Each week we will be connecting with our contributors showing where they have been, where they are now, and what’s up for the future.
Brian can be found wandering the halls of North Hennepin Community College (just outside the border of Minneapolis) or enjoying the outdoors at his house just a few miles north when he’s not freezing during the winter months. You can learn more about Brian by visiting his website.
What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?
I’ve had a number of poems published since I was published in Sweet (and since Sweet Publications released my chapbook). Some are here: https://briandbaumgart.wixsite.com/website/published-selections, but I also have a poem coming out this summer in the eco-anthology, Rewilding: Poems of the Environment, from Split Rock Review and Flexible Press.
Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?
I’ve completed a poetry manuscript that’s out making its publisher rounds, titled Naked in Public, or Kiss Me Goodnight, but what’s currently keeping me up at night is the novel I’m working on that initially sprung to life in 2006 as a short story, but then demanded several hundred more pages. It’s inspired by modern and ancient folklore, both of which guide the movement of the book.
Who is your favorite author?
Like so many others, I don’t have a favorite, but I’ve recently been digging into more Octavia Butler, so maybe she’s my current favorite. Ilya Kominsky destroyed me with Deaf Republic, too.
What is your favorite poem/essay/book?
Again, no favorites, but I’ve now read and re-read Lindsay Lusby’s Catechesis: a postpastoral a dozen times in the past few months. It’s a lovely collection that incorporates visual poetry with written poetry, and it plays with the horror genre of pop culture, including persona poems relating to The Silence of the Lambs and the Alien films. Jennifer Givhan’s new novel, Trinity Sight, will also blow you away.
What inspires you to write?
Fear. Sometimes it’s my own fear, whether that’s fear of not being able to say the things I feel must be said, or the fear I have of not speaking up for others. But often it’s the fear others have: the fear of the world around them. Sometimes it comes out as anxiety, and is completely internal, but other times it arrives as cruelty to others. I write because I fear that this cruelty can get worse. Okay, I also write from joy, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned—there isn’t—it’s that many people struggle sharing their joy—sometimes I’m one of those people.
What is your favorite sweet?
I think my favorite is the Filipino dish, biko, which is a sweet rice cake. The sugar boils and browns on top; it’s thick and gooey, and when cooked just right… Sorry, keyboard has drool on it.
Thank you, Brian, for taking the time to reconnect with us. We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!