Writer Nick Kolakowski’s poem “Kingpins” was featured in Issue #6 of Newtown Literary. For more of Nick’s writing, check out his website. We interviewed him about his writing, and his answers are below.
What is your relationship to Queens?
I‘ve lived in Long Island City for two years—not long at all, by neighborhood standards, but long enough to see the enormous changes taking place along the river. We’re in an era of nervous transformation.
How would you describe the writing you do?
I try to dig into the things that make me uncomfortable. It’s therapy, in a weird way.
How did you come to writing?
It’s something I’ve always done, but I’m relatively new to poetry.
What inspires you?
Random fragments—a bit of graffiti, or an odd phrasing on a bit of spam that slips past my email filter, or when someone mangles a phrase. Those are good kernels for a poem, if I can link them to a larger idea or theme that I’m playing with.
What does it mean to be a writer in Queens?
Writers are pretty solitary creatures. I’m always amazed at how many movies feature writers as the main characters, because so much of the profession is sitting in a room by one’s self, staring at a notebook or a laptop screen—not exactly dynamic. But Queens itself provides so much texture and material; it’s wonderful to step out your front door and be able to soak it all up, and perhaps use some of it later.
What writing project(s) are you currently working on?
A couple of poems, and a long noir novella partially set in Queens.
And what should I be asking you that I didn’t?
Cats or dogs? Cats.
Readers, mark your calendars:
- The Oh, Bernice! reading series kicks off its season on October 17 at 7:00 p.m. at the Astoria Bookshop. John Reid Currie, Roberto Montes, Claire Van Winkle, and Emily Wallis Hughes will be featured.
- Come to Astoria Coffee on October 20 at 7:30 p.m. for the Risk of Discovery Reading Series. A half hour workshop kicks off the event, followed by an open mic and concluded by readings from Thomas Fucaloro, Christina M. Rau, Jane LeCroy, and Raven Jackson.
- You’ve heard us talk about the Heightening Stories workshops; now come check out what they’ve produced! On October 21 at 7:00 p.m. at the Astoria Bookshop, hear stories of social change by Malcolm Chang, Jackie Giurato, Harry Koumrouyan, and Generose Lambert, hosted by Heightening Stories founder/instructor Nancy Agabian.
- Want to give your writing a kick in the pants? Heightening Stories presents the Jumpstart Your Writing online workshop with a session starting starting November 1. Sign up by October 22 to save $25.
- On October 24 at 4:00 p.m., come celebrate the book launch of Ophelia: A Botanist’s Guide by Emily Hockaday, featuring guest poet Jackie Sherbow, at Keats Bar, 42 2nd Ave, New York, New York 10017.
- Come one, come all to Newtown Literary’s second Book Trivia Night! On November 2 at Break Bar and Billiards, doors open at 7:00 p.m. Fun trivia, great prizes, and a chance to support the printing of the next issue, due out in December! Register your team now for a free “mulligan”.
- Delve deep into your personal writing as Heightening Stories presents the Creative Nonfiction/Autobiographical Fiction workshop. Enrollment is open until November 4.
- Work on your development and revision skills! Heightening Stories presents the Community Writing Exercise Workshop. Enrollment is open until November 10.
- Boundless Tales is accepting submissions for its current reading series! Submissions are considered on a rolling basis; the next reading will be November 12.