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Gloria Mindock, Editor   Issue No. 72   February, 2012




Gloria Mindock

Červená Barva Press Newsletter for February, 2012

Hi Everyone! There was no newsletter for January. I hope everyone has a wonderful and productive 2012. Things are back to normal for Červená Barva Press.

Stephanie Callan is our intern from Pine Manor College and will be working with us until April. We would like to welcome her and thank her for joining the press for her internship. Thank you to Kathi Aguero for recommending her.

    Currently, two books will be sent to the printers this month. They are:
  • On Paths Known to No by One by Flavia Cosma
  • Talking Pictures by Roger W. Hecht.
    Three chapbooks are also in the works:
  • Circle Straight Back by Noel Sloboda
  • All Seemed Foreign by Ansley Moon
  • The Land of the Four Rivers by Matthew Hamilton

These full-lengths and chapbooks will be released in March and in April.

Books are almost done by Jiri Klobouk, Bob Hartley, and Michael T. Steffen and I expect these to soon follow.

Červená Barva Press fell behind schedule but is working very hard to catch up. I will be in contact with authors as things start to move along.

I hope to see many of you at AWP in Chicago Feb. 29th-March 3rd.

Červená Barva Press has a booktable there. We are E9 in the middle of the room right on the aisle so you can find the press easily in the Southwest Hall. Stop by and say hi. Volunteer at the table. I will need help and will need breaks so please come help out!!!! Those of you that said you would help out, please e-mail what days and times.

I am also am reading off-site on Friday, March 2nd. I am so excited about it. I am so thankful to Bill Yarrow for asking me. Here is the information. I hope to see many of you there to hear all of us read. It is going to be so much fun!

Top Shelf Poets (First Friday Poetry Series)
7:30 PM-10:00 PM
Location: Creative Studio Space, Studio A, 2941 W. Belmont, Chicago, Illinois
Cost: FREE
Poetry reading: Kris Bigalk, Bill Yarrow, Gloria Mindock, Tony Barnstone.
Hosted by Waiting 4 the Bus.

Also at AWP, on Thursday, March 1st, authors from New Sins Press and Winged City Chapbooks will pay tribute to poet Rane Arroyo. See information below.
I hope to see many of you at this memorial reading. Rane is so missed!!!!

New Sins Press Rane Arroyo Memorial Reading
6:00 PM-8:00 PM
Location: 624 S. Michigan Ave. Columbia College North Library Reading Room (1/2 block from Chicago Hilton)
Cost: free

Rane Arroyo Memorial Reading featuring authors from New Sins Press and Winged CIty Chapbooks: Lylanne Musselman, Ricardo Nazario y Colon, Andrew Rihn, Aaron Smith, Robert Walker, Jory Mickelson, Jeff Kass, others TBA. Close enough to make it back for the keynote!

In Memorium

On December 18th, 2011 Vaclav Havel passed away. He was such an amazing man and a total inspiration to me. It is because of what he did for his country that I named my press a Czech name. (Červená Barva=Red Color) My tribute reading for him will be in March or possibly April. I wanted it in January but a few people who I wanted in the program could not be a part of the program at that time. It is very important to have these few people be a part of the program. We will ask everyone to make sure they bring a key ring full of keys with them when they come to this event.

Also on a sad note in memoriam, Carol Novack passed away in December. She was the editor of Mad Hatters Review. I only met her twice in NYC many years ago. I offer my sincere sympathy to all her friends and her family. This is really sad.

Recently, we lost another wonderful poet, Polish poet and Nobel Laureate, Wislawa Szmborska who was 88 years old. If you haven't read her work, I highly recommend that you do.

Rest in Peace…

Raves and book reviews will continue in March. Some authors you will see mentioned will be: Michael Graves, Luis Benitez, and many more of course!


