Carol Novack












Orange Alert
Read Meet Author: Carol Novack


Writer and publisher Carol Novack has been described as persistently re-emerging. It's a term that probably could apply to many writers out there, but works for Carol because of her history with the written word. She has thrived in many careers, and has lived around the world. She has been published both in Australia and the US. She has taken time off from publicly writing, and now is very active. Carol is currently the editor of Mad Hatters' Review, and as you heard in the Orange Alert Podcast last week she loves to combine poetry with music and sounds. Her next book will be Giraffes in Hiding: The Mythical Memoirs of Carol Novack.

Recently Carol was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): Mad Hatters' Review recently opened submission for it first "Knock Our Hats Off" contest. What was the motivation behind launching a contest like this and what do you hope the outcome will be?

Carol Novack (CN): Very simple. I need to raise money to keep the journal going. A lot of work goes into each issue, and it’s my sole responsibility to pay my excellent web designer/mistress. I certainly hope that the modest entry fees add up to far more than the costs of the cash prizes and copies of the little anthology to be mailed to the winners! Perhaps some of your listeners will enter the contest, or donate some tax-deductible dollars to the Review.

OA: What can you tell us about Giraffes in Hiding: The Mythical Memoirs of Carol Novack? Will it be fiction, and if so why not write an actual memoir?

CN: The book will be comprised of fictions and poetics, often fused. There’s a “play-poem” and a long, free associational poem about the universe. The subtitle is tongue in cheek. “Memoir” is such a trendy genre, and I have no desire to write a one.

OA: What is it about current events that fascinates you? How often do these events inspire you to write?

CN: “Current events” involve people in society/ies. The frequently absurd, tragic, nasty, violently ugly, greedy, biased, myopic, egotistical, and conventional behavior of many people saddens me. Very few “single” events inspire writings. Archetypes, patterns of misconduct common to “current events” are manifest in much of what I write. I was a criminal defense and first amendment lawyer for many years; I literally fought City Hall on behalf of artists’ rights of expression and I represented a countless number of poor people accused of crimes. I’m no Pollyanna. I live in this world and the world lives in me – naturally, through my non-rose-colored, astigmatic lenses. Consequently, I rage and cry a lot. My rage and sadness move my writings. But then again, my sense of play, affection for people, and joy in language and sensual delights is also present in much of what I write … I hope!

OA: You recorded several pieces with musicians supplying background sounds and music. Do you feel there is a connection between poetry and music?

CN: There’s a connection between skillfully wrought language-conscious writing (not only poetry) and music, be it jazz, blues, classical, fusion, or other genre. By “language-conscious,” I mean that the author is “in tune” with the rhythm and sound, the flow of the words she’s stringing together, and the flow of her words is in tune with the flow of the thoughts and emotions that pass from the unconscious to the conscious (and back again). Rhythm is a very important part of my writing process; I “compose” as I write. My father was a classical musician and musicologist, so I grew up with wonderful music permeating our house like a bouquet of luscious scents.

By inviting musicians I trust to play with the sounds and rhythms of my words, as recited by me, I am able to participate actively in the creation of expanded/enhanced forms of the compositions I’ve written. My CD, “Inventions,” contains collaborations with Benjamin Rush Miller and Donald C. Meyer. A recent audio show at apostrophecast aired two of my recited poetic prose narratives with sounds by my journal’s music director Visored Burgeonette.

OA: How often to you submit to on-line and print journals? What do you look for when submitting to a newer journal?

CN: I submit to journals when I’m satisfied with a new piece – usually after many revisions. It’s always difficult to figure out who’s going to “get” and appreciate what I’m doing, particularly Americans. My publisher is Canadian, and I have or will have works in French, Rumanian, and Italian publications. I think it’s time to explore the journals of Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and other South American countries.

I submit to very few new journals. Most new journals are here one minute, gone the next, particularly those that appear on blogs. And most aren’t harmonious with my aesthetics. An exception is the new online journal “New Dead Families,” published by Zack Wentz, a writer I greatly admire. I think “Jiving Ladybug” is relatively new, and I have a collaborative poetic rumination called “Room” (with Sheila Murphy) there.

OA: What's next for Carol Novack?

CN: Literally -- geographical re-location from uber urban living in New York City to the ridge of a mountain in Asheville, NC. In time, perhaps, I’ll maintain a mini writers’ and other artists’ collaborative retreat.

For more information on Carol Novack please check out her blog.


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