Catching Up With Tinderbox

Where can we read some of your recent work?

Hello, Tinderbox. Thank you for catching up with me. In 2018, my poetry chapbook From a Lisbon Rooftop was published by Plan B Press. The book chronicles themes from Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet. It is available through the publisher’s website and includes a review.

Cover of "From a Lisbon Rooftop" by Eric Steineger
From a Lisbon Rooftop by Eric Steineger

Also in 2018, I published in the following journals:

Waxwing – (creative nonfiction) “Realization with Whole Foods and Daughter

The Ekphrastic Review – (poetry) “Triptych: Madame Cézanne in a Red Armchair

Shining Rock Anthology – (article) “Notes on Editing at The Citron Review with Eric Steineger

What are you reading right now?

I feel like I am always reading something, whether that means student essays or incoming submissions for Citron! I am better for it.

Currently, I am reading David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King and Ada Limón’s The Carrying. I consider David Foster Wallace to be the most talented fiction writer of his generation; the scope of his imagination and dexterity in navigating the orbit he creates in each story is unrivaled to me. I am dipping into the book a little at a time, usually at night, when everything is done, which is not easy with a three year old.

Though I had heard of Ada Limón’s work previously, I had not had the pleasure of sitting down with one of her books. So glad I did, and thank you to my sister, Ashley Steineger, a poet in the M.F.A. program at Queens University, for recommending her, as Limón is one of her mentors. The Carrying is powerful and sensitive at once, and especially relevant in 2019. Limón’s poem “A New National Anthem” should be required reading for citizens in this country, as it may cause some to reflect afresh on what it means to be American. She touches on many subjects in this book: gender roles, anxiety, cultural identity, the restorative powers of nature, and the concepts of permanence and fulfillment in an impermanent world. Oscar Wilde had a line, “I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex,” and I feel like I can see Limón in The Carrying, walking over to a familiar plot of ground in Kentucky, bending down, then with her ear to the earth, present in real time, but also listening for what might be coming next.

What’s next for you?

I am at work on a full-length poetry manuscript that reaches back to my acting days in Los Angeles and follows me across the country, to Asheville, culminating with a portrait of never-dull family life with my wife and daughter. If you can imagine a spectrum with surrealism on one end and confessional verse on the other, then you might be able to picture the trajectory of this book. I am also researching Portuguese with an eye toward translation. This fall, I have an article that is slated for publication that focuses on syntactical differences between English and Portuguese, and how those differences may yield varying poems. Fortunately, there is time to improve my language skills and have fun with the process.

Eric Steineger

Eric Steineger teaches English at Mars Hill University. He is the Managing Editor and Senior Poetry Editor of The Citron Review, while his poetry/prose has been featured in The Los Angeles Review, Rattle: The Poets Respond, Waxwing, and other journals. His poetry chapbook From a Lisbon Rooftop was recently published by Plan B Press. Occasionally, he curates poetry events for Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.