Mindock: A Somerville Poet with an Eastern European
with Doug Holder
Mindock has lived, written, and created in Somerville, Mass
for many years.
does she have the respect of the local and national poetry
community but she has quite a following abroad. She edits
the Istanbul Literary Review from her home in
the Union Square section of our city, as well as running her
Cervena Barva Press, an independent press that has published
numerous titles from poets domestic and foreign. Mindock's
own work has resonated with the poetry community in Eastern
Europe, and she has been published in a number of literary
journal there, most notably in Romania. Mindock is a
substance abuse social worker, had her own theater company,
and for a decade co-edited the Boston Literary
Review. I spoke to her on my Somerville Community
Access TV Show Poet to Poet : Writer to Writer.
Doug Holder: How and when did the Cervena Barva Press
Gloria Mindock: I started the Cervena Barva Press in
2005. I have an interest in Eastern European writing thus
the name Cervena Barva, which in Czech means "red."
We have published over 60 chapbooks and 31 full lengths. Our
new focus will be on translations but we still will be
involved with traditional publishing.
DH: Your work is very popular in Eastern Europe, and has
appeared in prominent Romanian journals. What's your ethnic
GM: I'm French, Italian, Polish and German. A real
mutt. I think Eastern European folks are attracted to my
poems for their emotion, and the risks they take. I write
about death, a lot of dark imagery. I deal with atrocities—Eastern
Europe has had their share of them.
DH: Tell me about this Eastern European Writing
Conference you are planning.
GM: It is a very exciting project. It's going to be a
weekend long conference next year. I know a lot of writers
in this part of the world so I know I can swing it. I will
bring some over from Europe, and invite area writers like
Andrey Gritsman as well. I am also interested in inviting
Jim Kates of the Zephyr Press based in New Hampshire—they
do a wonderful job with translations.
DH: Tell us about your latest collection The
Whiteness of Bone.
GM: It is about the atrocities in El Salvador years
back and it is about El Salvador today. It also deals with
atrocities around the world.
DH: The writer's life has been a labor of love for
many of us. You pursued it—and
probably sacrificed financial stability etc... Has it been
GM: Yes. Definitely. My partner Bill sacrificed a lot—we
certainly don't live a fancy lifestyle. I work as a social
worker here in Somerville. I am glad I do what I do—my
artistic pursuits. I can't imagine doing anything else. Sure—I
wish I made more money—who
doesn't? It would be easier. It is very expensive to live
around here. But I couldn't leave. I have made many friends
over the years and through the Bagel Bards—a
Somerville, Mass. based literary group.
DH: Tell us about the reading series you started at
the Arts Armory here in Somerville.
GM: I started the First and Last Word Poetry Series
with Harris Gardner. It meets once-a-month—every
third Tuesday. Three poets read and there is an open mic. We
have had great audiences and have hosted poets like Ben
Mazer, Lloyd Schwartz, Richard Cambridge, X. J. Kennedy and
many others. The cafe is great—and
they recently got a beer and wine license—so
come on down!
Poem by Gloria
Sin has formed on their mouths, and they
We are silenced into a void.
Souls singled out for torture.
Oscar Romero created a Heaven.
Carried us in his arms of prayer.
In church, we drink Christ to free ourselves.
Decapitation was not a devotion to believe in.
The soldiers will burn in a red sky.
When Oscar gave his life to the Lord,
he made a bed of blood and bones, turned it
into a path of purity so white that only the people
of El Salvador can use it. Sometimes we flee
on horseback to get away from the visible.
Those soldiers are the ones in battle with
Like Lions, they roar, sooner or later,
they will be tamed.
This persecution will turn back on them.
We learned to deliver our ashes. We rise
up and bury ourselves in this white
church with a bullet to our bone.
Scorched from the hot sun, our sandals
fall apart. We carry ourselves like a surge, proud
and capable of waiting for our execution.
Oscar was married to the church.
Life was only his bride for awhile.
He is our altar we pray at diligently.
We pray our dreams are received as they
assassinate us kneeling in prayer.
Better to die this way than clinging
to the wrong light. The soldiers are like wild
A bite that shows such commotion that we laugh.
with the Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene!
Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene
Doug Holder's CV:
Ibbetson Street Press
Ibbetson Street Press Online Bookstore