1, First of all, tell us a little about you Jeremy.
Born and raised in Frederick, Maryland. No one in kindergarten pronounced my name correctly – they all said “Germy.” I’m 25 now, a substitute teacher, a soccer coach & a poet.
2, Now tell us about your chapbook I wanna be petty // I will be great, which was published by Ghost City Press in December 2017, and the process of writing it?
Well the title of the book came from a lyric I wrote from a song called “Talking to Myself.” It feels like a koan to me. Something I should repeat to myself when I’m caught up in a situation. I also think it has a certain appeal to the high schoolers I substitute for. It feels like their language speaking through me in a way. I get a lot of questions as a sub for high schoolers, about who I am and what I do. They’re infinitely curious and I guess I thought I wanted to give them a vague idea of who I am and what I’ve done…at least looking back that’s what it feels like I tried to do with this book. But it was also a blur. I think I sent Kevin a manuscript within like a week of them confirming interest. It was assembled quickly and I can’t say I love all the poems equally but it felt less coy and more playful than some of my other recent writing. Right before the book came out I found out that the long long poem at the end of the book was being published by Metatron and I was also taking a class with D. Watkins (who was extremely motivational) and it just felt like this momentum was building up in my life and I wasn’t just a grad student with a vague goal.
3, Could you share a small piece of your writing, a line, or two, that you think best sums up your book?
“fuck inspirational suffering
how am I supposed to know if an artist is good”
4, What is it you have learnt about yourself from writing this book?
That I love to shift perspectives as often as possible.
5, How did the opportunity to publish with Ghost City Press come about, and what have your experiences been of working with them?
I closely followed the micro-chapbook series Ghost City did last summer. There were some brilliant little flames all throughout. It felt refreshing to me to read things that were brisk – I had been terrorizing myself to write a long poem or a full collection, but soon felt envious of the idea of publishing something sweet and to-the-point. I contacted GCP via Twitter (of course) and they were very kind and offered to read things I had written. A short while later they responded by asking me to do a chapbook and I very happily accepted. Ghost City seems to embody their name quite well. They can feel like ghosts, in the sense that they give you proper distance to create whatever you envision – they do not pressure you, they never go out of their way to make you overly aware that they’re watching you. And like a city in the sense that they have a growing network of outstanding, emerging poets. They’ve talked me through how to get my book into stores and have been supportive publicly on social media. I haven’t really worked directly with anyone other than Kevin (@KevinBertolero) but he’s been an absolute saint & I don’t hesitate to assume that everyone else aboard follows suit. Can’t wait to represent them at Whale Prom in March!
6, How does it feel to be able to say that you’re now the author of a book?
In front of my family it feels great, but privately I don’t think this has been my best example of writing.
7, What are your inspirations, and the influences, on your writing?
Lisa Robertson. Lisa Robertson. Steve Roggenbuck, Alice Notley, Rachel B. Glaser, Graham Faust, Jos Charles, Plath, Anne Sexton, Asaad, Young Thug, my friends (especially Joey & Seth), manuel arturo abreu, Tommy Pico, hearing poetry allowed, picturing my feet kicking a soccer ball on very green grass, Mr. Robot, Atlanta, Bloodline, podcasts, too much driving, too much Twitter.
8, What are your ambitions for 2018 (doesn’t have to be writing related, can be personal)
Well, to start with writing-related: more performances. It would be nice to be published more, but I don’t need to be. Also want to keep an audio journal of my experiences as a writer.
Want to save more money. Travel to a new US city. Compile a cookbook of friend & family dishes. Take summer courses. No more speeding tickets! Try to sweat more. Read bigger books.
Thank you Jeremy for taking the time to answer my questions!
If you want to buy your own copy of I wanna be Petty I will be Great you can do so from Ghost City Press. The chapbook is currently on sale, and only $5
Click on the cover image to be taken to the publisher’s website.