Meet the Editors: An Interview with Everyone
Graham L. Bishop
Marketing & Social Media Manager
Since the BWR staff turns over every year, the team interviews one another so that you may get a better idea of who we are and what we like. In 2021, the BWR staff gathered together in a single Google Document to create one massive interview instead of separate ones. The results, one might argue, are chaos. They are probably right. We hope you enjoy.
Interview by EVERYONE
jm: I am nothing if not a one trick pony. So, I must ask again, with a slight variation: last dinner on this earth. what do u eat. (anything is possible no need for semantics of how it gets to u etc.)
Alden C: Scrambled eggs with cheese, toasted cinnamon raisin bread topped with whipped cream, and a tall glass of cold whole (cow’s) milk.
PD Edgar: A churrasco with chimichurri, grilled vegetables, and some kind of freshmade honeyloaf bread, with a Fresca to drink and light roast coffee after.
GB: 224 grams of Banza chickpea pasta, two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 250 grams of roasted garlic tomato sauce, three thinly sliced hard boiled eggs, a block of cubed tempeh, two cups of steamed kale, one cup of steamed spinach, half of a diced red onion, a chopped orange bell pepper, and two tablespoons of parmesan cheese.
Kayla D: Growing up, it became a running joke that I was picky and only loved grilled cheese, so I suppose I must carry out my legacy and consume said sandwich. Any cheese. Actually, all cheeses. At the same time.
KS: Something sweet and something salty and then something that tastes really bad, so I can be happy I am leaving it forever when I die.
Katie D: Sfoglini’s Cascatelli (by Sporkful): the pasta noodle designed to have “the most sauceability, forkability, and toothsinkability,” or so says some person named Dan who developed the noodle and runs a podcast (surprise). Tossed in a butternut squash cream sauce. Topped with pecans and romano cheese. This is an Acie Clark original recipe. And Bubly water to drink (watermelon flavor).
jm: I think of the writers who made us writers, who keep us writing, as existing in a constellation with one another. Who’s in your constellation?
Alden C: I’m a Morrisonite. Morrisonian. Morrisonic.
PDE: Carolyn Forché, Valerie Wallace, Ernesto Cardenal, and my closest friends.
jm: Jorie Graham, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Lucie Brock-Broido, francine j. harris, Ocean Vuong, Lucille Clifton, Diane Seuss, & Brigit Pegeen Kelly
GB: Douglas Adams, Octavia Butler, Haruki Murakami, Ursula K. Le Guin, Marcel Proust, David Foster Wallace, Virginia Woolf
Kayla D: Faulkner’s female voices. Sabrina Orah Mark. Anyone can who can avoid making neurotypical sense, who can make me feel less alone. Confuse me, home me.
KS: Claudia Rankine, Toni Morrison, Sally Rooney, Alice Sola Kim
Katie D: Mary Ruefle, Frank Bidart, Jericho Brown, Ocean Vuong, Hilton Als, Joan Didion, Ben Lerner, Marie Howe
Kaush: What is a trope that you love to read and why?
KS: The answer for me is often dark academia, a la A Secret History, but more precisely a campus novel… so anything set in a campus. I love the nostalgia of going back to a setting that is universally described for us in media and think there are so many opportunities for secrets, betrayal, and romance in this setting.
PDE: I freaking LOVE this question–the ‘talented, precocious children’ trope had a stranglehold on me as a kid (re: Series of Unfortunate Events, Mysterious Benedict Society). Now, it’s anything that implicates the reader in the outcome of a story–that places the burden of responsibility for meaning on what we choose to believe happened.
GB: I love spec fic, especially dystopian or apocalyptic fiction, as well as anything with talking animals. Beyond those, I am also a sucker for stories where a bunch of art kids and/or bourgeois socialites decide to stick it to the man and abandon their boring lives and then something terrible happens and they all decide to go back to the status quo but this time with the valuable lessons they’ve learned and the fond memories of the time when they were alive, ah yes, truly alive.
jm: Anything called “autofiction.” Gets me thinkin.
Alden C: No clue, actually. Maybe stories about characters navigating memory and C-PTSD.
Kayla D: The “mysterious train comes and whisks you away into an unfamiliar land” trope. Show me a place I’ve never seen with pairings of characters that don’t normally belong together. Feed me, I’m hungry!
Katie D: I’m seconding james on autofiction–particularly in the realm of what are the limits of memory, how are we in conversation with our own experience, etc.
Kaush: What is a piece you have read (in any genre) and wished you wrote?
