Alexis Rhone Fancher is an American photographer and poet. She has published three collections of poetry: State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, How I lost my virginity to Michael Cohen and other heart-stab poems and Enter here.

What is your earliest reading memory?

Im at the butcher shop with my mother, and Im reading all the signs aloud; Ground Beef $1/lb.” “Roasting Chicken 50 Cents/lb.Im three years old.

Has writing been a conscious choice or a natural thing for you?

Both. Ive always written for pleasure. But I choose to be a professional writer. And then theres the fact that I am compelled to write.

Do you have any special habits or rituals when you write?

I write every morning. I get up with the sun, 5:45am, and meditate while I watch the sun rise and my French Roast coffee brews. I write for a minimum of 4 hours. Usually more. Later in the day, I edit (my own work and that of my clients). I read poetry in the afternoon, and throughout the day. I read novels or watch films in the evening.

Do you choose your poems or do the poems choose you?

I swing both ways. I have notes/ideas written down for poems Id like to write, Things that impressed me, or memories Id like to explore. Then there are the times I read something in the news, like an article about the Museum of Failed Relationships, or about the California desert turtles who are facing extinction due to drought, that strike me as good subjects for poems.

What national books/authors do you enjoy re-reading and why?

As a poet, I read novels for pleasure. I admire literary novels with strong, flawed characters and great plotting/brilliant writing. Loren Groffs Fates and Furies was a favorite of mine from last year that Ill read again. Ive read Donna Tartts three books several times, especially The Secret History. I admire Edward P. JonesThe Known World tremendously. Ann Patchett is another favorite author, especially Bel Canto. Joan Didions Play It As It Lays continues to fascinate me. Its the quintessential L.A. novel. Poets? Lately Ive been re-reading Jack Gilberts Collected Poems, as well as Rita Dove, Robin Coste Lewis, Theodore Roethke, Dorianne Laux, Matthew Dickman, Sharon Olds, Michelle Bitting, Rebecca Foust, Bruce Snyder and John Berryman.

What foreign books/authors do you enjoy re-reading and why?

Anything by Murakami, especially Kafka on the Shore. John FowlesThe Magus is a book I devoured when it first came out, as I did with the second, more sexually explicit version, written years later. Canadian writer, Anne Michaelsfine book, Fugitive Pieces, knocks me out with its tenderness. Swiss novelist Michel Fabers brilliant novel, The Crimson Petal & The White, bewitches me at regular intervals. Poets Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Wislawa Szymborska continue to fascinate me. Im a fool for Dylan Thomas. And Rimbaud.

What is so important about fiction/poetry?

Poetry saves lives. It saved mine.

Can you cry writing your own poem?

I allow myself to cry while writing it, but never while reading my sad poem to an audience. At that point, if Ive done my work properly, its their turn to cry.

Who is your ideal reader?

A warm body with a good imagination and an open mind.

Should writers be embraced by society or should they be exiled?

A little exile is good for a writer. Sos a hug.

Is there a God or are there gods for writers?

Last November, the existence of God really mattered to me, but I got over it. I do admire true believers. I hope theyre right. My literary gods? Hemingway, Chekov, Hopkins. Lorca, HD, Gilbert, Bass, Sexton, Laux, Didion, Catullus, Akhmatova.

What makes a writer a writer? 

A writer has to write. For me, its like breathing. I have no choice.

Tell us about your fiction/poetry. 

Mostly I write about power. And sex. And sex as power. Occasionally I write about dead kids. Since 2013 Ive been published in over 160 lit mags, journals and anthologies, including The Best American Poetry, 2016, Rattle, Plume, Mead, decomP, Anti-Heroin Chic, Fjords Review, Public Pool, HOBART, Nashville Review, Rust + Moth, and elsewhere.

Im the author of 3 books of poetry; How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen & other heart stab poems (Sybaritic Press, 2014); State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies (KYSO Flash Press, 2015); and my new, erotic collection, Enter Here (KYSO Flash Press, 2017).

Whats up next for me? Junkie Wife, a chapbook about my doomed, first marriage, is making the contest rounds, and a second chapbook, Gidget Goes To The Ghetto, a look back at my second marriage, to a drug dealer from South Central Los Angeles, will be published in late 2017. Ill be reading all over California this summer and fall, in support of Enter Here. Check my website, for details.

What is the purpose of your writing?

I want to bear witness. I want to connect.

How do you really feel about recognition and fame? Are you a satisfied mind or always craving for more?

More fame would be nice. Seriously.


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