As well as feature our future readers, we also wanted to check in with folks who have read for us over the last 5 years. Michael McKeown Bondhus (formerly Charlie Bondhus) read for us in 2019 – read what he has been up to below!
What have you been up to since reading with us at Writers & Words? How has the writing been going?
I’ve been keeping up with poetry, but my big news is that I finished my first full-length play, Minus World. If you’re a fan of old school Nintendo, specifically Super Mario Bros., the title should be familiar.
What are you working on right now (writing or otherwise (nothing is a valid answer as well))?
I’m working on a series of poems exploring some of the activism I did over the past year with a Brooklyn-based anarchist cooperative. I was involved in a couple anti-ICE demonstrations and direct actions. I also did some work around climate justice and resisting the over policing of people of color in the MTA.
What has been your favorite Quarantine Read thus far?
Kris Bigalk’s newest poetry collection Enough (NYQ Books) is a great read tracing the arc of a failed relationship. I also finally finished Our Word is Our Weapon (Seven Stories Press), which is a collection of letters, poems, and stories written by Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatista National Liberation Army.
How would you describe the writing community where you live in just a few words?
Our local bookstore in Asbury Park is transforming into a cooperative. This is great because it gives local writers and readers a reliable space for events. I’m so honored that they’re hosting the Zoom reading of my play! If you’re interested in ordering books from a small business, check them out! https://asburybookcoop.indielite.org/
What would be a few words of advice you would give someone wanting to get into any writing community?
Attend local events and talk to people. I don’t just mean the people giving the reading or presentation. I met one of my good writing friends at a talk on prosody at Poet’s House in Manhattan. I barely remember the event but it was through my new friend that I connected to a lot of the queer writers in the city.
Bonus question: What level of quarantine are you at? 1) relaxing with a book, 2) the dog clears her throat too loudly, 3) hot dog fries, 4) THE PRINTER IS BROKEN I DON’T NEED A PRINTER, 5) I am one with the Force and the Force is with me.
Floating between 1 and 3 on any given day.
Michael McKeown Bondhus (formerly Charlie Bondhus) is an Irish-American writer. He’s the author of Divining Bones (Sundress, 2018) and All the Heat We Could Carry (Main Street Rag, 2013), winner of the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry. His work has appeared in Poetry, Poetry Ireland Review, The Missouri Review, Columbia Journal, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Bellevue Literary Review, and Copper Nickel. He has received fellowships from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the Sundress Academy for the Arts, and the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers (UK). He is associate professor of English at Raritan Valley Community College (NJ). More at: http://charliebondhus.com.