Hosted by: Harris Gardner and Gloria Mindock


7:00 PM /ADMISSION: $4.00

Suzanne Berger

Suzanne Berger teaches an advanced poetry workshop at Lesley University, and has taught a BU Radcliffe and Harvard. Her books are Legacies, These Rooms and Horizontal Woman. Suzanne also is a Pushcart Prize recipient.

Danielle Georges

Danielle Georges is the author of a book of poems Maroon (Curbstone Press, 2001). Her awards for poetry include the PEN New England Discovery Award, and the LEF Foundation Fellowship. Her poems have appeared nationally and internationally in journals including Agni, The Caribbean Writer, Callaloo, MaComère; and in numerous anthologies. She is an Associate Professor in the Creative Arts in Learning Division of Lesley University.

Photo: Priscilla Harmel

Richard Wollman

Richard Wollman is a poet and sculptor who has published A Cemetery Affair (chapbook, Finishing Line Press 2004) and Evidence of Things Seen (Sheep Meadow Press 2006). Poetry awards include the Gulf Coast Prize (2005), the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Award for Poems on the Jewish Experience (2009), and a fellowship at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (2007). His poems have appeared in New England Review, Prairie Schooner, Crazyhorse, MARGIE, Bellevue Literary Review, and Poetry Daily. He received a doctorate in 17th-Century Poetry at Columbia University and currently is Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at Simmons College in Boston.

The Center for the Arts is located between Davis Square and Union Square. Parking is located behind the armory at the rear of the building. Arts at the Armory is approximately a 15 minute walk from Davis Square which is on the MTBA Red Line. You can also find us by using either the MBTA RT 88 and RT 90 bus that can be caught either at Lechmere (Green Line) or Davis Square (Red Line). Get off at the Highland Avenue and Lowell Street stop. You can also get to us from Sullivan Square (Orange Line) by using the MBTA RT 90 bus. Get off at the Highland Avenue and Benton Road stop.


Susan Tepper's Website:

From The Umberplatzen by Susan Tepper

Interview for "From The Umberplatzen"

To begin, let me say "welcome" to Susan Tepper. And "congratulations" on the publication of your new work of fiction, "From The Umberplatzen ~ A Love Story" published by Wilderness House Press.

Such a sweet welcome, thank you Paul!

In the interest of full disclosure I should tell our readers I am a longtime admirer of Susan's work, and happily a friend. Though I was an admirer before becoming a friend.

This is true. He secretly admired me from afar. Ha ha! My work, that is! We "met" before we actually "met." When you generously reviewed my book "Deer & Other Stories" (another Wilderness House Press book) that came out in 2009. After getting such a great review, how could I not take the ridiculously expensive Acela train up to Cambridge and do a few readings from Deer? That's when I officially met you. After the reading we had Chinese food with Gloria Mindock and Mary Bonina. The following night, after another event that was hosted by Doug Holder, we had more food at an outdoor restaurant in Somerville, this time with Doug, Steve Glines, and Tim Gager. I kind of pigged out while I was up there. You guys have some terrific places to eat!

Susan, congratulations on "From The Umberplatzen." I enjoyed it immensely, though I'm not sure what label to apply in speaking of it. Is it a novella, a flash fiction collection, or a grouping of interrelated stories?

Funny you should ask. During the writing, I thought of it as a collection of linked-flash fiction. Then Robert Olen Butler blurbed the book and called it a "mosaic of a novel." Then someone else called it a novella. It's a bunch of small stories that add up to one complete tale. A love story set in Germany but told in flashback. A quirky love story, not a sappy one. This book can be read in any order and still come out making sense. Does that make sense? Seriously, you can read it any which way, though I think it best to read the first flash first and the last one last. This way it opens and closes the book with a sense of completeness. You can do what you want with the rest of the stories, read them in order or not. I love that Bob Butler used the words "mosaic of a novel" because I think of them as shiny little stories, like mosaic tiles, that make up a unified backsplash.

