Sweet Connections: Sarah Fawn Montgomery

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.

Name: Sarah Fawn Montgomery
Title of Piece Published in Sweet: White Witch as a Young Girl
Issue:  10.2

Montgomery Photo

Find her:
Twitter

Sarah is currently an Assistant Professor at Bridgewater State University outside Boston. Most days you can find her walking around the lake by her home, which she says is vibrant and always changing. You can learn more about Sarah by visiting her website.

 

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

My book Quite Mad: An American Pharma Memoir was published by The Ohio State University! It was terrifying to share my story about mental illness, medical sexism, and big pharma with the world, but also validating to connect to many other folks who are struggling.

Montgomery Book

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

After Quite Mad, I’ve been writing standalone essays again and have pieces coming out in some exciting places like Brevity, Split Lip Magazine, and Essay Daily. And I’m also working on my next nonfiction book

Who is your favorite author?

There are too many to list, but recently I’ve been (re)reading Jericho Brown, Natalie Scenters-Zapico, Donika Kelly, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Ada Limón, and other favorite poets.

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

Again, there are too many to list, but in the past few weeks I’ve read If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim, Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett, and On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong.

What inspires you to write?

Reading, nature, weird science facts, a great meal, solitude.

What is your favorite sweet?

I have quite the sweet tooth and try to have dessert as many nights as possible—I recently had a lavender caramel that won’t leave my dreams.

Thank you, Sarah, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

Sweet Connections: Dinty W. Moore

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.

Name: Dinty W. Moore
Title of Piece Published in Sweet: Frida’s Circle
Issue:  3.2

Moore Photo

Find him:
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Dinty spends his time in his Appalachian Ohio garden trimming and pruning and picking off dead leaves, tying up the tomato plants that are weighted down with watery green globes, chasing away bugs, calculating when to harvest and what to cook. Dinty is also finishing a book. You can learn more about Dinty by visiting his website.

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

A few new books. A few grey hairs. I’ve lost some weight.

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

The book-in-progress is titled, for now at least, To Hell With It, and examines the myth of Hell and the mostly man-made theological construct of the Original Sin through the lens of Dante’s Inferno. It is an indictment of organized religion and “inventive” Christian theologians, and also, if I pull it off, a funny book filled with odd stories and facts.

Who is your favorite author?

This changes weekly, but I always cite Vonnegut, Didion, Dickens, Benchley (Robert, not Nathaniel), and John McPhee.

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

This is truly impossible to say.

What inspires you to write?

Questions that haunt me, make my brain itch, that seem unanswerable.

What is your favorite sweet?

Gelato, from GROM – Il Gelato come una volta
Via del Campanile, 2, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Moore Sweet

Thank you, Dinty, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

Sweet Connections: Gianna Russo

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.

Name: Gianna Russo
Title of Piece Published in Sweet: Somewhere Jazz
Issue:  10.2

Russo Photo.jpg

Gianna is living in her 1928 bungalow in Seminole Heights, where the distant gunshots are fewer and the local hipsters are plentiful. She loves it there. Gianna continues teaching creative and academic writing at Saint Leo University, where she also directs the Sandhill Writers Retreat. Gianna is still puttering around in her garden and dancing in her imagination. You can learn more about Gianna by visiting her website.

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

A ton has happened since then! I went back to school and earned an MFA in Poetry from The University of Tampa. My second poetry collection, One House Down, is due out in October 2019 from Madville Press.  I’ve had a number of magazine publications, and I was named Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay Local Poet.

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

I’m working on new poems and a memoir. The poems are coalescing around ideas of immigration, social justice and the haves and have-nots. They’ve been influenced by my having a Mexican daughter-in-law and by a visit to Immokolee, Florida, where migrant farm workers grow and pick the majority of our fresh vegetables. It was very troubling to witness their living conditions.  The hateful rhetoric and actions coming from the current US administration is also influencing this work.

I’m also working on a biographical memoir about my grandfather.  He was a Florida legislator in the early 1920s and then a judge in Tampa.  I’m using archival papers and my own memories and experiences to tell our story.

Who is your favorite author?

For a book lover and literature teacher, that’s a terrible question!  My favorites right now include my numerous mentors (they know who they are), along with Ross Gay, Natalie Diaz, Ada Limon, and the Appalachian writer Ron Rash.

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

Again, this only applies to right now: A Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay.

What inspires you to write?

The sound of owls at dusk, the feel of palm fronds in the rain, the taste of good wine, the smell of sulfur water, the sight of bats among skyscrapers, powerful poems, and provocative conversations, to name a few.

What is your favorite sweet?

I have a huge sweet tooth.  One of my favorites is classic flan de leche.  This recipe supposedly comes from the now-defunct, very famous Spanish restaurant in Ybor City, Las Novedades, where it is said Teddy Roosevelt and his Roughriders ate before embarking to Cuba for the Spanish American War.  I was given the recipe thirty years ago by my neighbor, Hortensia Ramirez, whose uncle had worked there before it closed sometime in the latter part of the 20th century. This flan is absolutely the best!  And easy!

You will need 4-6 ceramic custard cups
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can water
4 eggs beaten well
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
4-5 tbsp. sugar

First, caramelize the sugar by heating it on high in a nonreactive pan until it starts to melt. Reduce to medium and stir until sugar turns golden brown.  Pour into custard cups.  Beat together the other ingredients. Pour over the sugar in the cups.  Place the cups in a large pan with water that comes up to about the half the height of the cups (a water bath). Bake in a 350 oven for 20 minutes, then reduce oven to 300 and bake for an hour or until set (insert toothpick to test).  Allow cups to cool on a rack and overnight in the fridge (cover with plastic wrap once cool).  To unmold, run a knife around the edge of each cup and turn it over onto a plate.  The sugar should cascade over the flan.  Delicious!

For more info see:
http://www.tampapix.com/lasnovedades.htm

 Thank you, Gianna, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

Sweet Connections: Jacqueline Doyle

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.

 Name: Jacqueline Doyle
Title of Piece Published in Sweet: Little Colored Pills
Issue:  11.2

Doyle Photo

Find her:
Twitter
Facebook

Jacqueline lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she teaches at California State University East Bay. Summer is generally a relaxing and productive time for teachers, but Jacqueline and her husband both had jury duty, and both were chosen for trials. They are also having work done on the largest room in their small house, so the contents of many bookcases are stacked everywhere you turn. Right now, you would find her in a state of chaos. You can learn more about Jacqueline by visiting her website.

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

I won a creative nonfiction contest at The Sunlight Press with a flash essay connected to my publication in Sweet. I’ve also had lyric essays and flash published in The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Juked, The Collagist, and Ghost Proposal, and accepted for publication in Little Fiction/Big Truths, F(r)iction, CRAFT Literary Magazine, the Minnesota Review, Pithead Chapel, and Passages North. My flash chapbook The Missing Girl (Black Lawrence Press) is over a year old, but I just had another review in Bellingham Review and an interview in Heavy Feather Review. I’m thrilled that the book continues to attract new readers.

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

Coming out as bipolar in “Little Colored Pills” was a major step for me, and inspired a longer project-in-progress that is part nonfiction, part fiction, part memoir: an exploration of my story and my bipolar aunt’s story within the expanded context of women and the history of the treatment of mental illness. The Lunatics’ Ball combines a lot of very disparate materials and kinds of writing and I’m still not sure what shape it will take. The title flash is coming out in F(r)iction next month; I’ve published two of the historical flash in The Collagist and a flash fiction in Connotation Press; a short hybrid essay will be published in Passages North next spring.

Who is your favorite author?

Years ago, I wrote my Ph.D. dissertation on the significance of modernist writers’ competing versions of Edgar Allan Poe. I’ve been thinking about Poe again lately, a bipolar author who fascinated me long before I was diagnosed. Two writers that I recently rediscovered were Shirley Jackson and Jayne Anne Phillips.

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

I’m sure I read Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House before, but when I reread it last year I was blown away. I also loved rereading Jayne Anne Phillips’ Black Tickets. My favorite books are always changing.

What inspires you to write?

