Tag Archives: PurgeATL

Awful Interview: Tom Cheshire

18 Aug
Tom Cheshire has pockets lined with his own words. That’s pretty nice, isn’t it? If only all of our pockets could be so lucky. He finds dogs more inspirational than cats. You can find him in and around Atlanta, writing on pizza boxes and napkins. He is surrounded by words, smiles, and good beer. His first chapbook , Just A Little Piece of Heartburn, is coming out from Safety Third Enterprises this week. To celebrate PURGEATL and Safety Third Enterprises are hosting a reading at Youngblood Gallery this Sunday, August 21st at 6:30pm. While you are there you should buy him a Stella. Preferably of the canned persuasion. I’m going to.
So Tom, your last name is Cheshire, like the cat. Would you say that correlation has influenced your life or work in any way?

I was called The Cheshire Cat for a minute when I was a kid. I was always smiling and laughing and had I guess you could say, a Cheshire Grin. Then people started calling me Tom Cat. I’m just glad my middle name isn’t Alley.

It hasn’t influenced me in any way though. I think I’ve looked to dogs more for inspiration.

How have dogs inspired you? Do you have any dogs? If so, what kind?

I think I’ve always wanted the life of a dog. I like to lay around and I enjoy when people pet me. I had a poodle named “Muffin” when I was a boy but she had an annoying bark. I used to walk by all of the gas station dogs in my neighborhood in Queens and just feel bad for them because they weren’t getting  the proper love and attention that they deserved. They had grease and oil all over them and they always looked lost and hungry.

I don’t have a dog right now because I am never home and that just wouldn’t be fair. I see myself getting a dog when I am older. I will either get a BIG ONE or a small one, a Shepherd or a Pug.

Your chapbook will be printed in your handwriting, and features a couple pages with ‘water stains’ on them. Where do you write your poetry and on what kind of surface? I hope you keep a lot of bar napkins with poems in your pockets.

I do keep a lot of bar napkins and random pieces of paper in my pocket. The last poem in the book is called “PANTS POCKET” and it pretty much sums it all up. You see someone that you once shared a life with. They walk away. You want to laugh, you want to cry, so why not go write something pretty down. We go through all kinds of emotions through out the day so why not document them on whatever you have near you. Inspiration struck me once and I wrote a song on a pizza box.

I write sitting down in bars. I write laying down in bed late at night. I write sitting on a park bench. I write in the shower and I write when I am riding my bicycle.

So basically I write things down, poems, short stories and songs on pieces of tissue and cardboard and just stuff them in my pants.

I’m guessing you didn’t keep the pizza box in your pocket. That would make it difficult to walk around. How do you decide how to order all of these rag-tag poems? Also, have you ever lost a poem? I lose a lot of things that I keep in my pockets.

I folded the pizza box up and put it under my hat. I couldn’t let that one get away. I really don’t know how I decide to put these groups of words in order, I think they kind of just, fall in place. You write them, you read them, you put them away for a minute, then you read them again. Then they just appear in the order they should be.

I have been pretty fortunate with keeping paper in my pocket. I don’t think I have lost too many. When I moved last year, I realized I had 9 boxes of just random thoughts and writings on the strangest pieces of paper.

What’s your favorite kind of beer?

I drink Stella to put me in a good mood. It is like Manna from Heaven. That is my first choice always. When I am low on cash, a Tecate with salt and lime, will do.

Have you had Stella in a can yet? It’s amazing.

No, where can you get it? I can’t wait to try it.

I get them at Green’s, they are sold in ten-packs. It is somehow even more delicious in a can.
Are you excited for your reading? Have you been practicing? What is your reading persona like?

I will be going to Green’s later. Thank you much, for the tip.

I am very excited for the reading. I have practiced reading the poems aloud in front of the mirror twice and that is it. I am done. I will do a run through of the poems the morning of.  

I don’t know if I have a style or persona. I like the idea of the the poems coming across as songs that tell stories. There are some that I will speak and some that I will sing.  

It’s going to be a really great event. Is there anything you would like to say to anyone who is considering going but is too wimpy to commit to it?

For those of you who don’t like poetry readings there will be music and for those of you who don’t like music there will be reading. It will be a really special night in a room full of joy and celebration. There will be something there for everyone. I don’t take myself too seriously and want to have a good time with this. And I want everyone there to have a great night and be part of the event. I am very proud of this book and think it would look good on any coffee table in the world.

I would also like to sincerely thank Matt at Safety Third Enterprises and Tim with Purge ATL for believing in me and this project. It took a lot of hands to make this possible. It takes team work to make a dream work baby. I want to thank Brian Manley and Fun With Robots, Marlow Sanchez for recording  the audio, the lovely ladies at Young Blood for hosting and you kind folks at Vouched Books.

It’s going to be a great night. Bring it. Cheers.

