|Pictures show Susan Hankla, Clinch River, the logo for Groundhog Poetry Press,|
and R. H. W. Dillard--poet, writer, stellar teacher, leader of the whistle pigs,
and founder of Groundhog Poetry Press.
I am feeling downright happy about the interview with poet Susan Hankla that went up online this week. Susan and I worked hard on it, and we have received a generous response from social media to the interview, including 40+ shares or re-links of my facebook post, along with promises to buy the book and even a promise from a well-known writer to review!
If you haven't heard my bell-ringing and clamoring on this so far, please hear it now and take a look at our discussion. At the bottom of what I think of as an unusually interesting and revelatory interview, you will find some poems from the book.
Thanks to those of you who take a peek. I've wished for Susan to have a full-length book for a very long time and am pleased to support and recommend her poetry collection, Clinch River, available from Groundhog Poetry Press via SPD, or Small Press Distribution.
My review of Susan Hankla’s Clinch River in the October 2017 issue of The Hollins Critic begins like this: “I doubt that any other reviewer of Susan Hankla’s first full-length book, Clinch River, has had the great good luck of seeing her, a young woman, dance playfully with an enormous rattlesnake skin. Such is my sparkling luck.” I have known Susan Hankla for decades; she is one of those attractive, special people who spill over with an abundance of life, and it is a great pleasure to question her about her first full-length poetry collection, its poems bound tightly to her growing-up years and to a coal-mining region in the Appalachian South. As I wrote in the close of my review, the poems “tangle coming-of-age stories with hard times in coal country. They juxtapose the girl who cannot leave, clinched by poverty’s snares, with the girl who goes away and can return for the treasure, the gold that lies buried in her childhood: these poems, these golden apples. Take them!”
Clinch River comes to the world from poet R. H. W. Dillard’s Groundhog Poetry Press, a new small press in Roanoke, Virginia. Richard Dillard serves as publisher, editor, designer, compositor warehouse manager, and shipping director for the new poetry press, which is already shipping out its second “suite” of handsomely-designed paperback books. Distribution is through SPD, which already lists Hankla’s book as “recommended” and a poetry bestseller. Having made “not a snobbish decision but a purely practical one,” Richard Dillard is accepting Groundhog poets by invitation only. A well-known and much-admired writer and professor in the undergraduate and M.F.A.program at Hollins, he has no trouble filling his roster of poets.
A Hollins graduate with an M.F.A. from Brown, Susan Hankla previously published a chapbook with Burning Deck Press of Providence. She has appeared in Gargoyle, Beloit Fiction Journal, Michigan Quarterly Review, Blue Mesa, Artemis, Hollins Critic, Open Places, Southern Poetry Review, Poetry Northwest and New Virginia Review. A resident of Richmond, Virginia, she has received a Virginia Commission grant in fiction and fellowships to the Virginia Center for Creative Arts and the Frost Place.
Now read the interview and poems!
Thank you to editor Jean Holzinger....