Can you give our readers the back story of "From the Umberplatzen"? What was its inspiration? Or, perhaps more pointedly, what were you hoping to accomplish?

Now you're getting to the hard questions. Because I never know what I'm doing or where I'm going when I start a piece. I've been called an intuitive writer, which I kind of suspected all along. I'm sure it's from doing lots of improv when I was an actor. With improv it's all a crap-shoot. You never know if someone is going to dump a pail of water over your head or start to kiss you or try and run you over with a bike on stage! My writing unfolds pretty much like an improv. I go with the flow of my mind in that moment. But I also have this way of picking up on energy. If I read another writer's work, and it appeals to me, I think I pull in some of that psychic energy. At any rate, I've been reading the works of Marcus Speh for a few years now. He's a writer I met on Fictionaut who lives in Berlin, and has become a great online friend. He's a terrific writer. Somehow over time Marcus invaded my unconscious mind. The first story which is titled "Leaves" I set in Germany. And my male protagonist I called M. Just M. While still in a state of unconscious awareness, I submitted "Leaves" to Marcus and he published it at his "kaffe in katmandu." The next story was "Crash Landing in the Umberplatzen" which Marcus also published. Then I began writing one story a day. For much of the writing of this book, I didn't put together the M with Marcus. That is the God's honest truth. At times I can be a little dense.

Speak a little about the role of the Umberplatzen tree in the book's ongoing series of reminiscences? You admit right off that 'Umberplatzen" isn't the tree's real name, merely an agreed upon label. Did you have a specific tree in mind each time one appeared in the book? Reading the stories, I found myself imagining different trees to suit different moods or events? And sometimes "Umberplatzen" seemed to relate to an entire environment, like a park.

The word Umberplatzen came to me right away- the first story, first line. It's a totally made up word that appeared in my mind. Since the book's been published, a friend living in Germany told me it's a joining of two words: Umber to mean shady from the Latin, and Platz to mean place or square. I had no idea. It just appeared on the page and sounded nice. It sounded like trees and nature and a place to feel safe. Secure. In our world today, those are things many of us look for without realizing it. Years ago when I was a tour guide I spent a lot of time in Germany. Umberplatzen sounds Germanic so I suspect the German language (which I don't speak) has been resting in my brain these past two decades.

"The Umberplatzen" I see as a type of widely spreading leafy deciduous tree with a thick trunk. As the book progressed, Umberplatzen took on a greater meaning. It expanded into a park that my two characters (Kitty Kat and M) frequented, where much of their love affair plays out. But it also became a state of mind. A metaphor that meant what is good and true and clean and honest and deliberate. A place where you can reach out and touch the poetry of the universe. Probably my own deeply wished for place.

Knowing how deer-the species as well as the individual creature-became an indefinable character or presence in "Deer" your earlier book of stories, I was watchful for the Umberplatzen to show up in each of these journal entries or stories. Tell me what experience or ideas you were hoping to evoke by the almost ritualistic presence of the Umberplatzen Tree in each story?

Well, I think we writers create out of some need of our own. Apparently I needed an "Umberplatzen" badly during the course of that writing. I needed that type of tree, that park, its river, the waterfowl, fountain, Roman wall, boathouse café. All those things that drove the narrative in this book. I was quite obsessed with the story as I wrote it. Obsessed with the Umberplatzen.

How much of "From The Umberplatzen" is autobiographical? I notice numerous occasions where you write about the kinds of intimate interactions and events that real people share in real relationships. Were many of these events or insights pillaged from your own life or past relationships?

None of it is autobiographical. I have never been called by the nickname Kitty Kat, or had a love relationship with a German man. All of it was pulled from that storage locker in my unconscious. We writers do pull from everywhere: life lived or observed or imagined, films, dreams, wishes, folklore, overheard conversations. The single "so-called connection" I can make is this: I once saw an old woman bathroom attendant in the Vienna train station. She was ravaged looking and she stayed in my mind. At the time I wondered if she'd been a child during World War 2 in Austria. She could have been the origin of "the maid" who comes to clean M's flat. Though the real woman in Vienna was emaciated looking, while the maid in the story I envisioned as rather portly. But, come to think of it, they both had the same face. Ah ha! Well there you go. An autobiographical moment!

