Our Spotlight series introduces you to the people behind & adjacent to Perennial Press. In our third post, we hear from Gabrielle Grace Hogan, author of forthcoming poetry book Soft Obliteration, to be released by Ghost City Press in October 2020. Soft Obliteration delves into the queer personal—the realization and pseudo-rectification of desire, and its troubling consequences. The 5 stages of grief appear present over the narrative, only replacing grief of death with grief of self-shame—the anger and frustration over the search for love that comes up fruitless, the fear of intimacy with another person, and the acceptance of that fear as an internal problem rather than an external one.
Who is someone who never ceases to inspire you?
As cheesy as it sounds, the writers that inspire me the most are the ones I am lucky to befriend. The two blurbs on the back of the chap come from two of my best poetry buddies, Matt Mitchell and Rob Colgate. Being able to connect immediately with them when I need eyes on a piece is an invaluable asset, and being able to engage with their work as well is invigorating. Being able to see someone grow alongside you as an artist, and get a peek into their process as it forms, is more valuable than any book I’ve read of a poet I love, but have never met. Being a part of my MFA program, as well, provides me with a similar ecstasy—of course, not all MFA programs are created equal, and not every cohort will be supportive of one another, so I am lucky to be a part of one that is a supportive environment, one where everyone is rooting for everyone else and shaping each other into the writers they know they can be.
What do you like about Ghost City Press? Why did you choose to release your work with them?
Ghost City Press is one of my favorite presses—they give such genuine care to each and every one of their writers, no matter their publication history. I submitted to Ghost City Review in 2018 and had a poem accepted, and then submitted again for their My Loves: A Digital Anthology of Queer Love Poems, so I have worked with them a couple of times on a much smaller scale. They also published my micro-chap Sentimental Violence: Some Poems About Tonya Harding as part of their 2020 Summer Series. Their Summer Series is another example of how great a press GCP—the dedication to making poetry available regardless of one’s income or finances, and making space for SO many writers to showcase their work in a widespread manner. They care so much about the work they put out—you are not simply a number or a revenue stream, but a friend of the press and those that run it. Working with GCP is a dream come true for a debut chap.
What podcasts do you listen to? What are they about?
For funny podcasts, I absolutely love This Might Get Weird by Mamrie Hart and Grace Helbig, two old-school YouTubers I still adore. I typically, however, listen to more “educational,” scientific podcasts—Science Vs., Ologies, Flash Forward, and even the fictional The Cryptonaturalist. These podcasts, in their own ways, dissect scientific entanglements and history in such fascinating, thought-provoking, and even funny ways. The poems I’m currently working (outside of this chap) have begun to engage more with the natural world and the fascinating poetry of just being a being that exists in this atmosphere, so listening to these podcasts engage me creatively as well as recreationally. Additionally, they recommend some amazing nonfiction reads.
Describe your artistic routine / regimen. How did you develop this?
I have a desk next to my bed, positioned in front of a large window overlooking the apartment complexes near me. Being on the third floor, I am face-to-face with the tops of the trees outside my window, and their pink budding flowers, which is such a sight—however, I don’t see them when I write because I tend to write midnight and onward. The restfulness of the world at that moment provides me with a better capacity to think—with the couple flickering streetlights in the distance, I kick open my journal to handwrite drafts or my laptop to edit, and lately rotate my background music with Lorde’s Melodrama, Mitski’s Be The Cowboy, and Troye Sivan’s In A Dream. If I’m feeling saucy, Taylor Swift’s folklore. I suppose the best way to phrase it is I developed this routine through trial and error, realizing what worked for me and what didn’t. The wistful silence of night coupled with my impending thoughts makes for a great, and at times volatile, recipe for my poetry. Often my drafts are written over a few days, a line here or there during the day, but the amalgamation of those into a veritable draft tends to not come until after the sun has set. Sort of like a vampire. My poems are emotional, gay vampires.
Make us a playlist:
Without saying too much: this playlist is meant to encapsulate everything Soft Obliteration dreamed of being, and everything my next project will be. Is that cryptic enough? Here it is.
Find more of Hogan’s work, including updates on Soft Obliteration and subsequent releases on her Instagram.