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Michael Hathaway

Poetry and publishing

Michael's website

 

Q. When did you discover your passion for writing?

A. When I was 15 years old, bored to distraction in school and disgusted with much of the poetry in my literature book. I started writing poems during school instead of paying attention to the teachers droning on and on.. But, some of the poets in the lit books and the library really got me fired up. Those who did were: Edna St. Millay, Sylvia Plath, E.E. Cummings, Lew Sarrett, Gwendolyn Brooks, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allen Poe, just to name a few.

Q. How did the Chiron come about ?

A. Same concept: profound boredom. I worked at the Great Bend (Ks) Tribune right out of high school and got bored with the endless drivel I had to typeset. I began wondering how it would be to publish my own small magazine, and eventually did just that. The first issue came out Feb. 19, 1982.

Q. What is a typical day at work for you?

A. I usually get out of bed around 3 or 4 p.m. I have to feed cats, and clean up after them, and straighten the house. I cannot work in a messy or disorganized environment. It's too distracting. After all that, I usually get to work on Chiron, or chapbooks around 7 or 8 p.m. and work for six or eight hours. Sometimes lots more, sometimes lots less, depending on my mood and the amount of work to be done. Some days I decide not to work at all, and go riding around with mom, or to the movies or something fun. I always answer mail first, then get to production on the magazine or chapbooks.

Q. Do you have a studio or workspace?

A. Yes, I have a workspace. I have a double-sized upstairs bedroom, which also serves as an office and Grand Central Station for the cats. It's perfect for everything I need.

Q. How do you promote, market or publicize your services?

A. I exchange ads and fliers with other publications and list Chiron Review in Poets Market, International Directory of Small Presses and little Magazines, R.R. Bowker, and any other literary marketplace that asks. Chiron is now distributed by Ingram Periodicals, which distributes to Barnes & Noble and other chain bookstores. I never pay for advertising, I always exchange ads. The best advertisement is word mouth. If people like your product, they'll tell others about it.

Q. Where do you see yourself in five years?

A. That's a hard question. I've never been able to imagine that far ahead. Things change so much, it's impossible to know. Ideally, I'll be right where I am, at home in St. John with my cats, publishing the sassiest literary magazine in the country. But who knows?

Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers and indie publishers?

A. Giving advice is hard too. Weird words from a Virgo right?!? But, I guess I would tell writers indie publishers to be persistent. Never falter in your goal or vision, even if it means making huge sacrifices and even taking big losses at first. The greatest reward of all is being able to make a reasonable living doing what you love to do. It is worth any amount of sacrifice. I know that from experience.

One month after this interview Mike's mother Mama Jane passed away. She was a special lady that embraced everyone as her own and whose smile lit up the world. She will be missed by her family, friends and poets everywhere.

The following is a poem published by Michael Hathaway in 1988. It is characteristic of the wry observations that can be found in much of his poetry.

SUNDAY SCHOOL

She said," In heaven there'll be streets made of transparent gold and a mansion for everyone!" & I said, "wow, but do people DO in heaven?!? She said "you can do anything you want in heaven & I said, "do you mean I can ride dinosaurs & sing Mama Cass?!?" & she said"... Uh, I guess so."

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