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What is the best part about being considered an “erotic” poet?

People automatically assume I’m having great sex.

 

I understand that with your latest book you are up to your old tricks?

Yes. Enter Here (KYSO Flash Press, 2017), is the follow up to my first erotic collection, How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and other heart-stab poems (Sybaritic Press, 2014). I’m told Enter Here gives a whole new meaning to noir.

 

Didn’t you take a sad detour into elegies in 2015?

I did. My chapbook about the life and death of my son in 2007, State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies (KYSO Flash Press), was well received, but writing it and promoting/reading it was (emotionally) a very bumpy ride. My Grandma Rose told me when she buried my infamous Uncle Kenny, her only son, “It’s unnatural for a mother to outlive her children.” It wasn’t until I buried my own son that I understood that devastation. Writing State of Grace was cathartic for me, and for many of my readers, but some wounds never heal.

 

In Enter Here, Los Angeles almost seems to be another character in the poems.

Yes. The poems in the new collection have a very strong sense of place. Whether it’s a cafe downtown on Spring Street, a strip club tucked away on an industrial street on the Westside, or a diner in the Mojave Desert along Route 66, the “where” of the poem is important to me—it’s an anchor, a way into the poem.

 

Who is the “I” (and/or the eye) in your poems?

Although I write the occasional persona poem, most of the time, I confess, the “I” is me. Quite often the “me” I was at twelve or eighteen or twenty-five. I think of those years as the ones in which I lost myself. I’ve been finding myself ever since.

 

Men or women?

Yes.

 

Hard or soft?

I like my men hard and my women forgiving.

 

Poets you’re reading right now?

Jack Gilbert’s Collected Poems, Marie Howe’s Magdalene, Chiwan Choi’s The Yellow House, Phoebe MacAdam’s The Large Economy of the Beautiful, Jack Grapes’ extraordinary book of haiku, Wide Road.

 

Favorite recently read novels?

Ann Patchett’s latest, Commonwealth, and Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies were my two favorite novels of 2016.

 

Who do you listen to when you write?

The voices in my head.

 

You continue to identify foremost as a poet. What made you choose to focus primarily on poetry rather than photography?

Photography to me is like breathing. I’ve been shooting since I was ten. It “just happens”—like the camera is an extension of my eye. Seamless.

Poetry is harder. A deliberate act. With poetry I have specific goals. My friend, the poet/performance artist, Nicelle Nicelle, said it perfectly. “I just want to write something beyond what I can write…miracles, you know?”

 

Jewelry or camera gear?

A woman can never have enough camera gear. These days I lust after soft boxes, lights, camera bodies and lenses.

 

Do you write every day? Do you edit your work? Can you type?

Yes. I write every day. A minimum of four hours. I type 125 wpm. I edit the fuck out of (and into) my work.

 

Talk to us about your photography.

I moved from Venice to DTLA in 2013. I shot both in the street and in my studio. My work got gritty, urban. The city fascinated me, and I developed relationships with many of the street people. I often paid them for their photos. There was mutual respect. By the time I moved back to the beach in February, at least four of my “models” had died. It gave new meaning to the phrase, “mean streets.” I like to think I became more compassionate, less judgmental.

Back at the beach, I am once again enamored of nature, photographing the gorgeous sunrises from my eastern-facing windows, a form of meditation each morning accompanied by French Roast coffee, before I start to write.

 

What’s coming in 2017?

Two chapbooks, Junkie Wife, about my doomed first marriage and the menage a trois that it became, and Gidget Goes to The Ghetto, chronicling my second marriage (to a South Central musician/gunrunner/drug dealer) which I expect will be published in late 2017 or early 2018.

I have poems forthcoming in Diode, Pirene’s Fountain, great weather for MEDIA, Fjords Review and elsewhere. My photos will soon be featured In Blue Lyra Review, and recently graced the front and back covers and the centerfold of Nerve Cowboy, and the covers of The Chiron Review, Heyday, and Red Fez, to name a few.

I’ll be judging the Los Angeles Poets Society’s summer poetry contest, which I won in 2014. I’m thrilled to be guest poetry editor for Serving House Journal’s Fall 2017 issue. And I continue to be poetry editor of Cultural Weekly, where our 5th annual Jack Grapes Poetry Prize Contest gets into gear July 1st. Check out www.culturalweekly.com after July 1st for info on how to submit poems for cash prizes and publication.

 

Latest discoveries?

Poet Rebecca Foust’s chapbook Paradise Cove; Bruce Snider’s Paradise, Indiana; Jillian Weise’s The Book of Goodbyes and The Amputee’s Guide To Sex.

 

Secret pleasure?

Binge watching Mirelle Enos and Joel Kinnaman in all 49 episodes of The Killing. I’m a sucker for brilliant actors, and terrific storytelling (Veena Sud).

 

Most recent secret vice?

Japanese metro porn.

 

Where can we find out more???

I’ll be reading up and down the California coast beginning on June 20th at the Coffee Cartel in Redondo Beach. You can see my entire itinerary on my website, www.alexisrhonefancher.com. Or email me at [email protected] and I’ll put you on my mailing list.

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Native Angeleno ALEXIS RHONE FANCHER is a professional photographer and poet. She is the author of How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and other heart -stab poems (Sybaritic Press, 2014), State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies (KYSO Flash Press, 2015), and Enter Here (KYSO Flash Press, 2017). Her poem, “when I turned fourteen my mother’s sister took me to lunch and said:” was chosen by Edward Hirsch to be included in The Best American Poetry, 2016. Alexis is published in Rattle, Plume, Nashville Review, Diode, Slipstream, Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles, Hobart, Cleaver, H-NGM_N, Fjord’s Review, The MacGuffin, decomP, Public Pool, Anti-Heroin Chic, MEAD, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, great weather for ME-DIA, and elsewhere. Additionally, you can find her poems, flash fiction and essays in over 30 anthologies. Her photos are published worldwide, including spreads in River Styx, Rogue Agent, FRE&D, and Incandescent Mind, and the covers of Witness, Heyday, The Mas Tequila Review, and the Chiron Review. Since 2013 Alexis has been nominated for eleven Pushcart Prizes. Her work has also been nominated once for The Best Small Fictions Anthology, and four times for the Best of the Net awards. She is Poetry Editor of Cultural Weekly, where she publishes a photo essay, “The Poet’s Eye,” about her on-going love affair with Los Angeles. She will be reading from her latest collection, Enter Here, starting in June. Check her website for details: www.alexisrhonefancher.com.

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