On 30 March 2016, Amsterdam Quarterly’s editor, Bryan R. Monte, was interviewed via Skype by Friends Journal associate editor, Gail Coyle. Monte’s “No One Ever Asks” poem about accessibility issues at Amsterdam’s 1890s meetinghouse was published in the March 2016 issue of Friends Journal devoted to disability and inclusion in Friends (Quaker) meetings. This interview can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPMOKG_nI2E. His poem can be read at http://www.friendsjournal.org/no-one-ever-asks/.
After a brief introduction, Coyle asked Monte to read his poem. Then Coyle asked Monte how he came to write the poem—and how long it takes for him to write poems in general. Monte said he saw that the deadline for the disability and inclusion issue had been extended. He thought: ‘C’mon, Bryan its time to step up to the plate and contribute something’…”so I wrote this poem, which came very quickly in about two or three days, and usually it takes me about a month or longer to write anything and finish it and I sent it in.” (Then) “I thought, ‘Well I hope they take this one, I think they will’—and you did.”
Coyle asked how long Monte had been writing about living with MS. Monte said for two years since Jeffrey Shott, executive editor at Graywolf Press, had read his poems at a writers’ conference in Florida in January 2014 and asked him why he didn’t have any poems about his experience with MS. “No One Ever Asks” now belongs to a unpublished chapbook of twenty-three poems about living with MS called On the Level. Coyle also mentioned some of Monte’s other poems were included in Gathered: Contemporary Quaker Poets that Friends Journal reviewed in its November 2013 issue at http://www.friendsjournal.org/books-november-2013/.
When Coyle asked Monte where her viewers could read more of his poetry and other work, he mentioned Amsterdam Quarterly’s websites.