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Q&A with Grant Vecera, writer of 'Fundraiser'

Grant Burkhardt: There's so much to love about "Fundraiser"; there's such a lovely inside-baseball-ness to it. How did you decide what needs explained and what can be left unsaid?

Grant Vecera: I wanted to make it so my readers could be there. That’s always my main objective, that and exploring the event, memory, or occasion or whatever. The poem is fictional but also a report upon something I experienced.  I like to make tiny art films with words.  And explore.

Grant Burkhardt: In this case, you've dropped us into a world without all the context and said "go ahead, enjoy" (and enjoy, we did). Do you have favorite examples of this in poems, stories, films, or other places?

Grant Vecera: Cormac McCarthy, James Joyce, William Carlos Williams, Jim Jarmusch, Werner Herzog, Kelly Reichardt, Van Morrison, Hem, Paolo Sorrentino, Buk, George Saunders, Donald Hall, Claire Keegan, John Cheever, Alice Munro, Toni Cade Bambara, Garry Winogrand, Vivian Maier, Anne Sexton, Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen, Elizabeth Bishop, Edward Hopper…the list could go on and on… Thanks for asking. This feels so self-indulgent. Shakespeare. Truffaut. Ermanno Olmi.  Fellini.  Vittorio de Sica.  Lauren Groff, Laurie Moore, Steinbeck.  I’ll stop.

Grant Burkhardt: I don't even know if I have a question on this next topic, but I just wanted to say...Cornelia Henderson. Cornelia Henderson! That name just delighted me. If I must ask a question without spoiling any of the wonder, maybe I'll ask whether you think she included candy corn in her basket, or whether she's staunchly against the stuff?

Grant Vecera: I think my own last name means dinner, or indigestion, or both, when traced back far enough. Being a Hoosier, Cornelia loves corn. Because candy corn is mainly high fructose corn syrup, it is therefore a vital, life sustaining vegetable, like ketchup, Tang, red cream soda, glazed donuts, Certs, moon pies, and those powder packets we stir into instant ramen noodles.   

Grant Burkhardt: What are you working on these days? Is "Fundraiser" part of a wider collection?

Grant Vecera: About a year ago, I joined a Religion, Spirituality, and the Arts (RSA) cohort funded by the Indianapolis Arts Council. Over the past year my colleagues and I studied & discussed the book of Ecclesiastes and related art, music, etc. This culminated in an art exhibit at The Harrison Art Center in Indianapolis in early May of 2024. "Fundraiser” is one of about 14 poems that I composed as a contributor to this enterprise. Currently I am on summer break: bicycling, painting, gardening, writing poems, and preparing for the classes I will teach in the fall.


Poet Grant Vecera
Grant Vecera

Grant Vecera teaches writing, thinking, and literature at Butler University and at Indiana University Indianapolis, where he lives with his wife, daughter, and various animals. His work has been appearing in various illustrious literary periodicals for the past thirty years.

Grant Burkhardt

Grant is a poet and writer with work featured in or forthcoming in the Martello Journal, the Great Lakes Review, Nightingale & Sparrow, Icarus, and others. His poem - 'The Thing About People Knowing You Cook' - was a Sundress Publications 'Best of the Net' nominee. He’s also one of the Umbrella's poetry editors and non-fiction editors.


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