01 – How did this project come about?
I’d first come in contact with Karen Tardiff (Founder & Editor-In-Chief of Gnashing Teeth Publishing) by submitting to her literary magazine. After being published there a couple of times, she approached me with the idea of publishing a collection of sorts. We ended up meeting for a drink (or two) and hashing out some of the ideas that eventually became Twin Opposites. I was very keen on the concept of adding digital extras, giving the reader more than just words on a page. I loved the idea of including scans of my handwritten first drafts because it’s rare to see the initial renderings of a poem- there’s something very visceral in that, I believe. Readers hardly ever get to see an author’s mistakes and revisions.
02 – What was your favorite part of compiling Twin Opposites?
My favorite part was compiling the playlists. For this particular project, I curated two separate playlists. I wanted one playlist to be composed distinctly of Britpop songs I loved as a youngster. I really loved this genre when it was new and I am elated that these songs have aged as well as they have. I often revisit these tracks when writing new material. I think everybody has an affinity for songs they discovered in high school or around that era of their youth.
The second playlist is a more general type, filled with songs I look forward
to sharing with everyone because I think they all, in their own way, tell a story. I think they’re all so well-crafted. This one feels more like a playlist I’d play for someone if we were just hanging out. Plus, it’s got some mighty tight grooves on it!!!
03 – And the most challenging?
I’d have to say the most challenging part was choosing the pieces for the manuscript. I knew I wanted two parts- new poems and previously published pieces. For the new poems, I wanted to give a sense of listening to a summer mixtape in the dead of winter- that certain juxtaposition. With the previously published ones, I wanted to collect a group of poems that fit well together, and led the book to a sort of conclusion.
04 – What inspired you to include ‘A Spotlight on Art’ section?
With this inclusion, I wanted to showcase artists that I’ve known personally for quite some time. I went to elementary school with Eddie Angel and always admired the way it seemed he knew he was an artist and never apologized for it. To anybody, ever. Watching him through the years fearlessly evolving has been very inspiring. I remember him putting on rock shows in high school and thinking- ‘there isn’t much that’s gonna stop this kid’.
I met Gary Alvarez in high school and we ended up both going to Cal, where we became housemates and really close friends. He was one of the first people I was able to say to- yes, I am a writer. And that was a very big deal for me. Writing is such a personal thing, you always feel like you’re giving away pages of your diary to read. I feel that every artist needs a friend that believes in you even in those moments when you don’t necessarily believe in yourself- and Gary has been that friend to me. He’s gone on to become an independent film writer and director and it’s an honor for me now to showcase his talents.
05 – What’s next for you in terms of your writing?
Since first clicking the ‘submit’ button at the end of 2018, it’s been a wild ride through the modern publishing world. Mainly, I’ve learned two things: Rejection is inevitable and success takes a lot of support. Finding literary magazines and submitting your work can occupy a place in your life that lingers between hobby and complete obsession. I decided that I was going to take the year 2022 ‘off’, meaning no seeking lit mags and no submitting. AT ALL. Or rather, nearly not at all. It’s been a delight to spend time with my wife, Nahemie, and just sit around and watch murder mysteries and not be searching every corner of the internet as to where to submit my newest poem. But I have to admit, it is a cherished moment every time I tell my son Dylan that I got published again and watch his face beam- that never gets old. As to what’s next- I really don’t know, and that’s the honest truth. I’d like to focus more on creating chapbooks and full manuscripts. I feel that’s the natural next step. In many ways, I like not knowing what’s next, rolling with the punches- at this point, that’s how I’ll find the next opportunity. But, I’m always working on something, there’s always a new project coming down the pipeline and it’ll probably be that way as long as I’m around.
Last I Heard
1338 Hearst Ave
Heaven Must Be a Freeway
Late Night Transfer
The Sky is Falling in Berkeley
Coup de Foudre
Borderless: RGV Anthology
San Antonio Review
Los Angeles Poet Society
Dumpster Fire Press
Harpy Hybrid Review
Rye Whiskey Review
Melbourne Culture Corner
Lion & Lilac
Christian Garduno’s work can be read in over 100 literary magazines. He’s the recipient of the 2019 national Willie Morris Award for Southern Poetry, a Finalist in the 2020-2021 Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Writing Contest, and a Finalist in the 2021 Julia Darling Memorial Poetry Prize. He lives and writes along the South Texas coast with his wonderful wife Nahemie and young son Dylan.