Alden C: After writing Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, I owe the world nothing; the world owes me.
PDE: Too many poems to count, most recently “Again I foyer toward write come, you might say” by Zoe Darsee.
GB: Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy.
jm: Diane Seuss’ “[Things feel partial. My love for things is partial. Mikel on his last legs, covered]” comes to mind first. A perfect poem.
Kayla D: If music counts (and it should), I consider Tori Amos and Alanis Morissette sonic and lyrical geniuses. Read the lyrics for any song and tell me you weren’t transported into a different brain – can we even do that? Do you know the answer?
Katie D: Frank Bidart’s “Hunger for the Absolute,” or alternatively, any song by Adrianne Lenker
Alden C: If not writing, what is another artistic medium that could rival what you do on the page?
PDE: Homemaking. I hope to be the kind of person who can make a room feel homey and welcoming, where everything and everyone has a place–the kind of place where deep work gets done.
GB: I haven’t done it in a few years, but maybe acting. I did a lot of plays and musicals growing up. My favorite role was Thénardier in Les Misérables.
Alden C: Ballet
Kayla D: I dabble in too many things for my own good: Abstract ink and acrylic paint works, modern dance, I can walk a tight rope. I need any and every outlet that this planet (and my attention span) allows me. I just can’t stop.
KS: This cannot “rival” my writing, but recently I have been collaging.
Katie D: I sew my own clothes, recently knitted a balaclava, and do photography, too.
Alden C.: Do you have any [non-cerebral] hobbies?
PDE: I love to walk and swim and look for rocks. I refuse(!) to let my geology merit badge go to waste.
GB: I lift, bro. That’s about it. I live in my head.
Alden C: Rollerblading and running.
KS: Stop copying me. I also rollerblade.
Kayla D: Believe it or not (believe it, please), I am an ex circus juggling instructor. I have a subtle long-term goal of becoming a contortionist. My short-term goal is to do a handstand. Wait for updates.
Katie D: Sitting very, very still and not moving.
PDE: What social media do you vibe with best/most?
PDE: I’m part of a micro-generation of Zoomers who were big into Vine when it was around, and hour-long Vine compilations once it was gone. I’m on TikTok and Instagram still, but I scroll hoping only for the faint chaotic glint of Vine energy.
GB: YouTube. I love astrology and Tarot videos where readers either reaffirm everything about my reality or give me vague, totally unactionable warnings that indulge my general paranoia.
jm: Does the NYTimes Cooking app count?
Alden C: Twitter, duh!
Kayla D: I’m a YouTube gal. Watching people do horror game playthroughs help put me in a fun headspace for writing.
KS: I believe Tiktok is where the theory is now at. I also think it’s our most advanced app.
Katie D: Venmo. If you don’t know, now you know. Also, Goodreads and TikTok.
PDE: You’re driving cross-country (in an ideal future, zero-emissions) with a friend. You get to choose one audiobook to listen to the way there, and one for the drive back. What are they?
PDE: The way there, Dune. There’s no way I’m getting around to reading it if I’m not locked in a car for a week, so this is my one chance. The way back, something low-stakes and funny, like a huge collection of David Sedaris’s essays, so I can stay awake, laughing.
GB: I have tried a few times to get into epic fantasy, but the books are so damn long. So maybe I would use the occasion to get into Wheel of Time or A Song of Ice and Fire.
jm: Decidedly not an audiobook fan :/
Alden C: Song of Solomon on the way back. Palmares by Gayl Jones on the way there.
Kayla D: My friend’s mother was listening to “Dark Places” by Gillian Flynn on our ride home from the Jersey Shore, and I must say, I enjoyed the verbal translation.
KS: I hate listening to audiobooks, so probably Fifty Shades of Grey so we can laugh.
Katie D: Can’t audiobook; podcast instead.
GB: Which literary device or figure of speech do you identify as and why?
GB: Oxymoron because I am a witty idiot full of contradictions (aren’t we all?), but also analepsis bc u always want 2 look back @ me 😉
PDE: Zeugma — my verbs double-function for my real and imagined, present and future, current and ideal, worlds i exist in.
Alden C: Onomatopoeia…written language and sound intersect…I mean..come on, now.
jm: Malapropism. It’s true to me.
Kayla D: Metaphor. As a neurodivergent person, sometimes I can only rely on metaphors to convey my personal experience to others in a way that feels right.
KS: I love this question! Language. Lately, I have been thinking about the accessibility of language, how the more I have learned English, the more I have lost my mother tongue Tamil, and the language of vulnerability.
