Contributor Spotlight: Zach Fishel

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WSE photoZach Fishel’s piece “Going Away” appears in Midwestern Gothic Issue 13, out now.

How long have you been writing?
I began writing seriously six years ago while in college.

What’s your connection to the Midwest?
I completed a degree in Toledo, Ohio, and spent close to three years there working as a writer and educator.

How has the Midwest influenced your writing?
As a poet, seeing the unique culture, the abandoned factories and farms, the endless sunrises and people has given me a different lens of perspective and a deeper way to “work” a poem, and often has led to changing the structure of pieces. I’m used to hills and mountains, maybe the flatlands have aided in new forms.

Why do you believe there has never really been a regionalist push for Midwestern writing in the past like there has with the South or even the West Coast?
I attempted a project while attending the University of Toledo, which called for Midwestern writers, and the response was phenomenal. I believe that the Midwest appears very unassuming, but we’re very full of new and intensely unique voices. Chicago has become a poetry center, and it is beginning to garner much more attention, much like Minneapolis.

How do you feel about social media to promote your writing, and do you use it?
I don’t feel that without social media me or many writers would have a way to connect to publishers, readers, or venues for work.

Favorite book?
Refusing Heaven by Jack Gilbert, Fall Higher by Dean Young, and William Faulkner novels.

Favorite food?
Pho, Chicago Hotdogs, and corned beef hash.

If you could have coffee (or tea or a beer) with any literary figure, alive or dead, who would it be?
Coffee with Ted Berrigan, Beer with Charles Bukowski, and I’d like much to have tea with Kay Ryan.

Where can we find more information about you?
Red Paint Hill Publishing is where you can find my first full-length and information regarding the press I work with. I also have chapbooks available at Sankara books in Spain and NightBallet Press out of Cleveland, Ohio.

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