ABP- Thank you for taking this interview today, G. ABP first had the privilege of working with you back in April of 2019, with your poetry collection Stale Bread and Coffee. Since then, we have gotten to work together four more times with Eating Raw Meat, House on the Edge of Town, Farmers, Trains, Queens and Clowns, and Thunder, Lightning and Urban Cowboys. What can you tell us about these books?
GER- The poetry collections are a quadrilogy written over 11 years. There is a mix of realism and surreal poetry of the harshness of life and the gentle side of life. The books are formatted to maintain a continuous flow for the reader. House on the Edge of Town is a collection of short stories and flash that is reflective of the realities of life.
ABP– Would you like to tell us about some of your other books outside of the ABP catalog?
GER– I had a good relationship with Kris Stamp at Stonegarden.net for several years resulting in the publication of three hybrid collections and three collections of poetry. Others include a hybrid collection at Blazevox, an experimental e-chapbook at Persistencia Press and a short story collection at Red Dashboard. After a bit of a dry spell I have been fortunate to have worked with you at Alien Buddha, (five collections), and Larry Robin at Moonstone Press resulting in the publication of two Philadelphia centric chapbooks. I appreciate your support of my writing.
ABP- What do you have planned for 2022?
GER- Diane and I are planning for a limited tour for 2022, possibly one reading per month at the most two. I am also working on selected poems 1990-2021 and selected stories 1990-2021 and will be refining them during 2022. The tour of course is dependent on the COVID situation and the vaccination rate to provide protection for all.
ABP- Who is your favorite writer? What is your favorite book?
GER- I am an avid reader open to various writers ranging from Dante, Poe, to James Wright and Hugo to Winans; to Gay; to Boland; to Walcottt; to Byatt; to Hamm and Oliver. I do find myself going to Hugo and Wright when in a drought and go to Above the River by James Wright time and again.
ABP- What is the art scene like in Philly? Have you gone to any live poetry events lately? Has the age of COVID affected that at all?
GER– There is a vibrant scene in the Philadelphia region to include South Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania. The Moonstone Arts Center alone featured 301 poets reading via zoom and live in 2021. Our 2020 schedule was cancelled as well as 2021 with the exception of a reading at Fergie’s Pub on October 13th this year. It was refreshing to read in public but with the increase in cases of COVID we remain home. It just makes sense.
ABP- Can you share a poem with us here?
GER– Philadelphia has been slammed with over 500 homicides as of 12/15/21 and thousands of others shot or stabbed. I have hope for my adopted city and wrote this paean for the people of Philadelphia.
I dream of my city, of Philadelphia, of a
time when peace will come to its streets.
I see the people of this city, a city I love
in white, black, yellow, tan and brown. I
celebrate the people of my city, the good
people who love their families aspire to
the same goals of peace, comfort, love.
This is not an easy city, a city named for
love. We have overcome resistance through
the centuries for this is a city of immigrants
blending in overtime who chart their own
course, strengthen neighborhoods as their
culture becomes part of the fabric of this
city that I love.
And in this city I dream of, this city that
I love, I am a realist, know of the hard
scrabble neighborhoods, have walked its
tough streets, survived a few fights here
and there and yet in every neighborhood
there is hope and love and people who
dream as I do of a time when peace will
come to its streets. I have sung my poems
I have sung to end the violence, I have
sung of its beauty, I have sung of its people.
I sing now for my city, my Philadelphia.
I sing to the people of Philadelphia
I sing from Broad and Glenwood
from 68th and Woodbine
from Rhawn and Oxford
from Cottman and Frankford
from Benner and Torresdale
from 10th and Washington
from 70th and Woodland
from 52nd and Lancaster
from Ridge and Ripka
from all the streets of the city, I sing of my
dream, that peace will come to our streets.
I raise my hands to the sky, sing my poems
have hope for Philadelphia.
ABP- Thanks again for taking this interview, G. If there is anything else that you would like to mention, please do.
GER- Stop by and pay a visit at my website: https://gereutter.wordpress.com/about/ Stay true to your voice, it is all that counts.
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