Breaking silences. Recovering lost voices. I started writing late in life, so I feel greater urgency than I might have if I’d started earlier. I feel like there’s a lot to say, and not enough time for it.

What is your favorite sweet?

My favorite recent dessert was a tres leches cake at a party for Cristina Garcia’s upcoming play, adapted from her novel The Lady Matador’s Hotel. Amazing and delicious! (The dessert and the book.) Here’s a Cuban-style recipe: https://www.justapinch.com/recipes/dessert/cake/tres-leches-three-milks-cake-cuban-style.html

 Thank you, Jacqueline, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

Sweet Connections: Carmella Guiol

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.

Name: Carmella Guiol
Title of Piece Published in Sweet: Fanmail – Sarah Einstein
Issue: 9.2

Guiol Photo

Find her:
Twitter
Instagram
Medium
Carmella recently moved from Miami to San Juan, Puerto Rico where she plans on supporting the local agriculture movement and writing a memoir about her relationship with her father who suffers from early-onset dementia.
You can learn more about Carmella by visiting her website and reading her weekly newsletter.

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

Since my Sweet publication, I’ve taught poetry to Miami elementary students in English, French, Spanish, and Creole. I’ve also started performing as a stand-up comic.

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

I’m excited about my weekly newsletter, Dispatches from my Digital Life, in which I explore issues of digital health, and the addictive nature of our relationships to our handheld devices and online identities.  I’ve written about a yearlong social media sabbatical I took for Orion magazine. I’m also in the early stages of writing a memoir about my relationship with my extraordinary father and his journey from sailboat captain to dementia patient.

Who is your favorite author?

Joy Harjo

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

I love memoirs because I love seeing someone’s life experience from the inside. Choosing my favorite books is hard, so instead I’ll just tell you what I’ve recently read and loved: Native Country of the Heart by Cherrie Moraga, Memory Palace by Mira Bartok, Becoming by Michelle Obama, The Baltimore Book of the Dead by Marion Winik, The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube by Blair Braverman, Rough Beauty by Karen Auvirnen, and Paula by Isabel Allende.

 What inspires you to write?

Writing allows me to connect with myself and the world around me in a deeper way.

What is your favorite sweet?

My favorite sweet is the French staple, crepes. In my family, we have a long tradition of Sunday crepe brunches, and while we make them with all kinds of toppings, my favorite is the simple sucre/citron combination: brown sugar and lemon. You can’t go wrong!

 Thank you, Carmella, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

Sweet Connections: Adam Hughes

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.

Name: Adam Hughes
Title of Piece Published in Sweet: Grace
Issue:  7.3

Hughes Photo

 

Find him:
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Instagram
Facebook

Adam lives outside of Lynchburg, Virginia where he is a second year MFA student at Randolph College. You can learn more about Adam on his website.

 

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

Since appearing in Sweet I’ve published two more full length collections. Allow the Stars to Catch Me When I Rise (which includes my poem “Grace” which appeared in Sweet) came out from Salmon Poetry in 2017 and Deep Cries Out to Deep came out from Aldrich Press also in 2017. I’ve also begun my MFA at Randolph College.

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

I’ve begun assembling another collection as well as a concept collection that revolves around a fictional society where maps have been outlawed. The poems ask the questions of why, what would be the ramifications, and what would be lost.

Who is your favorite author?

So many right now. Kaveh Akbar, Ilya Kaminsky, Diana Khoi Nguyen. I’m also really drawn to non-fiction authors Robert Macfarlane and Tony Horwitz.

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

Right now, I’d say Ilya Kaminsky’s Deaf Republic hit me in a way I’m not sure any other poetry collection ever has.

What inspires you to write?

I’m not sure how to answer this without reverting to cliché. I was a pastor for seven years and, as a recovering evangelical, my relationship with the Divine Other is a continually evolving, dynamic thing that appears constantly in my writing. I also write as a father, a divorcee, a newly engaged man, an amateur rugby player; all my various selves give inspiration to my writing.

What is your favorite sweet?

