eight questions with aleathia drehmer

aleathia drehmer is one of those poets whom we at nibble know very little about.  we have long been impressed with her skill as a poet and are learning that she is much more than just a talented writer.

we are slowly coming to know her through email, facebook, Literary Mary and, of course, her nibble bio.  she has a couple of homes on the internet HERE and HERE.  it says HERE that she is a Registered Nurse, probabaly the hardest job on the planet.

aleathia lives in a place called painted post (a far more poetic sounding town than oakland). she has a daughter who is highly intelligent (surely a chip off the old block) and a cat named carrot.

aleathia’s poetry appeared in issues three and four of nibble, which leaves us wondering why we haven’t had the privilege of publishing her work since then.  perhaps we should have asked that question instead.

and now, here are eight questions with aleathia drehmer:

What is your role in the small press?

Oh my, just three years ago it was absolutely nothing.  I sort of hit the ground running and had a few great hands given to me along the way.  In September of  2007, I got hired on as a co-editor for the online zine Zygote in my Coffee.  My job there was really just cutting and pasting accepted submissions into templates for online issues.  It wasn’t glamorous, but it really taught me a great many things about the small press.  I was able to see how other writers conducted themselves, because their original submissions were what I would work from.  I learned about deadlines and the frustrations of technology and how little people follow directions.

A few months before the Zygote job, I worked as a staff writer at what was known as The Guild of the Outsider Writers.  This gave me some wings to try things outside my comfort zone.  I worked something we called the Virtual  Roundtable where I invited writers to chime in on specific topics.  I learned about small press drama from there and the power of ego.  I moved on from that to do Outsider of the Month which was an interview/literary feature.  These were extensive and I enjoyed doing them, but the software program was my nightmare.  It put me to tears nearly every month and I had to stop doing them.  I stayed on with The Guild as they changed into Outsider Writers Collective, but only for awhile.

I met Lynn Alexander there and admired her industry and creativity.  She is a woman that has great ideas and puts them into action.  I find this so rare anymore that people want to work for results.  She and I decided that we would strike out on our own and create a new zine where we could foster that idea of hard work and community and great writing.  We started Full of Crow.  We have been up and running since March 2009 and have had tremendous response.  I am already trying to fill the August issue in the month of May.  As for Zygote in my Coffee, he scaled back what he was doing last fall and does most of the work himself.  I have stayed on as a Special Editions Editor and make cool books for him when he needs them or the idea arises.

I do my best to support as many small press factions as I can.  I really believe the best road to success is one we share together, and I am always willing to help promote writers and other presses.  I think it is important in keeping small press alive.

What is one thing people should know about you?

I have spent my life moving around and it had nothing to do with the military or company jobs.  My family just could never make up their damn minds and set a root down.  I have lived in or been through every continental state in America except North Dakota.  I have lived in 16 different states in my life.  Wanderlust is part of my everyday makeup and now that I have been “still” for nearly 8 years, I am starting to like it.

What are you working on right now that has you excited?

Every day that I get to work on Full of Crow is exciting.  I see new writers I have never heard of and it thrills me, but I am working on a new book for Zygote in my Coffee/Tainted Coffee Press.  Two great writers that I know, John Dorsey and Jacob Johanson, set out on a journey from Kansas City, MO to various parts of California.  This book will chronicle the journey through poetry.  Along the way, they met up with groups of other writers and did poetry readings in Ft. Collins, CO, Los Angeles, CA, and Hollywood, CA.  This book will have the work of some of these writers mixed in with theirs.  It is still in its infancy and my brain is swirling with ideas for it all the time.

Name one thing you wish you had.

My boyfriend about 7 hours closer. Ha.  We alternate our two state trek every two weeks.

Name one thing you have that you could do without.

Overly dramatic friends that try to suck the life out of me.  As Utah Phillips once said, “I’m going on a low-fat head diet.”

Who is your favorite small press poet?

Man, this is a hard question.  I know so many flipping great writers.  I do really enjoy the work of Jacob Johanson and Barton Smock.  I think I read them pretty regularly and maintain an interest in their work as they progress.  Recently, I began reading the work of a woman named Jana Russ.  This woman knocks my socks off.  I had not heard of her until she submitted to Full of Crow and her writing makes my heart beat faster and my skin tingle.  But like I said, I know so many great writers it is hard not to mention them.  I’m like that overly optimistic best friend.  I see something wonderful in most people, even if it is something small, and hope it grows into something great.

Name one small press poetry mag, other than nibble, that everyone should read?

Here you go with that singling out thing again!!  Well, I will push Full of Crow, because we are really trying to bring some great writers to the public and Lynn does an amazing job with their biography page and has set them up to be promotional tools.  We want all our writers to succeed above their own expectations.

I have much respect for Kendra Steiner Editions.  Bill Shute is a hard working man that puts out down-home made small collections of great writers.  I have been published by him a few times and he is serious business.  He makes his writers stretch their boundaries and pushes them to do more and want more from their writing.  I admire that about him.  He likes to try new things and often has themes for the year which always turn out very interesting.

Where do you want to see your own poetry?

This is a guilty desire, but I would like to be in The New York Quarterly.  I have also tried to get into Boxcar Poetry Review several times without luck.  I would like my work to be on that level someday and when I get accepted, then I will know I have arrived to that next level for my personal achievements.  On a whole, I am grateful to every single place that takes my work.  It is an honor that someone would like my work enough to want to publish it.  I never lose site of that and I think it helps to keep egotistical drama to a minimum.  I write because it pleases me and settles me and I think I have images to share.  Every time someone agrees with that I do a little dance around my apartment….still….after 3 years of publishing.

here are aleathia’s poems as they appeared in nibble:

After the party, standing in the rain

Today the rain has washed away that woman’s
face done in chalk on the pavement
while I spoke to you that afternoon weeks ago.

I can still see her like a ghost,
hair pulled back in a loose bun
at her neck with tendrils at her ears.

I had plans for her, plans for retouching
the wisps of hair curled round, kissing her cheek,
plumping the bottom lip and shining the eye.

But life is messy and it gets cleared
when the universe sees fit to do it.
And I am surprised by how little it took
to clean the palette of its dust, leaving
no trace on the surface of its existence.

But the sun has burned it in
to the palm of my hand, into my retina
and I can still see the curve of her forehead from here.


balancing a cup on the edge of a garbage can

agitated fingers
long and slender
twist the helix of time.
these are two roads
that never cross,
but call his mental state
a bad case of identity theft.
they incriminate his coat
as evidence against him.
he refuses to part with it,
lest we discover the truth
locked in to the fibers
of the fur trim
he strokes at his neck.

check back next friday for a new eight and click on our ‘eight’ page to see past interviews!


~ by nibblepoems on May 29, 2009.

3 Responses to “eight questions with aleathia drehmer”

  1. Thanks Jeff…

  2. Excellent interview. Excellent woman.


  3. I liked the Utah Phillips quote. And the rest of the answers, too.

    – –
    Father Luke

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