Monday, October 23, 2006
LUMMOX JOURNAL: An Interview with Raindog: The Final Issues.
with Doug Holder
The "Lummox Journal" founded by R.D. Armstrong ( "Raindog") has been a respected, controversial, and quality literary journal for the past 11 years. I have had the pleasure to be published in it a couple of times, and have subscribed to it in the past. "Lummox" has had a great series of interviews with artists and poets, as well as some memorable all-poetry issues. Most small press magazines fold after a year, but like most of us holy fools in the alternative press R.D. kept plugging away at his labor of love. R.D. has published the next to last issue, and so I decided to interview him about his winning literary enterprise.
Doug Holder/Ibbetson Update
Doug Holder: Why are calling it quits?
Raindog: When I started doing this (publishing the Lummox Journal), it was an interesting hobby, but it quickly grew to become a second job. At one point I had nearly two hundred paying subscribers; but after 9/11 (about a year later) the income began to dwindle. So it became a low-paying second job, and now it's a no-paying second job. Basically, I'm ceasing publication of a hard-copy version because it takes more energy to put each issue out, than I seem to have these days. Plus the cost of production and mailing just keeps going up and up, but not the revenue.
DH: What did you set out to accomplish? Did you?
R: Early on I thought that with luck I'd make some money to buy stamps with and send my own writing out. Eventually it became (so I've been told) a forum for literary expression and an outlet for poetry, above and beyond my own (which kind of fell to the wayside). I never imagined it would end up like this.
DH: Most memorable issue?
R: Almost all the issues are great, but some of the All Poetry issues are pretty damn fine. It's hard to say because I'm looking at over 120 issues between Oct. '95 - Oct. '06. It's like trying to decide which of your kids you love the best...
DH: Can you talk about some of the interviews you have conducted and were printed in the magazine?
R: I think I've interviewed nearly a hundred poets, painters, musicians and even a dancer in the LJ. Of course I haven't been able to get the really big poet cats like you guys over at Poesy, but I've done all right. Here are some of the poets and artists that I have interviewed: Linda Albertano, Steve Abee, Gerald Locklin, Mark Weber, Todd Moore (this is how I got to know Todd), Bill Shields, Paul Krasner, Laurel Ann Bogen, Frank Moore, Lyn Lifshin, Scott Wannberg, S. A. Griffin, Michael Ventura, Errol Miller, Charles Plymell, A. D. Winans, Linda Lerner, Tomata Du Plenty, B. Z. Niditch, Kell Robertson, Tony Moffeit, Donna Cartelli, John Thomas, Holly Prado, Harry Northup, Jazz Morgan, Jack Grapes, Larry Jaffe, Philomene Long, Larry Welsh, Claudio Parentela, Dan Fante, Leonard J. Cirino, John Dorsey, Glenn Cooper and Neeli Cherkovski. I don't know how many of these names your readers will know, but I've highlighted the one's that I liked more. Mostly, I picked interviewees based on people I knew, or thought were interesting (some were recommended by other people I knew). A lot of the poets are from the Western US, 'cause that's where I live. Most were answering a generic set of questions that I had come up with over the years, because most interviews were done via Email/letters.
DH:Do you still plan to publish books?
R: Yes, the Little Red Book series (LRB) continues. I just published Outrun Your Fate by Australian poet Glenn Cooper; Digging my own Grave and Enjoying the Work by Ed Jamieson, Jr. (Lummox Journal's poetry editor for the last few years); and The Painter by Marie Lecrivain with drawings by Aurora Antonovic. I'll also publish other collections when I can raise the funds.
DH: And your own plans?
R: It's time for me to get back to being a poet and going thru the grind of getting my poetry published or not. I hope to publish, or get published, a collection of my own poetry (in an ideal world it would be a collection of my long road poems, some of my fiction and selections of my poesy -- but that's not likely because it would be a 250 to 300 page book and nobody would take that risk on a relatively unknown poet such as myself -- I know I wouldn't). Maybe I'll become egotistical and publish a whole string of Little Red Books of my own work. Lord knows I've certainly served the poetry community by presenting their thoughts and work in the LJ and in the LRB series (over 50 titles thus far). I'd also like to put out a CD of some of my songs and poems.
for more info: http://www.lummoxpress.com/lummoxpress/