Interview with Kevin Shlosberg

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I'd say it's the process of writing itself. The flow and play of words. The subtle balance between loss-of-control and complete control, however that works.
What is your writing process?
I reap a lot of my lines and images from the space between waking and sleeping. Whether it's that ripe hypnagogic state when I'm falling asleep, or leftover hypnapompia (I think that's what it's called) from dreams when waking --or the general buzzing of thought and image of insomnia, I like to save as much of this un/subconscious dribble as I can for my poetry.

Meditation has always been a great source of lines bubbling out of nowhere. Also, lately I've been running in the morning (what can I say? I've been getting fat from sitting in front of a computer 8 hours a day!), and this has been a surprising inspiration for me.
Who are your favorite authors?
Not sure there will be enough space here, but, well, I'll keep it short:

Victor Pelevin, Corman McCarthy, Hermann Hesse, Peter Matthiessen, Nick Harkaway, Haruki Murakami, Edward Abbey, Albert Camus, Kurt Vonnegut, Philip K. Dick, Paulo Bacigalupi, Basho, Ikkyu, Issa, Thomas Pynchon, Jack Kerouac, and Charles Baudelaire.

I could make a B-list of course, but that might be ridiculous. It shall suffice to say lately I've really been enjoying Rebecca Solnit, China Mieville, Paul Auster and Barry Lopez.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I actually moved around a fair bit as a child. I was born in Arizona (and while there, my family lived in three different houses). At the age of five, we moved East and lived with my grandparents for a year in Brooklyn. Then it was out to Long Island for about 10 years, then the family upped and moved again to New Jersey.

By this time, it was clear being uprooted was a part of my life, and being moved around at crucial points of schooling always interfered with my feelings of acceptance amongst my classmates and peers.

All of which is why I have an undeniable feeling of being an outsider and always searching for home. I feel like these themes are quite prominent in my poetry.
What are you working on next?
I'll have another photobook coming out in the next couple of months. It's in one of its final proofreading/editing sessions now. If you'd like to see a preview of it, drop me a line at bibliomaniaphobia at gmail dot com.

Aside from that, I've been thinking of putting out an annotated version of TSTITWOMW, so people know what some of the poems are referencing, and so some folks can learn what the poems "mean." I'm on the fence about this; I'm not sure how many magic tricks I'd like to give away.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Aside from being largely subjective, becoming a traditionally-published poet is a bit of a game. No publisher is going to gamble on a writer no one's ever heard of; it makes no financial sense. So, first you have to start submitting your poetry to little literary journals no one's ever heard of. If you're lucky (or persistent, very persistent) you'll get an acceptance here or there. You then take these acceptances, add them to your resume, c.v., cover letter, etc, and you might start having luck at journals a few people have actually heard of. Take those credits, add them to your list of accomplishments, submit to even-grander journals, etc. etc.

Eventually, you'll get enough recognition (and perhaps an MFA and honorary PhD along the way), that a publishing company will decide that a print-run of a 1,000 books might finally be a safe use of their money.

I admit this is a completely cynical view of the whole process, but I never wanted any part of it. Why not just publish an ebook myself and reach millions of potential readers (anywhere in the world)?
How do you approach cover design?
I have actually been designing all of my own covers --Ha! perhaps you can tell!

I've always been a very visual person. I am also a(n amateur) painter and photographer, and the source images for all of these books are from my own work.

Poetry is always going to be a hard sell, no matter what; so I've simply tried to catch something visually curious for these covers. Of course, nudity (or the suggestion of it, anyway) helps!
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
As of date, I've made $40, have given almost 500 free books to people in other countries, and I even have a couple of 5-star reviews.

If nothing else, it has inspired me to set up a website... one day... maybe.
What do your fans mean to you?
I have two or three, I think. They mean a lot to me b/c I know there's at least two people out there who understand (or try and/or pretend to) what I'm trying to communicate.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I'm not so sure I can use the word 'inspires,' but the cat does a good job of getting me up, especially when she is hungry --which is always!
Published 2014-12-02.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Pahoa Village Utility Poles
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Price: Free! Words: 200. Language: English. Published: February 27, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » Art, Architecture, Photography » Photography - Photo books
A photo essay in a hybrid-spirit of Aaron Siskind and Edward Ruscha. Contains about 20 color images. An exploration into texture, variegation, and color, this book has left the author's mother saying, 'Tut, why can't you take normal vacation pictures?'
To Say This is the Way One Man Went: Selected Poems 1999-2012
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Series: To Say This is the Way One Man Went. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 10,900. Language: English. Published: October 7, 2012. Category: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry
Join award-winning poet Kevin Shlosberg as he chronicles coming-of-age in his newest poetry collection To Say This is the Way One Man Went. Hailed as "superbly disturbing" and "beautifully crafted", To Say This is the Way One Man Went is the quintessential collection from a fresh voice in contemporary poetry. 90+ poems, approx. 100 pp. Themes include: travel, relationships, philosophy and dreams
Afterwards
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Series: To Say This is the Way One Man Went, part 4. Price: Free! Words: 3,720. Language: English. Published: October 5, 2012. Category: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry
The final installment of award-wining poet Kevin Shlosberg's coming-of-age poetry arc "To Say This is the Way One Man Went." This chapbook rounds out the journey w/ reflection, contemplation, and humor. This is not center-justified poetry, if you know what I mean. Heavy on Imagery. Light on rhyme. Fun times Guaranteed!
Heartbreak and Other Travels
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Series: To Say This is the Way One Man Went, part 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 3,640. Language: English. Published: October 3, 2012. Category: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry
Part 1 of award-wining poet Kevin Shlosberg's coming-of-age poetry arc "To Say This is the Way One Man Went." This collection of memoir-like poetry chronicles his continental travels and relationship debacles. This poetry is not center-justified, if you know what I mean. Heavy on imagery, light on rhyme. Fun times Guaranteed!
Some [Soul-] Mapping
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Series: To Say This is the Way One Man Went, part 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 3,290. Language: English. Published: September 30, 2012. Category: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry
Part 3 of award-wining poet Kevin Shlosberg's coming-of-age poetry arc "To Say This is the Way One Man Went." These poems chart the author's journey from clinical depression to spiritual ease, but with a twist. This poetry is not center-justified, if you know what I mean. Heavy on imagery. Light on rhyme. Fun times guaranteed!
Hypnagogic Exploits
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Series: To Say This is the Way One Man Went, part 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 2,920. Language: English. Published: September 29, 2012. Category: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry
Part 2 of award-wining poet Kevin Shlosberg's coming-of-age poetry arc "To Say This is the Way One Man Went." 20+ poems either inspired by or hijacked from the dreaming mind. It's not center-justified poetry, if you know what I mean. Rich in imagery. Light in rhyme. Fun times guaranteed!