AN INTERVIEW WITH BRIAN CLEMENTS FROM “FIREWHEEL EDITIONS”

sentence6_cover1brian clements from firewheel editions was nice and did an interview with me. feast yo eyes nah children.

(interview after break yo)

HTMLGIANT: how did firewheel get started and what is the origin of the name?

BRIAN CLEMENTS: >Firewheel started in a fit of manic energy
when I lived in Dallas and thought it would be a good idea to publish chapbooks that would have a hard time getting published anywhere else, whether due to their content, style, typography, unconventional design, whatever. The mission of the press morphed a bit when I began publishing
Sentence. I just recently revived the chapbook series.

The name came from either a sunstroke-induced vision of Sol’s conflagration or the name of the area in Garland, TX where I used to live,which, in turn, is named after a flower, I think–can’t remember which.

HMLGIANT: can you describe a physical reaction you have when reading what you feel is a great book? i tend to feel like i want to get on the ground on my side and do that thing where you run in a circle.

BC: Huh, I think I actually did that when I read some of your poems. Typically when I read a good book, like when I read John Yau’s Corpse and Mirror the first time, I press my face between the pages, shake it back and forth and
make that blubba-blubba-blubba sound with my mouth. Or sometimes I just stare into space and enjoy that feeling you get that feels like you’re really stoned. Sometimes I even read the poem again.

HTMLGIANT: what is it that you feel makes a great book or at least one firewheel would want to publish?

BC: I’ll pass on the difficulties of talking about what makes a book “great.” What makes me go blubba-blubba-blubba and/or want to publish a book, though, could be any number of qualities, including a novel sense of humor,
formal/stylistic innovation, or a level of thinking-in-the-poem that I don’t typically see in many poems in the journals or in most books. Basically, I want to be changed by the work; I want the way I think or the way I read from that point on to be changed.

HMLGIANT: is it ok to take a pickle from the jar using your fingers or should you always use a fork?

BC: Depends on whose jar it is and where my fingers have been recently.

HTMLGIANT: if you had to stop using paper to print on, what would you print on?

BC: Nanobots that navigate directly into the brain and create the illusion that a god/dess, ghost, demon, or evil twin is whispering in your ear.

HTMLGIANT: please describe the physical make-up of these three genres as if they were humans:

BC:

flash fiction: guy at the party who really doesn’t want to be there, then goes home and turns lead into gold

poetry: Anne Carson

short story: bloviating fat guy who sits in the seat next to you on the plane but to your astonishment occasionally transforms into Marion Jones. Then, alas, it’s the fat guy again.

HTMLGIANT: please write a four to six line theme song for firewheel

BC: Paa paa paa ta-ti-tum
Taa Taa ti-ti ta-ta dum
Pada pada pada pi-pi-pum
Ta-ta tada tada tedium
Bum bum Firewheel Editions!

HTMLGIANT: what is the first book you read that made you pursue writing/publishing?

BC: Writing: Seamus Heaney’s _Selected Poems_ in 1985, especially the bog people poems

Publishing: I’m loath to admit it was the whole “Best of…” trend back in the mid-90s that got me and Joe Ahearn thinking we could cash in with a Best Texas Writing anthology that would sell thousands of copies and enable
us to publish loads of other stuff we really liked.

HTMLGIANT: have you ever been in a fight in grade school and if so, what was the circumstance?

BC: Yeah, I took a couple of wild swings at an older kid who was badgering me on the basketball court in about 7th grade. He popped me in the eye and that was the end of that, except for the three licks I got from the coach’s
custom-made paddle.