Katie D: Repetition. I love to tell the same stories over and over, completely forgetting I’ve ever told them before. Thank you for reminding me you’ve already heard it.
GB: Which animal were you in a past life, and how do you know?
GB: I was a dolphin. I know because I have a terrible sense of smell and can only sleep with half my brain.
PDE: can’t narrow down to a genus, but some sort of small land-mammal: i was the child who wept every time he entered a pet store and am the present man who cries at roadkill, a sort of empathy i think must be inherited from a soul-memory.
Alden C: A human. Why else would I have to navigate the world as a non-human now? Shoutout to Orlando Patterson.
Kayla D: I’ve been called a peacock because I can be bold. I once saw a peacock father protect his tiny babies, and I would be proud to be such a dedicated creature. I’m also a folk who enjoys visual simulation.
KS: I don’t have an answer for this, but I’d like to point out how Graham this question is, because Graham always hands in something to fiction workshop about animals.
Katie D: A herd of bunnies. A legion of bunnies.
Kayla D: If you could only write one novel-length book in your lifetime, what would be the subject matter? Give us a tiny synopsis.
Kayla D: I would perfect my “my internal self separates from the body and finds her true purpose in life after traveling to an alternate, un-Us space” narrative. A bit of a mouthful but it does the trick.
KS: I am working on something right now that’s, wait for it, a campus novel. It has a brown narrator, a secret society, and a dark secret.
Katie D: You think I could finish something hundreds of pages long? I’m a poet.
PDE: A nonfiction, journalistic investigation of something really niche. Why InstaPoetry matters, or what happens to American evangelical missionary kids once they get out. (Also Kayla I’m going to be shocked if you haven’t already watched Infinity Train, based on your answers.)
jm: I will never do that!
Alden C: Something about sugar processing as it relates to the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade or maybe something about film and tv.
GB: A dog and dolphin fall in love at a research institute for telepathic communication and plot to overthrow human society. I just finished the draft and am in the pre-revision stage of disgust with what I have done. It will win the Hugo and Nebula awards.
Kayla D: Pick 5 words to describe yourself, more particularly your non-writer self. Consider contradictions.
Kayla D: Exuberant yet surreptitious. Unpredictable yet formulaic. “Quirky.”
KS: Your Auntie, chaotic, cat-parent.
Katie D: Area Woman Refuses Further Recommendation of the Joe Rogan Podcast. Oh, wait, that’s ten words.
PDE: Florida Man, interdisciplinarian, granola lifeguard.
Alden C: Witty, neurotic, shy, old man.
jm: Uncertain and weary coconut enthusiast.
GB: Queer Autistic Mystic From Mars.
Katie D: What was your most-played song of the previous year?
Katie D: “Places/Plans” by Skullcrusher
PDE: Soccer Mommy’s cover of “Wide Open Spaces.” 😌
Alden C: “Angel (Live)” by Lalah Hathaway
jm: Valentine by Fiona Apple
Kayla D: I don’t have Spotify but I’ve really been jamming to “Suki Suki Daisuki” by Jun Togawa
GB: “Breathe Deeper” by Tame Impala
Katie D: What is the best fast food restaurant and why?
Katie D: Zaxby’s: Big Zax Snak meal, Sprite, extra Zax sauce.
PDE: Roadside fritanga on the Carretera Vieja a Leon back home. You just pull onto the curb– it’s always fresh, hot, family-made, and good enough to block traffic to get it.
Alden C: There’s a barbecue spot in my hometown called Podnuh’s. Nuff said.
jm: Burger King.
Kayla D: I love Pizza Hut. They use so much cheese. Stuffed crust. Nostalgia. That one time I got a bad haircut so my parents took me to Pizza Hut.
GB: Veggie Grill back in California.
james is a Chinese American poet. Their poems have appeared in Adroit, Quarterly West, Hobart, Glass Poetry, & elsewhere.
Kayla Dale is a neurodivergent poet and story-writer who can often be found rearranging all of her rooms, singing along to Tori Amos, and chaotically journaling in over 20 different notebooks.
P.D. Edgar grew up between central Florida and Managua, Nicaragua. As Design Editor, he’s currently pursuing a media studies master’s alongside the MFA in Poetry at Alabama, and he writes a newsletter called Saved to Drafts.
Katie DeLay is a poet from Tennessee.
Alden Ceasar is a child of the Deep South for whom writing is an act of mourning, memory, and meditation.
Graham L. Bishop is a fiction writer and literary scholar who grew up in San Diego. He has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Brown University and is currently working on a sci-fi novel at UA.