Sarah Bridgins is a writer and performer living in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Sink Review, InDigest, Monkeybicycle, Two Serious Ladies, Thrush, and Bone Bouquet among other journals. You can read more of her writing here.
Jen Fitzgerald is a poet and a native New Yorker who received her MFA in Poetry at Lesley University. She is the Count Director for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. With John Ebersole, she is the host of the New Books in Poetry Podcast as part of the New Books Network. Her work has been featured on PBS Newshour and Harriet: The Poetry Foundation Blog and in Tin House, and AAWW: Open City, among others.
Lisa Marie Basile in a NYC-based poet. She is also the author of the chapbooks Andalucia (The Poetry Society of NY) and triste (Dancing Girl Press) and the forthcoming full-length APOCRYPHAL. She is the founding editor of Luna Luna, a diary of art, sex and culture, curator for the musicopoetics performance salon, Diorama and the NY editor and a writing instructor for The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review. A graduate of The New School’s MFA program, she has been named a top contemporary NYC poet to read by several publications. She tweets at @lisamariebasile and works as a writer. The New York City Poetry Festival showcases all of the different formats, aesthetics, and personalities of New York City reading series and collectives, in one place at one time. The festival intends to create branches between disparate poetry communities, and other artists and artisans, by bringing poetry out of the dark bars and universities and by placing it in the sun.
On Tuesday night, fans, staff, and writers for The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review gathered at the KGB Bar in New York City for a night of literature and camaraderie. Posters of socialist propaganda, some written in Cyrillic, hung on the walls of the one-room bar where we mingled on the second floor of the19th century brownstone in East Village. The room was once a gathering place for Ukrainian socialists in the first half of the 20th century. Now, since 1993, it’s where authors and lovers of literature congregate to listen to emerging or established writers read from their works. The room could have been called the “Red Room,” given its history, current ambiance, and the colors on the wall. But, more appropriately, it’s the KGB Bar, where writers converge and rally behind their own.
The one-room bar had its few ceiling lights turned on to their brightest setting, which illuminated the space as a veiled lamp might a bohemian’s den. Deep crimson curtains covered several windows on one wall. One billowing red curtain let in dusky light behind the speaker’s podium. The bartender poured drinks, and people greeted each other with excitement—and, we’ll admit it, a bit of geeky glee—for the words that would soon fill the room. At 7 pm, the KGB Bar opened its doors for another literary reading, and by 7:15 pm, The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, Luna Luna, and Fiction Circus – with special guest Cris Mazza – launched that night’s literary bash and riotous good time!
Eckleburg’s own Rae Bryant opened the reading hour with a dark tale about skinning a catfish. Her words were followed by those of Miracle Jones who engaged the crowd with a satirical tale about T.J. Maxx. Cris Mazza then read an excerpt from her newly released memoir about relationships, sexual dysfunction, and what it means to be a woman, Something Wrong with Her. Lisa Marie Basile concluded the reading hour with two emotionally raw and outstanding poems focusing on sexual abuse.
A place for writers and for writing is what The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review is. And it found a kindred spirit in the KGB Bar and its patrons.
And yes, that’s one hell of a grainy photo. It’s hard to take a picture of such awesomeness! (Plus, as mentioned earlier, the bar’s lighting was deliciously crimson and focused on the excitement coming from the podium!)
Eckleburg‘s NY Editor, Lisa Marie Basile, discusses her history with the Review, life in NYC and her goals as Assistant Editor and NY Coordinator.
Q: How did you learn about/become involved with Eckleburg?
LMB: In 2009-2010, I was writing both fiction and poetry. Heavily influenced by magic realism, after devouring everything by Isabel Allende, I came across Moon Milk Review. Rae Bryant read (and loved, luckily!) my piece “The Last Moment in Mexico,” which she published. Soon after, I had read with her as part of MMR, and did a series of wild, fun and creative events with her. Later, I worked with her on her book The Indefinite State of Imaginary Morals. Naturally, I’ve been reading and loving Eckleburg.
Q: What role at Eckleburg do you have?
LMB: I’ll be soliciting work from the many incredible working writers and poets living in or writing about New York. I’ll also be taking part in the planning of Eckleburg/Rue de Fleurus Salon events in NYC and promoting the Review as a whole to NYC. I’m like an ambassador—always looking to add the varied NYC aesthetic and work mediums to Eckleburg. I’m also teaching for Eckleburg Workshops.
Q: What are you looking for in submissions?
LMB: I’ll be asking poets and writers I love to submit to Eckleburg for publication consideration, but I also urge anyone in the NY area to submit directly to the site. I’m looking for tightly-written, thoughtful and well-executed work. Work that understands its own voice and isn’t simply trying it on. Work that makes me scream HOLY SHIT. I do not enjoy safe, and I do not find pop-culture references alluring if they’re not absolutely purposeful and organic. I do love exploration of form. While I love expert lineation, I also love fluidity and musicality of voice. I am also looking for work that reflects the diversity of NY itself in both culture and gender. Translations, literally or otherwise, are welcome.
Q: What have been one or two of your favorite pieces you have seen in Ecklbebur so far?
LMB: My chapbook, Andalucia, was published by the Poetry Society of NY in 2011. They produce the Annual NYC Poetry Festival and do a variety of performance productions, including the Poetry Brothel. My second chapbook, triste, was published by the amazing Kristy Bowen of Dancing Girl Press. Later this year, war/lock, a chapbook, will be released by Hyacinth Girl Press. My full-length, APOCRYPHAL, will be published by Noctuary Press, edited by Kristina Marie Darling, one of my favorite poets—also featured here at Eckleburg!
Q: How do you approach writing?
LMB: Honestly, without caring about trend or other people.
Q: In 5 words or less, describe what kind of a journal you think Eckleburg is.
Lisa Marie Basile is the founding editor of Luna Luna Mag, a mischievous little women’s arts & culture site. She also edits the micropress Patasola Press and is co-editor for Diorama Journal. Her work can be seen in Best American Poetry, Poets & Artists Magazine, PANK Magazine, The Nervous Breakdown, La Fovea and others. She is the author of Andalucia (The Poetry Society of New York) and Triste (Dancing Girl Press). Her newest chapbook, war/lock, is forthcoming from Hyacinth Girl Press in 2014. Noctuary Press, run from University of Buffalo, will publish her full-length poetry collection, APOCRYPHAL in June 2014. Lisa Marie has edited for SUNDRESS Publications and WEAVE Magazine. She has taught poetry at The Brooklyn Brainery and was poet-in-residence at Westfield High School. She is an assistant editor for Fifth Wednesday Journal and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize twice. She is a graduate of The New School’s MFA program for creative writing.