Meet Our Contributor: Francesca Leader

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About the Contributor

Francesca Leader (author photo)
Francesca Leader

Francesca Leader is a Montanan living elsewhere. Connect with her on Twitter/X (@mooninabucket) or IG (@moon.in.a.bucket), or find some of her published writing and artwork on her author page, inabucketthemoon.wordpress.com.


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Contributor Q & A

You’re a pretty active writer, publishing poetry, short fiction and creative nonfiction. Can you share a little about your busy life?

I'm a nearly-divorced baby Gen X-er raising three zillenials. Between keeping up with the kids, the ex, the day job, and my writing, I'd say I put in 12-14 hour days most of the time. I recently took up Bikram yoga as part of a commitment to better health and self-care in 2024, which will mean less writing time, and I'm feeling good about that decision so far.

Can you tell our readers a little about your writing life and how you got started?

As an only child growing up in an isolated cabin on the Rocky Mountain Front, I had to provide my own entertainment most of the time. This was never a problem for me. I'd roam the countryside spouting songs and stories I made up on the fly, which served the dual purposes of keeping me busy and scaring the bears away. I think I started turning inward and writing things down more in 4th or 5th grade. I'd written my own storybooks since I could hold a pencil, but never anything really personal before middle school. I remember writing this short piece--what we'd call flash fiction today--about a girl who conquers her nerves and goes off the high dive at the local pool for the first time. My English teacher liked it so much he had me read it to the class. Even though I was a social outcast with no friends, everyone clapped when I was done. I think that was the first time I thought I might "have something" as a writer. There was a long period of dormancy in which I pursued other things, in part because I knew writing wouldn't pay the bills. But I couldn't stay away from it entirely--I tried a few different critique groups between 2011 and 2019, and just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I managed to complete my first two stories. "The Flaw" was my first literary publication, in Coffin Bell Journal (November 2020). Since then I've published over 100 pieces of fiction, CNF, poetry, and art.

What would you say has been your greatest writing accomplishment so far and what do you still hope to achieve?

I'll probably never be more proud of a piece than the story "Now You See Him," [link] published in the last-ever print issue of the J Journal in December 2022, and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. It's a bilingual short story written in English and Japanese, from the perspective of a disturbed yet hilarious character I had bouncing around in my brain for nearly a decade before I finally got her out on the page. My writing goals are simple. I'd like to publish, in no particular order: a poetry collection, a flash fiction collection, and a collection of long-form short stories. That ought to keep me busy for a few decades. And if I ever get past those goals, I might try writing a novel again. (Wrote one during the pandemic, but scrapped it.)

Most writers are heavy readers. What are your reading habits like and who are some of your influences?

New Yorker book reviews and the recommendations of well-read friends are probably the two ways I most often find my next novel. That said, I do most of my reading in snippets--pretty much every day, I'll read a few pieces of flash fiction and poetry shared by writers I follow on social media. Some of my favorite authors are Louise Erdrich, Vladimir Nabokov, Lucia Berlin, Norman Mailer, and Alice Munro. If I recommend a book to someone, it's usually because I found it to contain something both deeply true and unusually well-expressed. I'm especially drawn to books written with inventive language, sensuality, playfulness, and dark humor. Though I respect a writer who does their homework, I'm not usually drawn in by heavily-researched historical novels, no matter how well-written. 

Front Page header (Volume 1, Issue 2: Mar-Apr 2024)

Contents

New Poetry Titles (2/27/24)

Check out new poetry books published the week of 2/27 from Alien Buddha Press, GASHER Press, Bottlecap Press, University of Arizona Press, Omnidawn, Signal Editions, Guernica Editions, The Backwaters Press, University of Nebraska Press, Caitlin Press Inc, Autumn House Press, Georgia Review Books, The University of Kentucky Press, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Brick Books, Changes Press, Tupelo Press, Black Lawrence Press, and MoonPath Press.

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March ‘24: Welcome to Issue 2

Read a note from editor Aiden Hunt about our second bimonthly issue, contributor accomplishments, and things to come.

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New Poetry Titles (3/5/24)

Check out new poetry books published the week of 3/5 from Graywolf Press, Knopf, Bottlecap Press, powerHouse Books, Milkweed Editions, Acre Books, Seagull Books, The University Press of Kentucky, Yale University Press, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Penguin Books, Able Muse Press, Button Poetry, Miami University Press, Eyewear Publishing, Black Ocean, Seren, MoonPath Press, and Book*Hub Press. Editor’s picks from Diane Seuss and Cindy Juyoung Ok.

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Contributor Poem of the Month: The Plan

Read the Contributor Poem of the Month for March 2024, “The Plan” by C.M. Crockford, along with a few words from the poet.