SSR: Just A Little Piece of Heartburn

15 Aug

Just a Little Piece of Heartburn is Tom Cheshire’s first poetry collection, but it doesn’t read like so. It’s a release from Safety Third Enterprises and you can order it here. For all my ATLiens, PurgeATL and Safety Third are hosting a release reading for Tom this Sunday, August 21st at Young Blood Gallery starting at 6:30pm. It will be a thing of wonder and glory.

The hesitation at the bottom of the glass, the thought No, I’ve already had too much… or How did this disappear so quickly? and sometimes even I’ll need about three more of these… either heartbreak or pleasure, you feel something and order another because it burns…Just A Little Piece of Heartburn takes you to that moment and keeps you there in a choke-hold, makes you think why the burn?

Vouched ATL Is Making Some News!

22 Jul

Vouched contributor and Vicereine, Laura Straub, is already making some news with her colonization of Atlanta!

Image from PurgeATL

Not only did her Awful Interview of Heather Christle get a nice, little nod over at the Poetry Foundation blog, but she has an interview herself up at PurgeATL where they turned the awful hose on her.

I’m really glad and proud of Laura’s achievements already in getting the Atlanta table up and running, and can’t wait to see where it’ll run from here.

If you’re in or around Atlanta on July 24th, you should head to the Youngblood Gallery for her first Vouched Presents reading (featuring Heather Christle, Tadd Adcox, Bruce Covey, Amy McDaniel, and Ben Spivey!) and give her a big pat on the back for me.

Vouched Atlanta Launch Reading!

7 Jul

¡importante!  Our launch reading date has been changed to Sunday, July 24th!

Great news everybody! The time has come for the VouchedATL launch reading!

RSVP on facebook! 

It’s time to celebrate! What better way to do so than with some of our favorite writers? Come join us at the Young Blood Gallery and Boutique (656 N Highland Ave., 30306) on Sunday, July 24th at 6:30pm. Don’t worry, admission is free. There will be wine, beer, books, and lots of awesome readers.

A boatload of thank you’s go out to PurgeATL for their sponsorship and assistance in planning the reading, specifically Matt DeBenedictis, Johnny Carroll, and Tim Song. Also to Jason Travis for the awesome poster design.

Another round of thank you’s to Maggie White and everyone at the Young Blood Gallery for so graciously donating their space.

Come and join us! You don’t want to hear about this second-hand afterwards, do you? (You really don’t)

Atlanta Vouched Table

31 May

Vouched Books is launching it’s first colony in Atlanta! You may have heard that already, it’s been mentioned in a few different places. But this is my ‘formal announcement’ of sorts. As formal as I can muster, that is.

I’ve put off writing this. Colonization and colonialism have a terrible connotation from what happened between 1500 and 1800. Rest assured Atlantans, I’m not doing this the Portugese, English, French, Dutch, or Spanish way. This is not that kind of colony. Although I can’t speak for Pocahontas and her naked cartwheels through Jamestown. Please don’t doubt that I will do everything in my power to get the people of Atlanta to do naked cartwheels over small press books.

Naked cartwheels or no, this is a new kind of colony. Vouched Books in Atlanta aims to do much the same thing Christopher started in Indianapolis. We love words and the people who write them. Our mission is to get those works into the hands of the people of our cities. It will not result in a Trail of Tears or a caste system. We exist to raise up the writers we love, the words those writers create. There are so many that I know and love, and it is my mission to deliver them to Atlanta.

I feel so honored to offer this service to my city.

A colony cannot be launched single-handedly. First and foremost, Christopher has been the most wonderful mentor, big brother, and best friend I could hope for. He has walked me through this process step by step, introduced me to a lot of great people, publishers, and writers, and helped me get everything underway to do this correctly. There are plenty of new presses that I am so excited to have forged relationships with over the past few months, and many who we have already done established work with who have been equally supportive of the new colony.

Atlanta has a lot of great talent who have also been helpful, who there is no way I could have gotten this underway without them. Amy McDaniel, Jamie Iredell, and Blake Butler have been enthusiastic of the cause, even going so far as to helping me with a soft launch this June 4th at Artlantis (come visit us!). Then there’s the Purge ATL family , specifically Tim Song, Johnny Carroll, and Matt Debenedictus, who have been so kind as to assist me in organizing a launch reading upcoming in July, and helping me find different area events to get involved in. Wink Atlanta is another organization I have grown to know and love over the past few months, and I aim to continue to work with them closely into the future. They are a literary organization of writers who tutor Atlantan children in creative writing, and help the students publish and publicly read their work.

I feel so privileged to find myself aligned with so many people and causes. When this colony gets up and running it will be due to all of these assisted efforts.

To everyone who has supported and helped me with this cause, I solemnly vow to be the best damned Vicereine this city has ever seen.

So to start off with, if you’re in the Atlanta area, come to Artlantis and say hello Amy McDaniel and me at our booth at this Saturday June 4th! We’ll be in front of Druid Hills Baptist Church at 1085 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, 30306.

You can follow the VouchedATL twitter for news and updates as well!