As a type 1 diabetic, I shouldn’t have too many answers to this one. But I do. A lot of them. Too many, really. For now, I’ll simply say that the apple cobbler my fiancé makes is my favorite sweet. I had some for breakfast this morning!

Thank you, Adam, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

Sweet Connections: Patrice Gopo

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.

Name: Patrice Gopo
Title of Piece Published in Sweet: Two Shorts
Issue:  7.1

Version 2

Find her:
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Instagram
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Patrice lives in Charlotte, North Carolina where she is successfully inhabiting a state of rest in the aftermath of the release of her essay collection last August. You can learn more about Patrice on her website.

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

It’s been a really neat couple of years since Sweet first published my work. The North Carolina Arts Council chose me as one of their 2017-2018 Literature Fellows. A huge honor. Then my first book All the Colors We Will See released in August 2018. The book is an essay collection about race, racial identity formation, immigration, and belonging (and includes the essay “Before” that originally appeared in Sweet). Barnes and Noble chose it as a Fall 2018 Discover Great New Writers Selection. Since the book released, I’ve had many neat opportunities to speak to corporations, nonprofits, universities, and other organizations about topics in the book and the power of sharing personal stories.

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

Life has been quite hectic since my essay collection released. This summer, I’ve been intentional about taking time off to rest, to spend time with my family, and to possibly create space for new ideas to form. But one project that reached completion earlier this year that still makes me excited is the CharlotteLit Beautiful Truth Initiative—a city-wide initiative where we brought together people in the community with the purpose of leading them through activities to help them identify and share their stories as a way of building connection. I developed the curriculum for this initiative. You can read more about it here: https://www.charlottelit.org/blog/beautiful-truth-initiative/

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

Oh, there are so many authors and books that it’s impossible to narrow it down to just one. Marita Golden’s Don’t Play in the Sun is one of my favorites. I’ll also share a few books I’ve read in the last couple of months that I really love. Mira Jacob’s graphic memoir Good Talk, Grace Talusan’s memoir The Body Papers, and LaTanya McQueen’s essay collection And It Begins Like This. I love creative nonfiction, and these books are excellent examples all in their own unique ways.

What inspires you to write?

On a larger scale: a love of sharing stories and a belief that stories have power to shift mindsets and help us build a more equitable world. On a more microscopic level: a love of the rhythm of language and the beauty conveyed through words arranged in a particular way.

What is your favorite sweet?

Strawberry rhubarb pie and ice-cream. Better together! Sadly, no recipe as I’ve never made a strawberry rhubarb pie. I was making homemade ice-cream a few months back, but none of the batches ever turned out quite how I wanted . . .

Thank you, Patrice, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

Sweet Connections: M.P. Stout

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. 

Name: M.P. Stout
Title of Piece published in Sweet: At the Annual Christmas Party 
Issue:  8.1

MS-3

Find her:
Twitter

Meg resides in Southern Maine and juggles her time between working in marketing technology, writing, exploring the woods, and homesteading. She does not currently have a website.

 

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication? 

I’d say my biggest accomplishment was finally deciding to take the MFA leap—something I’ve been wanting to do for years. I’m currently pursuing an MFA in poetry at Warren Wilson College. It’s such a blessing to have this time to focus on improving my craft, reading constantly, and absorbing everything I can learn from my fellow writers.

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about? 

I love to forage for wild mushrooms, so unsurprisingly they have been popping up in my work a lot lately. I’m having fun experimenting with poems that confuse and scramble the inner and outer worlds. I’m interested in how emotion can suffuse the natural landscape, and I’m working on a number of poems that talk about and around grief.

Who is your favorite author? 

Most recently, I’ve fallen in love with work by Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Louise Gluck, Yusef Komunyakaa, Elizabeth Bishop, Ross Gay, and Mark Doty.

What is your favorite poem/essay/book? 

Impossible to narrow it down, but in my late teens I got my hands on a copy of Strike Sparks by Sharon Olds. Her work opened my mind to what poetry could do and be.

What inspires you to write? 