As a writer I'm interested in your process of bringing the book to fruition. Could you speak about its arc, from initial concept (whatever that might have been) to its flowering as a very attractive paperback with some highly complimentary blurbs on the back?

Process? I write like an obsessed crazy person. I never think about arcs. Or if it's going to work or where is it going- any of that. I just write stories because it's my most favorite thing to do. When I had all these flashes written, and my title in place, I mentioned the book to Steve Glines. We were both panelists at the Hunter College Spring Writers Conference in NYC. Steve was in a great mood that day and I thought it was a good time to strike! Ha! He liked the concept and asked to read the manuscript. And he made me a beautiful book! I requested a white book for its purity. I thought it reflected the love shared between M and Kitty Kat. The cover photo image was lent to me by Al McDermid, a writer and photographer I worked with on a year-long collaborative project of words and image. When I saw that photo I just knew I had to have it for this book, it's so perfect. Al had titled his photo "forever friends." Can you imagine! Conceptually and visually perfect for this book! Then Steve came up with the old-fashioned typewriter font, and he designed the book, floating the image on the cover, underlining the titles. I'm thrilled with how it came out. It's so beautiful to hold! As for blurbs, Robert Olen Butler had blurbed my prior book "What May Have Been" and to show my gratitude I interviewed him at The Nervous Breakdown. In conversation, he asked what I was working on. I said something like: oh, this little book. He said something back like: let me see that little book you're working on. So I emailed the manuscript to him and he liked it. Steve Almond (whose work I also adore) I've known from years back. And Simon Perchik has been my poetry mentor for more than a decade. I didn't intentionally only ask men to blurb. I asked a few women writers who ignored me. So it just worked out this way. It's nice. I like those three guys on my back cover along with the little deer (logo) that is Wilderness House Press. By the way, that deer is also a male- it has antlers.

Was it your initial plan to tell the story of a love affair through snapshots-fragmentary moments frozen in time? And what about the enigmas or friction created by the objects the narrator receives on a daily basis from her onetime lover? Those oftentimes surprising artifacts or symbols of their lost love? Tell us about those, if you will…?

As I mentioned, I had no initial plan. The gifts and items he sends her almost daily through the mail were something that just cropped up. First it was "leaves" he sends in the opening flash. Specifically: Umberplatzen leaves. Then she receives nothing in the second story except his actual letter. Then she gets the Max Ernst postcard in the third story. And the pattern of getting things from M in the mail developed from that point, I guess. Sometimes he sends nothing, making that particular story about an incident between them, with nothing "physical" to show for it. The items he sends her tie in with some incident they shared in Germany. I think it's relevant that he sends nothing, here and there. Everything he sends, doesn't send, says, doesn't say- is all part of a desperate attempt to get her back to Germany.

I know you to be a highly energetic and prolific writer. What's next on your agenda? What can we next expect to see from Susan Tepper?

I'm working on a new book, also linked-flash. Right now I'm hooked on that genre. It's a relatively new one for me that I only picked up in the past few years. I used to be the queen of the 40 page short story. No kidding! These days I think people like reading flash more- get in and out fast. That's our culture today. Parts of the new book have been published in various lit mags. It's very different from this book, though it shares an overseas setting. France for the new book. My wandering self is finally getting around to writing about the foreign places that made up my existence for many years. I've seen a lot and for that I'm glad. Really, I'm a tramp steamer at heart.

Susan, many thanks for taking time out to speak with me. And best of luck getting "From The Umberplatzen: A Love Story" out in front of the wide audience it well deserves!

Thank you so much, Paul, for asking me these great questions!


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