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John Amen

Alumnus, 1983-84

John Amen attended the Workshop in poetry and songwriting in 1983 and 1984. He founded and continues to edit The Pedestal Magazine.

Where are you living and what brought you there?

I live in Charlotte, NC. I came to Charlotte in 1984 to attend college. I moved several times, to NYC and New Orleans among other cities, returning to Charlotte in 2001.

Where are you working and what do you enjoy about it?

I’m a freelance writer, performer, workshop facilitator, and editor. I feel very grateful that much of my vocational work is also what I naturally enjoy doing. There are, of course, tedious aspects to any job or pursuit, but for the most part I’ve landed in a field that is ideal for me.

What do you find yourself most often reading/listening to lately and why?

While I mostly read fiction and poetry, I also make a point of reading history, psychology, and philosophy. I appreciate a wide range of music.

What are you working on right now and what does it represent in the larger body of your artistic accomplishments?

I’m working on new poems as well as a new collaborative project (fiction) with a poet in OK. Daniel Y. Harris (with whom I co-wrote The New Arcana) and I have a new project we’re working on as well. These days I’m particularly appreciating collaborative and multi-genre/mixed media pursuits. 

What are your publications, performances, albums, and/or achievements that seem most important to you at this point in time?

I’m the author of four collections of poetry: Christening the Dancer, More of Me Disappears, At the Threshold of Alchemy, and the abovementioned The New Arcana. I’ve also released two folk/folk rock CDs: All I’ll Never Need and Ridiculous Empire. I founded and continue to edit The Pedestal Magazine (www.thepedestalmagazine.com). 

How would you characterize the influence of your YWW experience in your life?

YWW was a seminal experience for me. It was the first time I felt kinship with like-minded people, and it was also the first time I had ever been in an environment where art—writing, in particular—was taken seriously. I would cite attending YWW, particularly the first year, as one of my most formative experiences, one that had longstanding impact.

What’s the best advice you can give a Young Writer (in general or in your specific genre)?

Make a commitment for the long haul; plan on writing consistently, every day if possible. If you want to pursue writing as a profession, there will be certain practical steps/options you’ll want to consider, but again, just commit to writing and thinking about writing for the rest of your life. Make it a life-practice.

Where can we find you online?

Personal websites:  www.johnamen.comFacebook fan page (not profile):  www.facebook.com/johncamenThe Pedestal Magazine

Submitted July 2013