Welcome to yet another author mini-interview for my blog. And welcome David C. Kopaska-Merkel.
David and I have known each other through mail and the Internet since the 1980s. He has also been kind to publish a lot of my poetry in his wonderful poetry magazine Dreams and Nightmares. That magazine's 100th issue is coming out soon, complete with color cover, and I am honored to have a poem within it. I'll announce here and on Facebook when it is out. In the past, David and I have also collaborated on poems together. That was a great experience.
Last year I read (and reviewed for Star*Line) his collection Luminous Worlds from Dark RegionsPress. Because David has written so many books, I heartily recommend this one as a good sampling, a great place to start if you have not had the privilege of reading him before.
And now, on to the interview!
David C. Kopaska-Merkel
Why do you write what you do?
I don't usually plan ahead. I write what comes into my head. I have ideas that knock hard to be let out. I like science fiction and fantasy, so that's what I write. I made up stories and poems for my children when they were small, so I write those things too. One thing I set out to write, deliberately, is the daily poem. These are usually haiku and they are usually about something that is in my presence. That is how haiku are supposed to be written, at least traditionally. I do try to write for themed issues and such, but sometimes everything I come up with just doesn't fit.
How does your writing process work?
I sit down to write, and sometimes something intelligible comes out. If I think I might be able to improve it, then I fiddle with it, adding commas and taking them out, wholesale reorganization, that sort of thing. Quite often, I decide the avenue I'm following is unfruitful. At that point I either start over with a piece of what I've got in front of me or abandon it altogether.
I have an online writing group. Each week we propose words and then the idea is that each of us will write a poem using some or all of the words. I find this is a good way to get started writing. Also, if you really try to use all the words, the challenge encourages creative thinking.
I am working on a second book of children's poems. The Edible Zoo was written for my children, nieces, and nephews when the oldest ones were only a couple of years old. They really liked the funny poems about people and animals trying to eat each other, and over the years when more nieces and nephews were born, and another daughter, I added poems. Eventually it was published and a couple of them bought copies for their own children. So recently I wrote a silly children's poem about an animal (it wasn't being eaten). I read this poem to my other writing group (this one is local). Several members are pretty serious and accomplished writers. Anyway, everybody liked the poem, so that's my new project: write some more.
How does your work differ from others in the genre?
I don't know how to answer this question. I am one of several science-fiction poets who includes a fair amount of science in some of their poems, and I am the only one of these who is a geologist (as far as I know.) In many of my poems a viewpoint character struggles against a hostile or uncaring universe. Sometimes I feel sorry for this person. But does this set me apart from most other speculative poets? I don't think so.
Bio: David C. Kopaska-Merkel
When not writing poetry, David Kopaska-Merkel studies the varied and strange part of the Earth called Alabama. Kopaska-Merkel has written myriads of poems, stories, and essays since the 70s. He won the Rhysling award (Science Fiction Poetry Association) for best long poem in 2006 for a collaboration with Kendall Evans. He has written 23 books, of which the latest is Luminous Worlds, a collection of dark poetry from Dark Regions (http://www.amazon.com/Luminous-Worlds-David-C-Kopaska-Merkel/dp/193712892X/). Kopaska-Merkel has edited Dreams & Nightmares magazine since 1986. DN website http://dreamsandnightmaresmagazine.blogspot.com/. @DavidKM on twitter.
Thank you so much, David, for taking the time to answer my questions. Look for future interviews with more authors on this blog.
P.S. Below is David's complete bibliography! Check it out.
Poetry and fiction books by David C. Kopaska Merkel
Contact information: 1300 Kicker Rd, Tuscaloosa, AL 35404 205-553-2284 firstname.lastname@example.org
2. a round white hole, dbqp press, 1993, a few left, available from author ($5)
3. The Conspiracy Unmasked, Dark Regions Press, 1994, out-of-print
4. hunger, Preternatural press, 1996, out-of-print
5. Results of a preliminary investigation of the electrochemical properties of some organic matrices , Eraserhead Press, 1999, out-of-print
6. Y2K survival kit, smoldering banyan press 1999, out-of-print
7. The Ruined City, gnarled totem press, 2003, out-of-print
8. Shoggoths, Sam's Dot publishing, 2003, out-of-print
9. The Deadbolt Casebook, Sam's Dot publishing (fiction), 2004, out of print
10. the egg show, speakeasy press, 2005, ISBN 0-9762962-0-9 ($40, entirely handmade including the paper) http://www.speakeasypress.com/folded/foldedeggshow.html
11. I don't know what you're having, Sam's Dot publishing, 2005, out-of-print
12. Separate Destinations (with Kendall Evans), D66 Press, 2005, ISBN 1-892958-02-3, a few left, available from author ($7)
13. Hasp Deadbolt, Private Eye, Sam's Dot publishing (fiction), 2007, out-of-print
14. Drowning Atlantis, spechouseofpoetry.com (flash fiction), 2007, out-of-print
15. The memory of persistence, Naked snake press, 2007, out of print
16. Nursery Rhyme Noir, Sam's Dot publishing, 978-09821068-3-9 (fiction; incorporates 9 and 13), 2008, 2nd printing, available from author ($14)
17. Night Ship to Never (with Kendall Evans), diminuendo press, 978-0-9821352-3-5, 2009, out-of-print
18. The simian transcript, Banana Oil books, flash fiction, 2010, a few left, available from author ($8)
19. Brushfires, Sam's Dot publishing, poetry, 2010 ($9)
20. The Tin Men (with Kendall Evans), Sam's Dot, poetry, 2011 ($9)
21. The Edible Zoo, Sam's Dot, children's poetry, 2012, available from author ($10)
22. Luminous Worlds, Dark Regions Press, 2013, ISBN 978-1-937128-92-0
Available from the author (except 10 & 22); prices include shipping. Make checks out to author.