Interview with Ben Schmitt who was Published in Solo Novo Press!

When were you first introduced to Solo Novo?

The press had sent out a call for writers to submit work written in the last few months of 2011 and I answered that call by submitting some of my poems.

Talk about your attraction to Solo Novo and how you were first brought into the press/community.

At the time the call for submissions was sent out there were a lot of interesting things happening in my life and in the country as a whole. This was the heyday of the Occupy Movement in which I took part and was nearly arrested along with 30 other protestors as we all sat down together to block the intersection of 4th and Pike in Downtown Seattle. I liked that the press recognized this moment as something worthy of dedicating an issue to and so I submitted my work. Paula Lowe eventually reached out to me and I ended up publishing two poems in that issue.

Describe the poetics involved with Solo Novo as a whole and talk about how your own work relates (or does not) to those poetics.

The latest issue of Solo Novo is really dedicated towards the intersection of the personal and the political. The press is interested in both the internal utterances of Dickinson and the wide sweeping exuberance of Whitman, and it is most interested in the space where the two of them meet. This is a space that my work inhabits and so this journal is a perfect fit for my work. The two poems that I published in Solo Novo are both about how we as individuals respond to forces that are completely out of our control.

What do you plan to bring to the table the night of Breadline?

I plan to bring humor, energy, and my love of the written word.

Is this your usual way of presenting your work, yourself?

Yes, I have always read my own work.

What needs to happen to poetry for its relevance as we continue into the 21st century and how are you championing support for those needs?

For poetry to be relevant I think we as writers need to embrace new technologies and be adaptable to the myriad changes happening in the world. We as writers should not think so narrowly as to believe that poetry can only exist on the pages of a book, in fact for centuries poetry was passed down through the spoken word. On the other hand I do not think that this means we should shift our focus away from the written word, I love books too much for that and I do not think that the poetry slam movement is an adequate replacement to an already firmly established form. However, what I am saying is that tablets, smartphones, kindles, etc. give us opportunities to explore and innovate and we as poets should be actively seeking out those opportunities. I think The Breadline does a great job of this, and I am pleased to be working with them. This is one way that I am supporting these needs I have just identified, the other is using social media to call attention to readings like The Breadline and to poets that a lot of people might not know about.

Anything else that can help the Breadline crowd know you better?

I am publishing my first book of poems later this year. I am married to an amazing woman.


The Fine Line, Danse Macabre, Otis Nebula, Turk’s Head Review, Poetry for the Masses, Splash of Red, Subliminal Interiors, The Write Place at the Right Time, The Pacific Review, Solo Novo, The Write Room, and The Chaffey Review. He currently lives in Seattle with his beautiful wife. His first book of poems will be released later this year.


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