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New Poetry Titles (3/12/24)

Check out new poetry books published in the week of 3/12 from Belle Point Press, Bottlecap Press, Black Lawrence Press, Haymarket Books, Ecco, Milkweed Editions, Seagull Books, Hub City Press, Nightboat Books, Signature Books, Four Way Books, Curbstone Books, Kaya Press, Kith Books, Saturnalia Books, Ohio University Press, University of Wisconsin Press, Jackleg Press, Semiotext(e) and Brick Books.

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Chapbook Poem of the Month: Collection

Read the featured Chapbook Poem of the Month for March 2024, “Collection” from Dreamsoak by Will Russo, along with a few words from the poet.

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Meet Our Contributor: C.M. Crockford

Meet our contributor, C.M. Crockford, a writer and editor originally from New Hampshire, now living in Philadelphia with his cat, Wally.

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New Poetry Titles (3/19/24)

Check out new poetry books published the week of 3/19 from Bottlecap Press, Autumn House Press, Knopf, Guernica Editions, Tin House Books, Milkweed Editions, University of Wisconsin Press and Book*Hug Press.

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Meet Our Contributor: Mike Bagwell

Meet our contributor, Mike Bagwell, a writer, poet, and software engineer in Philly. He’s published two poetry chapbooks and has a full-length collection forthcoming in 2024.

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New Poetry Titles (3/26/24)

Check out new poetry books for the week of 3/26 from Bottlecap Press, Nightwood Editions, Harbour Publishing, McClellan & Stewart, Carcanet Press, University of Regina Press, At Bay Press, Guernica Editions, Beltway Editions, University of Georgia Press, Lost Horse Press, University of New Mexico Press, University of Massachusetts Press, Book*Hug Books, Haymarket Books, Archipelago, Autumn House Press, Hat & Beard Press, Tigerlily Press, and GASHER Press.

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Meet Our Contributor: Francesca Leader

Meet our contributor, Francesca Leader, a Montanan living elsewhere who writes poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. Read about her writing life in her Contributor Q&A.

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April ‘24: Of SPD, Genocide, and Book Reviews

Editor Aiden Hunt writes about distribution woes, the ongoing genocide in Gaza, and what we have coming during April in the Editor’s Note.

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New Poetry Titles (4/2/24)

Check out new poetry books published the week of 4/2 from Bottlecap Press, Green Linden Press, Stanchion Books, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Small Harbor Publishing, Milkweed Editions, Graywolf Press, Wave Books, Arsenal Pulp Press, New Directions, Invisible Publishing, Brick Books, Sixteen Rivers Press, Penguin Books, City Lights Publishers, And Other Stories, BOA Editions Ltd, OR Books, Not a Cult, Copper Canyon Press, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Beacon Press, Biblioasis, Nightboat Books, Amistad, House of Anansi Press, Hub City Press, Seagull Books, Fordham University Press, Iron Pen, Persea Books, Central Avenue Publishing, CavanKerry Press, W. W. Norton & Company, University of Akron Press and Red Hen Press.

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Contributor Poem of the Month: Self Portrait

Read the Contributor Poem of the Month for April 2024, “Self Portrait” by Mike Bagwell, along with a few words from the poet.

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On Cindy Juyoung Ok’s ‘House Work’: A Review Essay

Editor Aiden Hunt’s essay reviews Cindy Juyoung Ok’s poetry chapbook, ‘House Work’, published by Ugly Duckling Presse in March 2023.

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New Poetry Titles (4/9/24)

Check out new poetry books published the week of 4/9 from Faber & Faber, Small Harbor Publishing, Bottlecap Press, University of Pittsburgh Press, Green Writers Press, Loom Press, Paraclete Press, Able Muse Press, Caitlin Press Inc., Stephen F. Austin University Press, University of North Texas Press, McGill-Queen’s University Press, University of New Mexico Press, Curbstone Books, Milkweed Editions, Red Hen Press, Wave Books, Alice James Books, Paul Dry Books, Copper Canyon Press, Coffee House Press, powerHouse Books, Dial Press, Knopf, Nightboat Books, SUNY Press, Belle Point Press, White Stag Publishing, and Anhinga Press.

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New Poetry Titles (4/16/24)

Check out new poetry books published the week of 4/16 from Bottlecap Press, Knopf, HarperOne, Small Harbor Publishing, Red Hen Press, Copper Canyon Press, Nightwood Editions, Southern Illinois University Press, Seren, Sarabande Books, Phoneme Media, BOA Editions Ltd., W. W. Norton & Company, JBE Books, White Stag Publishing, ECW Press, knife | fork | book and McGill-Queen’s University Press.

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Chapbook Poem of the Month: Study of Daylight

Read the featured Chapbook Poem of the Month for April 2024, “Study of Daylight” from Love Letters from a Burning Planet by MJ Gomez, along with a few words from the poet.

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