ABP– Thank you for taking this interview Chani. In July of 2018 Alien Buddha Press had the privilege of releasing your poetry chapbook Cave Dreams to Star Portals. Please tell us about that book; what went into it, and how you feel about it almost a year later.
CZ- I had all these abstract poems, and others that were more narrative, but also just kind of weird. I was trying to group together poems in a way that made sense. I had been listening to a lot of David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix. I had this idea about cave people getting visited by UFOS, and so all these poems seemed to coalescence around that idea.
ABP- You have also participated in some of our anthologies, such as O’Riordan, The Mathematician, and This One Time the Alien Buddha Got so High. Your style of writing certainly added a particularly unique element to those books. Are there any other anthologies outside of ABP that you would like to recommend to our readers?
CZ- I have to shamelessly self-promote any anthologies from Madness Muse Press put out in the last couple years. Working as associate editor under the guidance of Adam Levon Brown has produced some awesome stuff. Also, I was just featured in one from Transcendent Zero Press with a bunch of other cool writers and artists, many of whom also work with ABP. That one is “Epiphanies and Late Realizations of Love” edited by Claudine Nash.
ABP- Do you have anything planned for the rest of 2019, or in 2020?
CZ- Oh, nothing much, you know: take over the world. (JK LOL)
Seriously though, I’m working on an abcedarius style poetry book and I have a few chapbooks out in contests (fingers crossed y’all).
ABP- Who are some of your biggest influences as a writer?
CZ- Most of the Modernists and quite a few Victorians. I read my Bukowski and Hunter S. Thompson until the covers wore off. I love the goofy, nonsense rhymes of Shel Silverstein. More recently I’m into Warsan Shire, Claudia Rankine, and Joy Harjo.
ABP- You once wrote “Justice weeps in the dark and none hear her cry/ Brazen men of evil want her voice to die”. Can you take us through what went into that rhyme?
CZ- After the 2016 election, I was feeling very helpless and upset. I started writing these scathing political poems that just chewed up the scenery. Then, I started experimenting with the idea of classical themes and styles (like rhyming couplets). So I had all these lady liberty and blind justice images floating around. I think I wrote that specific line in a poem after Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed as a supreme court justice. Sometimes I feel the only way my voice is heard is through poetry.
ABP- It was truly a privilege to feature you here. The floor is yours. Feel free to share anything you’d like.
CZ- Thank you! It’s a privilege to be here! I really appreciate the opportunity.
The only other thing I want to share is I’m co-hosting a poetry event in my local community called Poetry and Palette, at The Good Acting Studio. The next one is on May 18. The idea is to get a variety of artists to come together for a good cause. If anyone is in the Atlanta, GA area or wants to travel here is the info: