4 Questions with Justin Karcher.

Justin Karcher

photo credit Mark Mulville of The Buffalo News

1, Tell us about you, and your writing (themes, influences etc.)

It’s just after midnight on April 4 and I live in Buffalo, NY, the jewel of the Rust Belt, close confidant and drinking buddy of Niagara Falls, where right now it’s raining & there’s lightning streaming across the sky outside my window & for some reason I’m listening to Enigma – I was thinking of those songs all day today, so I popped up a YouTube playlist of New Age 90s hits & I haven’t looked back. So now as I’m answering this question, I decide I want a cigarette and as I’m heading to the back deck, I see that my living room ceiling is leaking in two spots, but thankfully, buckets are already out, because this is an ongoing problem – it’s funny watching buckets fill up with rain. Anyway, I’m having that cigarette now and it tastes good and I’m shirtless because I like the feeling of raindrops in my chest hair and I realize that I’ve been 11 months sober. Now that the cigarette’s done, I should probably get some sleep. Anyway, long story short, I’m influenced by everything around me. There’s a David Lynch poster on the living room wall and a stack of unproduced plays on the coffee table. My laptop is always open. My heart too.

2, What are some of the ways in which you promote your work, and do you find these add, or eat into, your time writing?

Right now, I’m on a break at the office and it’s 3:10 PM, and I’m thinking of what I can tweet about. Is there any quirky observation I can make? Can I somehow relate it to poetry or projects that I’m working on? It’s currently very windy in Buffalo, a seesaw of sleet and rain, so what metaphor can I use to reflect how I’m feeling about everything at this very moment? These are things that I regularly think about at work and it all helps in the poetic process. While I’m not writing a poem per se, whatever I tweet about for example, will make its way into a poem eventually. Social media is not only a way to promote your work; it also provides a foundation for future work. Just have fun with it, you know? Poetry is flexible, like a well-meaning contortionist, so bend those bones.

3, What projects are you working on at present?

It’s a busy time of year, that’s for sure! In March, EMP released a book I co-wrote with Ben Brindise entitled Those Who Favor Fire, Those Who Pray to Fire. We’re going on a reading tour starting in late April, performing in dusty bookstores and grimy bars in a city near you. I recently co-edited a poetry anthology entitled My Next Heart: New Buffalo Poetry with Noah Falck. That came out in December through BlazeVOX [books]. In April, one of my short plays, When the Skeletons in Our Closets Choke on Candy Corn, is premiering at Alleyway Theatre as a part of Buffalo Quickies. That runs April 19 through May 5. Lastly, I’m the editor of Ghost City Review and we try putting out an issue every month. Whew.

4, What does poetry mean to you?

So I just got a haircut, it’s almost 7 PM, and I’m thinking I should write a poem about haircuts and winters that never end, like what if climate change is a haircut that never grows back? Anyway, I always seem to want to write poems about hair. Poetry means a lot of different things to me and since I process a lot of this on Twitter, I’ll leave us with a tweet:

“I write poems for the girl on the verge of tears getting a 7-Eleven pizza at midnight. I write poems for the old dude out front, chain smoking & telling her that God is good.”



Ghost City Review

Alleyway Theatre

2 thoughts on “4 Questions with Justin Karcher.

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