Rhiannon Thorne — Raquel to her friends, don’t ask — is never knowingly seen without a drink in her hands. Which pretty much makes her one of us. As does her poem ‘La ventana’ in our chart-topping collection America Is Not The World.
Who are you? Editor, poet, craft beer and dino enthusiast.
And where in the world are you? Stuck in America
What is the best thing about your country? Free speech
And the worst? Trump. Trumpism. #Drumpf.
How has your country shaped you? In some good ways, and in some bad ways, I’m sure… but I really think there is something to growing up in a country where you’re told you’re free. Even if that’s not always true (yea, patriarchy, I’m looking at you), it was a belief that I can and should be free that shaped me. Of course, I certainly think there are plenty of other countries that also raise their youth this way, and probably some who do it better than us.
Tell us about your favorite place in the world. I miss the hell out of Spain: Granada, Madrid, San Sebastian (although I think that the Basque Country should get their country back—search “Basque nationalism”). I want to retire somewhere in the Greek Isles. Shout-out to Thunder Bay, Ontario!
Tell us about your poem/story in America Is Not the World. This poem is based off of two very vivid dreams I had one night. I did my study abroad in Madrid, Spain. So this poem is a little about that. It’s also about the best love story I know: my Grandpa My and my Grandma Suzy. I guess when my heart dreams, it dreams these two things together.
Tell us about a writer in your country that we should know about. Sarah Blake. She’s doing all of this great hybrid work right now. Mr. West, her full-length “unauthorized lyric biography of Kanye West” published by Wesleyan, was fantastic, but there’s also a lot of great Blake available online. The Starship is a “book-lenth sci-fi poem” published last year at Berfrois. It’s particularly fantastic because she worked with several different artists to collaborate (one for each of the 12 parts of her poem) and so it’s both lyrically and visually stunning. For those wanting to ease-in a little, her suite of poems published at Queen Mob’s is a great representation of what you’ll get in Mr. West, only you know, without Kanye. And I cannot wait to see what happens with her upcoming Poetry Workbook. She’s feminist, humanist, lyrical, heartbreaking, provocative, risk-taking, and easy to keep tabs on through twitter @blakesarah.
What else is going on? Right now I’m working on getting the Tandem Reader Awards, a non-profit off with a wonderful team, off the ground. I could talk you ear off about this because I feel so strongly that more projects like this are needed in our creative community, but I’ll just leave you with our description and our website and a big open-arms-welcome to everyone reading this to come check us out (and maybe join the team!):
We believe chapbooks are little acts of love. Often hand-bound in small batches by dedicated editor-publishers, chapbooks are capable of expressing considerable personalities and creating immediate, intimate spaces with readers.
Tandem Reader Awards was established in 2016 as a nonprofit organization to award the special relationship between writer and editor. We acknowledge the hurdles impeding accessibility to many awards in our creative community, especially for minority and marginalized voices. In recognition of this disparity between who can and cannot submit to many awards, we pledge our commitment to being broadly accessible within the literary community by maintaining fee-free nominations.
More information here: http://tandemreaderawards.com/
What is next for you? I’m not sure. Right now I’m doing the funding tango with some grad programs, so I may or may not go next year. We’ll see. If not, I’m thinking I’ll apply to be a camp counselor this summer. I mean, it’s been forever since I’ve been to camp, and the world probably needs more of my horrible singing.
Tell us a secret. One time I sent panties to a Pankhearst editor.
Give us a song. I keep picking one Santigold song and then replacing it with another. And then another and another. So I will say this, the one below is from an earlier album, but this video is just so dang watchable. Stick around Santi’s channel to see more because her new album 99¢ is also amazing and a listen.
Rhiannon Thorne, known as Raquel by friends, grew up in the Bay Area of California, a couple hours north of San Francisco in the wine country. Currently she resides in Southern California with her bookmark-thieving rat Modesto where she is the managing editor of cahoodaloodaling, a Sundress Publications journal; a book reviewer and associate interviewer for Up the Staircase Quarterly; and the president of the fee-free chapbook Tandem Reader Award. Raquel’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, Midwest Quarterly, and The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review, among others. She may also be reached by email at rhiannon_thorne [at] live [dot] com or on twitter @Rhiannon_Thorne.