Arthur is the founder of Iron Lung Press. He's a writer and poet, born-and-raised in New Jersey, and the author of two recent books: Kitchen Beers (a novel) and Hate Is Just Love On Fire (poetry). Connect with him on Instagram @ironlungpress. And be sure to check out their website: www.ironlungpress.org!
GB: Arthur, thank you for taking time to talk. Usually, my first question is: can you share a little bit about yourself? Any background info worthy of noting for the readers?
AW: Thank you for taking the time to interview me, Glen, I appreciate it. My name is Arthur J. Willhelm, I am 38 years old, married, two kids and I am a pastry chef when I'm not writing.
AW: I started Iron Lung Press as a means to put out my own work, but recently I have been putting out chapbooks which are selected through submissions. I enjoy helping the underdog because with all of these people writing for likes and followers and calling it poetry, we are the underdogs.
GB: On top of being an avid reader, you maintain a growing press, Iron Lung. How does that inspire your writing? What impacts does that have on your work?
GB: As a fellow New Jerseyian, do you find it inspiring your work at all? Care to share any stories that some of our local squad might eNJoy?
AW: I do mention New Jersey in some of my writing, though I am not sure any of what I write is directly inspired by it. Stories, I have plenty of, I will share some fond memories though: Punk Rock shows at the Stone Pony, Marine Park in Red Bank, basement shows, Middlesex county college hardcore shows, old friends. Nostalgia always comes to mind.
GB: What's your creative process like? Any obstacles you've had overcome recently?
AW: Well, I tend to have a couple of drinks and put on music, then write whatever comes to mind, no plan, and no specific subject until it is done. I am big on leaving work as it is when I type it because I feel like the point is lost when you edit whatever you wrote.
GB: What other types of art do you like experiment with? Why?
AW: Writing is something I have always enjoyed, whether I was writing lyrics for my old bands, or contributing to little fanzines when I was a kid. I can honestly say that my one Art is writing and I don’t even like my stuff haha.
GB: Who and what is on your MUST-READ list?
AW: To recommend? Get it Back to Give it Away by Marc Bruseke, Instapoet by Thom Young, Matt Blyth, Accordions and Moustaches by Rania M. M. Watts, and Bone House by Scott Laudati (also a Jersey native).
GB: What does "success" mean to you?
AW: Success isn’t something I think about, I just hope people will check out my writing and the writing I print for Iron Lung Press.
GB: Like me, you're an avid supporter of the beatnik generation. But we've seen how it's evolved over time. What does the "new beat generation" stand for and how does it influence your work?
AW: The new beat generation is just something I say for the group of poets/writers that I have met since I went public with both my work and Iron Lung Press. Mark Bruseke, Christopher M. Flakus, Patrick Moore, Martin Appleby to name a few. We all share the Old School Meat / Beat poet mentality of doing things ourselves.“Poets” these days “instapoets” will never understand that work ethic.
GB: What's next for Arthur J. Willhelm? Got any forthcoming projects we can keep an eye out for?
AW: Within the next month or two, I will be releasing Your Body Is Not A Temple, which is a tribute to Anthony Bourdain with all proceeds going to suicide prevention, I am very excited about this one, so many great writers have contributed to this project. Besides that, I have a chapbook coming out on Analog Submission Press (UK) called American Dream Machine.