AWP 2017 is Here!
Red Hen is really looking forward to AWP 2017. Celebrating the conference's 50th Anniversary, this years extravaganza is sure to be special. Join us in Washington, DC from February 8th to 11th for heaps of literary fun!
For more information on our two off-site events, our author signing schedule for the weekend, and a list of panels that includes Red Hen authors/Los Angeles Review editors/advisory board members/ friends of the Press, please see our AWP 2017 event page.
Don't forget to stop by our booth (#412/414/416) and say hello!
Latest Blog Post...
LA Fiction Anthology Interview: Clint Margrave
An Interview With Clint Margrave
What role does Los Angeles play in your fiction?
If am I to believe that my environment affects every thought, every experience, and every moment of inspiration, which I do, then I’d have to say Los Angeles plays a tremendous role in all my writing. Having been born and raised in the greater L.A. area, that role is mostly unconscious, whether the source of inspiration comes from my own friends and colleagues or the people I share lines with at the grocery store or DMV or post office, or if it comes from the hours I spend sitting in traffic dreaming up stories or poems, or the 70-degrees-and blue-skies-all-the-time weather. I once had a publisher tell me that the sun appears in a lot of my stuff. This is something completely unconscious and obviously a result of my environment. I suppose if I lived somewhere else, it might be rain or snow. But I write about snow as much as I set foot in it, which is never. And I can only dream of rain.
Place shapes fiction mostly on an unconscious level for me and I would imagine for many other writers. I never sit down and say, “I shall write about L.A. today.” When I travel, sometimes I think this way, but I need more than just place. I need the people that inform the place. Though our basic humanness may be the same, the type of people you meet can differ depending on place. These are the people who can inform and inspire your characters. The apartments or houses we live in, whether we drive to work or take a subway, the smells, the weather, the type of work people do, even the food can inform a story. A character may differ in his thoughts, attitudes, actions, feelings, depending on where he eats his lunch. If he gets his lunch from a local taqueria as opposed to a diner, or if he cooks it himself from fresh eggs on his own isolated farm, or runs through a Del Taco drive thru and eats it in traffic on the 405. All of this matters to a story.
LA fiction and LA poetry have been a huge influence on me. As a young man, I learned humor, clarity, and the beauty of simplicity from writers like John Fante and Charles Bukowski. LA writing in general has always been about clear, simple prose, even if you think back to the detective novels of Raymond Chandler. Though I was never as taken by Chandler as many people I know, I was indirectly influenced, oddly enough, via a writer like Albert Camus, who was an early champion of him.
In all honesty, teaching gets in the way of writing and writing gets in the way of teaching. I love to be in the classroom inspiring students, but the way the current adjunct system is set up, I have to teach an absurd amount of classes just to make a decent full-time salary, and unfortunately spend more time on the freeway driving in between schools than I get to be in the classroom. I don’t recommend it for other writers. The job takes up the same side of your brain. MFA culture has turned a bunch of aspiring writers into composition teachers. I’m not sure how good this is for the future of writing. We still need writers out there doing other things, sailing on ships or driving ambulances or delivering mail or working in an office or factory. Also, I think academia can be a destructive force for a writer. When writers’ work is too connected to their resume, they tend not to write as truthfully. And a lot of writers these days are writing stories for tenure review and not because they have to say something.
I just finished a novel and am looking for an agent with the hope of publishing it. A new book of poems has just been released by NYQ Books called Salute the Wreckage. Other than that, just writing more short stories and poems.
Clint Margrave is the author of Salute the Wreckage (2016) and The Early Death of Men (2012), both published by NYQ Books. His stories and poems have also appeared in The New York Quarterly, Rattle, Cimarron Review, Word Riot, 3AM, Bartleby Snopes, Ambit (UK), as well as in LA Fiction Anthology: Southland Stories by Southland Writers by Red Hen Press. He lives in Los Angeles, CA. For more information: www.clintmargrave.com