Interviews/Q & A
BOSTON LITERARY MAGAZINE
Inside the amazing brains of Laura Rodley, Tina Barry, & Robert Slais
Q & A. February 2023
Do random things inspire your writing?
Yes, absolutely. I’ll overhear a conversation, orread apoem, or a piece of fiction, and something in the words trips a memory or gives me an idea,and then I’m off and running.
Art and Humanity Framed
At Chris Rice Cooper's Back Story of the Poem
May 25, 2020
Which part of the poem was the most emotional for you to write and why?
As a creative woman and mother, I understand how difficult it is to sustain an artist’s life, to find time to make art, and to give yourself permission to use that time for your own work. In Virginia’s case, she was the partner of an already important artist, so there was that struggle to do the work knowing that whatever she produced would always be insignificant compared to his.
I was a designer before I started writing, so I know how it feels to be lost in the moment—it’s just you, your colors, the feel of the materials, and the joy in all of it. When I wrote “My Small World,” I was there with Virginia, feeling her pleasure...
Beautiful Raft: An Interview with Tina Barry, by Hannah Grieco at Empty Mirror
February 28, 2020
"In this new book of poetry, Barry writes about Virginia Haggard, Marc Chagall’s partner, as well as Haggard’s daughter from an earlier relationship. Barry is both whimsical and political, making something historical feel relevant and necessary in today’s world."
HG: You write in a variety of genres, and your language and style bleed over in surprising, gorgeous ways. Tell us about that process, how your mind works as you write in different forms.
TB: I do write in all sorts of genres. The more I write, the more the stories take on poetic language, and the poems tell stories. For BR, I was intent on finding the voices for Haggard and McNeil, so voice and tone drove the writing. Setting was important, too. I wanted the hamlet of High Falls, NY, where the family lived from 1946-1948, and where I now live, to function almost as a character, so a lot of attention was paid to scenery.
Separating authors from the herd and giving them one-on-one time with readers.
THE BOOK: Mall Flower.
PUBLISHED IN: September 2015.
THE AUTHOR: Tina Barry.
THE EDITOR: Robin Stratton.
THE PUBLISHER: Big Table Publishing Company outside Boston.
SUMMARY: Mall Flower is a collection of poems, short and flash fiction and hybrids of the two. Some of the themes I explore are alienation, loss of a parent, divorce, sexual awakening and its decline. I tried to provide the reader with a balance of light and dark, often in the same piece. There are playful pieces, such as “Mall Flower,” about a teenager’s sexual awakening while strolling the mall, and darker yet still humorous works, like the flash “Going South,” that focuses on my family’s last trip to Florida before my parents’ divorce.
SPOTLIGHT on Tina Barry
by Jan Alexander
January, 20, 2020
"Tina Barry is a poet and fiction writer who often combines the two disciplines in what she calls “poem stories,” flash-like narratives rich in language and imagery. She is also a former visual artist, and in Beautiful Raft, her new novella told in poem stories, Barry paints poetic scenes from the life of Virginia Haggard McNeil, an artist in her own right who is mostly remembered, if she is remembered at all, for the seven years she spent as Marc Chagall’s lover."
"Renowned artist Chagall found new life, inspiration in Ulster County's High Falls," by Anthony P. Musso, in The Poughkeepsie Journal, 11/13,18.
"Out from Chagall's Shadow: The Virginia Project in High Falls," by Sharyn Flanagan, in Almanac Weekly, October 25, 2018.
"Vividly Virginia" by Anne Pyburn Craig, about The Virginia Project, in The BlueStone Press, October 19, 2018.
"The Virginia Project: Chagall in High Falls" at Chronogram Magazine
Interview about The Virginia Project with seven of the artists' bios and images created for the exhibit at Mom Egg Review.
Ammy Ontiveros at The Fanny Pack, interviews editor Susan Rukeyser of Feckless C___: A Feminist Anthology. Ontiveros reads my poem "Party at my Place" in full. About 32 minutes in.
Interview with Sharon Isreal host at Planet Poet: Words in Space, W10X FM, to discuss and read pieces from The Virginia Project, August 2018
Blossoming Mall Flower: An Interview with Tina Barry
Loren Kleinman (LK): Can you talk about why you chose to mix the collection with prose and traditional stanzas? Do you think the combination of long and short lines creates a stronger emotional impact?
Tina Barry (TB): Mall Flower is a collection of poems, short and flash fiction and hybrids of the two. I was less concerned with form than whether or not the pieces supported the themes I explored: alienation, loss of a parent, sexual awakening and its decline.
Several of the poems in the first sections focus on my parents' divorce when I was a child. I thought the short story, "Greetings from the Clarks," about a friendship between two women who bond, and sometimes compete, over who has the lousiest father, needed to be in the book too. The women in the story are in their thirties, and yet their fractured relationships with their fathers continue to color their lives. I included pieces with a mix of light and dark. There's a lot of humor that helps balance some of the darker work.
Long and short lines? Yes, always. Few of us have lives that meander along without a crisis or detour. A stanza or paragraph with a few stops and starts mirrors that experience...
Saturday, November 7, 2015
Jen Knox, Blogspot
Writers in the Spotlight: Tina Barry
Welcome to Literary Exhibitionism! I’m excited to have you as a guest author. I was originally introduced to your work in Fictionaut and am always impressed by your ability to create textured, vivid images in so few words. “Tuscaloosa,” a poem I first read in Ramshackle Review, comes to mind...
"It’s interesting that you mention “Tuscaloosa.” My writing has been called “image driven,” and I suppose it is. I was a designer for over a decade so it’s the image I see first, the story it tells follows.
I wrote “Tuscaloosa” after reading about the “Super Tornadoes”of 2011, in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, Alabama. The poem is a series of images, one piled on top of the other, the way I imagined someone would see objects, people, whirl by during a tornado, and how those things would be a visual synopsis of their world:
"A pin in a doll’s heart
then one in its foot.
with its own populace:
The lady at Stop & Shop
with the dead eyes and gray perm...
Closer to the stars
a man finds comfort
recalling the part in his daughter’s hair."
People In Our Pages: Tina Barry on Mall Flower
People have asked me what Mall Flower, my first book of poems and short fiction, is about. It’s easier to talk about what it isn’t. One thing it’s not about is malls. The name is taken from the title poem about a teenager recognizing her sexuality while she struts around a mall. That is the only mall in the book. It’s not about teenagers either...When there’s an obvious setting, it’s often the suburbs. I grew up in the New Jersey suburbs, so the house and apartments in ‘Three Bedrooms in New Jersey’ are based on the rooms I grew up in; the flooding basement in ‘New Math’ is there, and even the character stretched out beneath the table in ‘Table Talk’ is lying on our red wall-to-wall. Yes, red wall-to-wall was tres chic for about 45 seconds in the early Sixties. But it’s not a book about the suburbs...
Four-part series about The Virginia Project at Bending Genres. 2018
9/7/16, Karen Paul Holmes
Children of Divorce Who Are Now Adults
"A writer friend of mine, Tina Barry, recently published a book that contains lots of family memories. While my parents were happily married, hers were not, and that hole in her life still shows up in her writing, especially when she writes about growing up. Here’s something from her poetry and short fiction book, Mall Flower. It’s a poem about a moment we all might remember: answering the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Barry’s father, divorced from her mom, ends up in the last line of the poem, as well as in other pieces in this compelling book..."