National Poetry Month Interview Series: Interview with Poet Alexis Rhone Fancher

Each day in April, in honor of National Poetry Month and our third anniversary issue (find out how to get a copy HERE), we are running an interview with a poet who has been published in Gyroscope Review. Read on.

National Poetry Month Interview Series: Interview with Poet Alexis Rhone Fancher

Poet Alexis Rhone Fancher

How will you celebrate National Poetry Month? My fourth book, a chapbook entitled Junkie Wife, will be published in March 2018 by Moon Tide Press. I’ll spend National Poetry Month promoting it in venues across Los Angeles and Northern California.

Pen, pencil or computer first? Desktop computer. If I’m not at my desk, I write “Notes” on my iPhone, which I can access from my desktop. I haven’t handwritten anything but an occasional scrawled idea or two in decades!

Who/what are your influences? I studied with the great poet/mentor Jack Grapes for four years. He taught me to read critically, and with an open mind. I read Catullus as often as I read Dorianne Laux, Sharon Olds, or Matthew Dickman. Lately I’m enamored of Rebecca Faust, Jillian Weise, Tony Hoagland, Tony Gloeggler, Jenn Givhan, Ocean Vuong, Lee Rossi, Michelle Bitting, and Ada Limon. The city of Los Angeles is a huge presence in my poems. Since moving back to the beach after four years in a downtown L.A. loft space, writing city-driven poems, nature has re-entered my poems in a big way. 

What topic is the hardest for you to write about and why? Writing about my dead son is hardest, and yet I keep writing “those” poems. I feel compelled. My chapbook about his death, State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, was published in 2015 by KYSO Flash Press. But still, the poems come. The hard part is slipping back out of that “grief state” I must put myself in, in order to write the poem authentically. It’s tricky. And doesn’t always work. Stay out of your head! I tell myself. It’s a bad neighborhood!

What was the worst writing idea you ever had? Updating a chapbook I wrote in 2010. It didn’t work then, and even after the update, my publisher wasn’t impressed. The idea is good, though. I might bonfire the ms. and begin again…

What authors do you love right now? On my nightstand, poetry books by: Tiana Clark, Lynne Knight, Jack Gilbert, Ocean Vuong, Ace Boggess, Frank O’Hara, Michelle Bitting. I received a signed copy of L.A. novelist, Janet Fisk’s latest novel, The Revolution of Marina M. for Christmas. Janet’s first novel, White Oleander, has long been a favorite of mine.

What is the most important role of poets in 2018? To be a light and a mirror. To write the truth. To be fearless.

Where do you go when you need to recharge? I meditate each morning. Exercise, getting out of my head and into my body, is also key. And my spectacular spouse is an expert at helping me recharge. I live a mile from the beach; a beachwalk is very restorative. If all else fails, Big Sur is my favorite destination.

What is your favorite end-of-the-day drink? Coconut water. If I’m drinking, I’m a fool for Macallan single malt whisky, or Glenmorangie Scotch. I’ve developed a taste as well for a Japanese whisky called Hibiki.

Alexis Rhone Fancher lives in San Pedro, California (Los Angeles). Her most recent publication is ENTER HERE (KYSO Flash Press, 2017). (Editor’s note: Gyroscope Review published a review of her book in 2017 HERE.)  Visit Alexis’ website: www.alexisrhonefancher.com.

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