Welcome to the next installment of “Meet the Writers.” This time I spoke with my friend and former instructor Jon Pineda, a triple threat in nonfiction, fiction and poetry. Jon teaches at the University of Mary Washington and Queens University of Charlotte. Jon’s work pulls you right in, and he’s a nice guy to boot.
Jon is the author of the memoir Sleep in Me, the novel Apology, and the poetry collections Little Anodynes, The Translator’s Diary, and Birthmark. His work has received the 2016 Library of Virginia Literary Award, the 2013 Milkweed National Fiction Prize, a 2010 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, the 2007 Green Rose Prize from New Issues Poetry & Prose, and the 2003 Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry Open Competition Prize.
His five (evasive) answers are below:
The first most striking thing about LA is the format and size (5×6) – how intentional was this and what was the thinking?
Completely intentional. I wanted a book that could fit easily into my front coat pocket. Ta-da!
What inspired this work and these particular poems? It has a different feel than your other poems.
The original version featured poems that were mostly in couplets. One day I removed the lineation and the punctuation, just to see if a ghost of this former version might linger. That’s how the form began. I wanted things to collide.
You’ve had success in nonfiction, fiction and poetry. It’s unusual, can you speak to this, and do you have a favorite genre to work in?
I do have a favorite, but I’d never say it out loud. (The others genres might hear.)
What’s your most difficult project to date?
Definitely Sleep in Me. That book still crushes me.
What are you working on now?
A novel. And a memoir. And new poems.
BONUS: Filipino food or eastern NC barbecue — which is better or where do you go?
Michael, you’re killing me. I can’t choose, because they’re equally necessary. I’ll say this: for Filipino food, I’ve always been a big fan of Glory’s Bakery in Virginia Beach, VA. Simp’s BBQ in Roper, NC was tops, though it’s no longer around.