Tuesday 5 June 2018


It has been a while, lit fiends, but it is finally time for a brand new interview. This time with a writer/poet/publisher that I discovered fairly recently and have had the pleasure of not only reading his work, but seeing his publishing outfit, Iron Lung Press, flourish into something truly special. I also have the honour of publishing one of his poems in the latest issue of my literary zine, PAPER AND INK...

First things first, what's your name, what do you do, and where do you come from?

My name is Arthur J. Willhelm, i am a writer and the founder of Iron Lung Press based in New Jersey, USA.

How long have you been writing poetry?

I wrote here and there since 2008, but recently decided to become serious about it and take my writing to the next level.

You've recently started your own small publishing outfit, Iron Lung Press, what was the thinking behind this venture?

Iron Lung Press started as a means to put out my own work, but after drinking a good amount, it hit me that i can put out small chapbooks for upcoming writers, a sample of their talents if you will.

What do you make of the state of the small press scene at the moment? How have you found it starting from scratch and getting to where you are now?

I think small press is amazing, we are the working class, no big corporate fat cats or wallets, we do this because we love it, i am broke, but passionate.

You have a close relationship with British based small press Analog Submission, how did that come about?

Marc and i met on instagram through his checking out iron lung press, his writing is amazing and he influenced much of what i am doing now.

Do you think there is less stigma attached to self publishing these days than there was a decade or so ago when it started to become more popular?

Of course there is, these days, publishers want the next big thing, we are the working class romantics, self publishing assures that our work is ours. i fucking love it.

As a writer, who or what have been the biggest influences on your work?

Honestly, Marc from analog submission has been a huge influence, his work is incredible, outside of that, the beat generation hands down.

You recently published your first novel, Kitchen Beers, which you describe as a 'blast fiction', can you describe what you mean by that term and what is the novel about?

Blast fiction was something that came to me as a means of mixing blast beats from metal and fiction, fast paced. the story moves forward in bursts. The novel is a dramatized account of my real life career as a chef in kitchens.

Do you consider yourself a poet first and writer second? Or is poetry and prose one and and the same?

That is a tough one, everyone says they are a poet these days, but in the essence of my writing, yeah, i am a poet first.

What was the last book you read that blew your mind?

Get it back to give it away by marc from analog submission. I am not just saying this, this book is like on the road in modern times, it blew me away.

If you could get drunk with any three people, living or dead, who would they be?

Bukowski (obvious if you have read my writing), kerouac, and ginsberg. i would love to drink and hear stories with the men that laid the foundation for how we write.

If you could publish a chapbook of poetry by any poet, living or dead, who would it be?

shit, that is tough and i am drunk, i would have to say Mr. Allen Ginsberg, his writing changed everything.

What are your plans for the future going forward with Iron Lung Press?

My plans are to print chapbooks for the underdog, help those who have big dreams at least have a small book to show people that they are serious. Poetry is a tough sell, but we are the dreamers.

Thank you Martin, for this interview, i appreciate the interest in Iron Lung and myself.


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