – I have so many poets close to my heart that inspire me for various reasons that I read over and over. It is the way they write, their voice in the poem that speaks to me, inspires me. Here are some of them: Pablo Neruda, Paul Celan, Vasco Popa, Stella Vinitchi Radulescu, Bruce Weigl, Stephen Berg, Frank O’Hara, Gloria Fuertes, Majorie Agosin, Yehuda Amichai, Yannis Ritsos, Tomas Transtromer, Czeslaw Milosz, Pessoa, Lorca, Alan Dugan, Rilke, and Simon Perchik. There are also many not listed here from Eastern Europe that I love. At some point, I am going to list them on my website. You see, I cannot just pick one. That is impossible to do. One of the biggest inspirations for me, not listed above is, Václav Havel. I named my press, Červená Barva Press, a Czech name in honor of him.
Though he is not known for poetry, he was a wonderful playwright and writer. What he did for his country is way more than an inspiration.
RD: – When did Červená Barva Press begin? What is your criteria for selecting writers for publication?
GM: – Červená Barva Press was founded in April, 2005. We are celebrating 7 years now which is so exciting! In 2005, we published 25 poetry postcards and since 2006, we published 64chapbooks, 32 full-length books, and 7 free e-books to read online. This year, we have many full-length books and chapbooks forthcoming so it is truly a busy year for us.
My partner, William J. Kelle, is the other half of the press with me. He lays out the chapbooks and is the webmaster of the press. He is responsible for many of the book covers that you see. Over the years, we have had many interns helping us from Simmons College, Lesley University, Pine Manor College, Connecticut College, and Emerson College. We are so grateful to our interns.
I accept writers for publication who take risks, are edgy, who have a strong voice and tone in their work. I like to be surprised. I hate what I call “formula” writing and will reject that all the time.
I publish all kinds of work in all schools but I want it to be well written. I like what I like and when I see a great manuscript, I can’t turn it down. Lately, I have been getting some wonderful translations so I have been so happy and accepted these manuscripts right away. The work is just stunning.
RD: – Is poetry alive and well today? Tell us please, from the viewpoint of the author and from the viewpoint of the editor.
GM: – Poetry is alive today. All you have to do is look at how manyMFA programs exist today. Everyone wants to be a writer, a novelist, a poet… It is great seeing so many people writing poetry. As an editor, I receive so many queries from writers looking for a publisher. I know many other editor/publishers from other presses who are also getting many queries because we speak about it many times. Because of this, I know poetry is alive today. I would say, a big problem today is, not enough people buy poetry and read it. It is a difficult market for sales.
RD: – How do you support the authors you publish?
GM: – When I publish an author, I like to publish them again if I like another manuscript by them. They always have a home for their work with my press. I have published numerous chapbooks/books by Denis Emorine of France, George Held of the USA, Irene Koronas of the USA, Susan Tepper of the USA, Lucy Lang Day of the USA, and Flavia Cosma of Canada, to give you an example to name a few writers.
I set up readings for my authors, give them an interview on my website, send out press releases, do publicity, and give them all the support I can. If they have a book come out later by another press, I give them publicity on that. I am always genuinely happy for them.
I am always loyal to my authors and will buy their books when they come out by other presses. I will mention their new books in my Raves section in my newsletter or have it reviewed. I am good to my authors whether I publish another book by them or not, they always have my support.
RD: – Are you happy with your work as a publisher of literature? How is your job as a small independent press different from that of a big established press?
GM: – Publishing and bringing poetry, fiction, plays and especially translations into publication makes me extremely happy. I wish I didn’t have to work another full-time job during the day. Being a small independent press has its advantages. I pick what I want to publish. There are no agents or other people to deal with when choosing work. I am my own boss. I schedule my own hours and basically do what I want. With a bigger company, you don’t have those freedoms. There is no staff under me reporting to me except interns when I have them. I don’t have to worry about payroll and some of the financial aspects that a bigger company has to worry about. I must admit though, it would be nice to be able to have a staff to be able to do some of the work and be able to pay them. I would like to be able to pay someone to do publicity. This would really free me up to be able to work more on laying out the books and getting more of the production done. I also would love to be able to hire a proof-reader. These things, the bigger companies have. Still, I like my independence and this is the most important thing to me. No one will ever tell me who and what to publish. It is my choice, always.
Cervena Barva Press anniversary reading, 2007.
Gloria Mindock, Doug Holder, and William J. Kelle.
RD: – What would be the charm of this business? and the pitfalls of this?
GM: – The charm of the business is seeing the books in print! There is nothing like seeing all your hard work come out into a beautiful book and seeing the author happy with it. Also, when the book sells, and you know people are reading it, it is pure heaven!
The pitfalls of the business is when there seems to be not enough time in the day to get everything done you need to. There sometimes is so much grunt work to do such as running to the post office to mail orders, press releases, filling orders, doing lay-outs etc… Sometimes this is tiring.
RD: – What projects are forthcoming?
GM: – There is a huge tribute to Václav Havel and a celebration for Červená Barva Press. We have to celebrate our 7 year anniversary. We are going to celebrate it along with our tribute to Václav Havel since he was an inspiration for our press name which means “red color” in Czech.
This year, we have so many books forthcoming. Here is just a sneak peek at some of the authors. Sorry we aren’t going to name everyone so you will just have to stay tuned:
Rodica Draghincescu, Jiri Klobouk, Michael T. Steffen, Bob Hartly, Flavia Cosma, John Flynn, Craig Paulenich, Daniel Y. Harris, Bruce Lader, Claudia Serea, Gulnar Ali Balata, Pamela Laskin, Dmytro Pavlychko, David Gianni, Wm Hamilton, Tree Reisner, Robert Vaughan, John Elsberg, Eric Grienke, and so many, many more.
I am sorry for not listing everyone. The list would just continue for too long. It is twice as long as this. It is such an active year for us.
Thank you so much Rodica for interviewing me. This was a real honor!
With flowers celebrating the publication of my book « Nothing Divine Here » at my book party
REPORTER: Rodica Draghincescu (France)