Issue 28 Interviews
from its inspiration to its final arrival in the hands of the reader, writing undergoes a lengthy and complex process, and one that is too often overlooked. Each issue, Front Porch sits down with people who are engaged daily with the processes and industries of writing, be it by running community workshops, buying books at a used bookstore, organizing translations, and much more. These interviews seek to examine the many forces that shape literature, and to highlight the perceptive and passionate people to whom we owe the books on our shelves.
EVERY CHICAGO WRITER has attempted to write the quintessential El story, one that centers on the city’s most popular mode of public transportation. Every writer who tackles that task inevitably fails because Stuart Dybek has already done it, and he’s done it best. (Read “Pet Milk” in The Coast of Chicago if you feel like arguing with me.) Though Dybek’s work is heavily associated with the working class sectors of the Windy City, his writing transcends such easy associations. And perhaps this is the burden of expertise.
KELLY DAVIO’S POETRY is as intense as it is resonant. In her 2013 collection Burn This House, she paints a chiaroscuro world of moral complexity. Contrast is integral to Davio’s work, and the depth and sensitivity with which she approaches the diverse depths of the human emotional experience are remarkable. Davio has experience in virtually every area of the literary process, from writing to publishing. Along with writer and editor Joe Ponepinto, she recently established Tahoma Literary Review, where she serves as Poetry Editor. In this interview, Davio sheds some light on her process, her latest project, and her work as a poet and editor.
ERIC HOWERTON’S MOST recently published story, “Go Down, Diller,” features a bear with a speech impediment who works fast food. If that doesn’t convince you to read a story, nothing will. Many of Eric’s stories strike a similar balance: they are often magical and surreal with characters who are at once hilarious and affecting. I first met Eric at the University of Houston, where he taught an undergraduate workshop I had the pleasure of taking. Now, I am fortunate to have recently reconnected with him to ask a few questions about “Go Down, Diller,” his forthcoming work, and his craft in general.
EARLIER THIS YEAR, writer Viola Canales published her debut poetry collection, The Little Devil and the Rose. Written with candor, grace, and economical language, the book is a series of poetic, largely autobiographical vignettes about the South Texas experience. Each poem is tied to an image from lotería, a Mexican game of chance. The fifty-four cards of the lotería deck provide the premise and structure of the collection, and contribute to the rich, immersive quality Canales creates. Like all of her work, The Little Devil and the Rose is informed by the interactions of diverse sociopolitical, religious, and emotional forces, and their effects on the community and the individual. The public and private are essentially inseparable in Canales’s work, and every reader is invited to the table she sets.