Hi Herb, thank you for joining us. Can you tell us about who you are and also about your writing: for example, what genres and themes do you write in and about, and is there anything that has influenced your choices?
I live just south of the border-town of Buffalo, New York on the east end of Lake Erie, which is the world’s eleventh largest lake, and is half in Canada and half in the United States. Although I am the fifth generation born in Buffalo (the U.S. side), one of my four children was born in Canada, and grew up speaking French as a first language. I spent two decades working in factories, driving trucks, and fixing machines, and two more decades as an English Professor at Hilbert College. Both have their merits, but the latter profession leaves more time for writing. If my writing has a leitmotif, it is: “society lies.”
Can you tell us a bit about your publications and writerly highlights, and what else we can look forward to seeing from you in the future?
I’ve had eighteen books or chapbooks of poetry published, and over 1750 total poems published, along with sixty plus short stories, a produced feature film, short films, and 250 plus non-fiction pieces.
Two writerly highlights were winning the 2016 Asimov’s Readers’ Award for best poem with “Answers” and earning third place in the 2020 Elgin Awards chapbook category for the book Fragments from the Book of the After-Dead.
I have the short story “The First Martian World War” coming up in Analog, and the poems “Rewinding History” and “Failed Space Colonists” coming up in Asimov’s. I have two books mired in press, The Book of Fibs, and Bits ‘n Pieces. I have no clear idea of when they might be released from Written Image Press.
This year has presented a lot of challenges for many of us. Instead of discussing those, what are some of your 2020 highlights?
Autumn 2020 has been an uncommonly successful season for my short fiction. I blame this on writing a lot more comedy because we all need a laugh this year. In addition to my story “Burying the Well on the Wings of a Crow” in Trickster’s Treats #4, “The Mahahaa and the Quarrelling Lovers” appeared in NewMyths Magazine. “Indian Lake Project Redux” appeared in Drunk Gekko. “The Incident of ‘13” is due out any day in the anthology Erie Tales XIII: Unlucky Thirteen and also features the character Wallaby Walker who first appeared in Trickster’s Treats.
Another highlight was “Generation Gap,” a long mainstream poem that appeared in Poetry Quarterly. In addition, two of my poems were nominated for the Rhysling Award long category and three poems were nominated for the Dwarf Star Award. I’ve had the pleasure of being an assistant poetry editor at Amazing Stories, and in 2020 I started co-editing SpecPo Reviews with Sandra Lindow.
One more highlight was seeing my writing student Brynn Biesik graduate college, and fulfill one of her dreams by moving to South Korea to teach English there.
Where can we find out more about you, Herb?
Thanks, Herb. That's an amazing list of works! It's also a great thing to see a student reach their goals.
Herb's story "Burying the Well on the Wings of a Crow" appears in Trickster's Treats 4: Coming, Buried or Not! , a charity anthology in support of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.