Monday, February 20, 2006

Somerville Poet Gloria Mindock: Pressing the Cervena Barva Press

Somerville, Mass. publisher and poet Gloria Mindock and I met in the basement of “Finagle-a-Bagel” in Harvard Square one Saturday morning. We were part of a group of animated “Bagel Bards” that meets there every weekend to break bread, or in this case bagels, and to dish the dirt about poetry and the “scene.” I had the chance to speak privately with Mindock after the meeting. I wanted to find out what makes this Somerville small press figure tick.

Mindock’s experience in small press publishing goes way back to 1984 when she was co-editor of the “Boston Literary Review,” that was founded in Somerville. The magazine was based on Hawthorne St. in West Somerville to be exact. It lasted until 1994. The magazine published such poets as: Catherine Sassanov, Carl Phillips, Marc Fleckenstein and others.

Mindock is an eclectic artist, and was also involved in a theatre company in Somerville, and many other projects over the years. However she describes herself as primarily a poet. Mindock, whose poetry collection “Oh Angel,” was recently released by a small press, told me: “ I am more of a poet. I studied theatre, but I feel I can express myself more clearly as a poet.” Mindock explained that she writes about death, politics and the way: “man destroys man, and the atrocities governments commit for power, greed and money…

Many poets have inspired Mindock. She cites Neruda as the strongest influence on her work.

Mindock was out of the publishing game for awhile, but now has come back full force with the” Cervena Barva Press,” which means the “Red,” press in Czech. Mindock is fascinated by Eastern Europe, and especially Prague, hence the name.

The press, founded in her Somerville home on Highland Ave., with her partner Bill, produces full-length poetry books and chapbooks, and now has a poetry postcard series, that combines poetry and art, and has published such poets as: Ed Cates, Simon Perchick, Barry Casselman, Roberta Swann and others.

Mindock funds her press from her own money. She wants full control, to be her “own woman,” as she describes it. She has learned over the years to be more assertive, and not to take the “crap” the world often throws at you.

Mindock accepts poetry that she likes without regard to poets’ past publishing history, degrees, etc… She is open to submissions, and is dedicated to providing a venue for emerging poets as well as established ones.

Mindock along with “sunny outside,” “Ibbetson Street,” and other presses contribute to the rich literary milieu we have in the “Ville.
Doug Holder/ Ibbetson Update/ Somerville, Mass./ Feb. 2006

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