I spend a lot of time in the woods, which always feeds my creative mind. This year, I’ve written about bioluminescent mushrooms, invasive moths, snapping turtle sex… all sorts of oddities. Since moving to a rural home, climate change has been haunting my thoughts more than ever. I’m noticing it appearing everywhere in my work. The more I fall in love with the land, the more painful it becomes to observe what has happened—and what could happen—to the natural communities I’ve gotten to know.

What is your favorite sweet?

Vegan chocolate mousse is so easy and rich. Just chill a can of coconut cream, then blend with cocoa powder, honey, and a dash of salt.

Thank you, Meg, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

Sweet Connections: Sarah Ann Winn

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.

Name: Sarah Ann Winn
Title of Piece Published in Sweet: Funeral FAQs
Issue: 9.2

squarephoto

Find her:

Twitter
Instagram

Sarah teaches online at the Loft Literary Center and does poetry readings and workshops across the country. You can find out more about her at http://www.bluebirdwords.com.

What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?

My first full-length collection, Alma Almanac, was selected by Elaine Equi as the winner of the Barrow Street Book Prize and was published in 2017! I also was on the Wigleaf Longlist in 2017, and won Press 53’s September Prime Number contest last year. 2017 was a big year for poet dreams! More recently, my fifth chapbook, Ever After the End Matter was released by Porkbelly Press this year.

alma almanac sarah ann winn cover

 

everaftertheendmatter (1)

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?

I’m working on completing a full length book of persona poems imagining a crumbling marriage between the couple named after the online retailer Dot & Bo. Their frenetic redecorating emails still inspire me!

Who is your favorite author?

Terry Pratchett. I feel a little guilty loving him the way I do, considering there are a great
number of poets who I adore, but it’s Pratchett whose books I fall asleep to at night.

What is your favorite poem/essay/book?

That’s such a tough question, especially for a former librarian! I think right now it’s Madness, Rack, and Honey by Mary Ruefle because it’s the one I’m in the middle of rereading. If you’d ask me again in a day, it would probably be whatever book I was reading that moment. Lynda Barry’s What It Is is upside down on my desk with post-its sticking out of various pages, so maybe that would be tomorrow’s? Carol Ann Duffy’s The World’s Wife has been stuffed in my travel bag for the last couple of trips, and I’m luxuriating in it all over again. Who can pick just one??

What inspires you to write?

Reading, prompts, being out in the world. I’m a daily writer, so anything I’ve seen or heard the day before is fodder for the next day’s writing.

What is your favorite sweet?

I love my grandma’s apple dumplings. This recipe is pretty close, although she doesn’t use brown sugar. Don’t handle the crust too much. She also sometimes uses red-
hot candies to make the sauce pink/more cinnamon-y. YUM!
https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/apple-dumplings-with-sauce/

Thank you, Sarah, for taking the time to reconnect with us.We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!

Sweet Connections: Lisa Lopez Smith

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.

Name: Lisa Lopez Smith
Title of Piece Published in Sweet: film reel 
Issue:  10.1

IMG_0014

 

Find her:
Twitter 

Lisa resides at her home in Mexico after visiting her hometown in Canada. She hopes to eventually have a website.

 


What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication? 

I published an article in Lacuna Magazine about walking across the Sonoran Desert from Mexico to the States to remember those who have died making the journey, and a poem in CuiZine: Journal of Canadian Food Culture about the time we slaughtered one of our sheep here at home.

Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about? 

I am working on a poetry chapbook and revising my YA novel.

Who is your favorite author?

I recently finished Luis Alberto Urrea’s The Hummingbird’s Daughter, and fell in love with his prose that often reads like poetry, and how he breathed life into images of Mexico during the revolution.

What is your favorite poem/essay/book? 

Jean Vanier’s Becoming Human has a permanent spot on my bedside table so that when I finish it, I can just start reading it again.

What inspires you to write? 

Writing is how I make sense of the world. Even on a bad day writing still has some satisfaction in it, that at least I showed up doing what I’m here to do.

What is your favorite sweet? 

The raw vegan Black Forest Cake from Alissa Cohen’s raw/vegan recipe book: cherries, nuts, carob, avocado magic!

Thank you, Lisa, for taking the time to reconnect with us.  We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!