My first attempt at interviewing folks here on THIRD FACE. I'm gonna start with 1/2 of the SENTENTIA / ARTISTICALLY DECLINED PRESS (other 1/2 is the amazing PAULA BOMER) dynasty, RYAN BRADLEY. I'm kicking things off with Ryan because he is an intelligent, creative, charming, insightful, good-looking fellow, but most importantly, because he was the first one to respond to my email and answer the questions.

I have two lasting memories of Ryan, one of which I will share here and one which I will not. I had the honor of sharing a table with him at this last AWP and I will not soon forget his ability to sell so many goddam books. He was blessed with one of those infectious personalities that makes people wanna buy things off him. I'm sure he sold quite a few copies of STINKY POO BUTT, simply because he was the one selling it. He reminds me of AARON BURCH in that sense. How many fucking HOBART's get sold every year just because it's Aaron selling them. Exactly. So yeah, Ryan is that guy. So next time you see him online, say hello, next time you see him at a table at some obscure literary event, stop in and say what's up. But be prepared, you will be ten dollars lighter and in possession of a new book.

So yeah, here's the interview:

BG: so many quality indie presses and literary journals, what are sententia / artistically declined press bringing to the table? what new words of wisdom do they have to add to the literary conversation?

RB: I'm not sure that we are bringing something more than any other journal or press. We are bringing a passion for great writing, which I hope any other press or journal is bringing to the table as well. My greatest hope for what we do is to always present each project we do with beautiful design to match the work. More than anything I want to do our authors proud, and to add to the community of literary arts.

BG: when the world ends in 2012, as the mayans predicted, and the next species takes over the earth and digs up America 1,000 years from now, what literary journals / indie press publications will they be restoring, reviving, and immortalizing, and why?

RB: Most certainly McSweeneys, which even at its most pretentious are always an artifact to behold. Fence, Caketrain, and Annalemma will be there. I think the breadth of Ken Sparling's work will have an exhibit in a museum of Earth literature. I think more than a single press it could be about individual canons of small press writers, like Sparling. Ben Tanzer is quickly building an empire of words as well. There are so many, really I could add more to this on a daily basis depending on what I'm reading at the moment.

BG: what is the last book you borrowed and never returned? who'd you steal it from and why didn't you give it back?

RB: I've never not returned a book. I rarely borrow books to begin with. I like to own books, I like to have my own copy. I have problems borrowing or lending books because of a laundry list of OCD issues I have surrounding them.

BG: name the five best books you've read that you'd bet your balls nobody else has?

RB: Well there will always be other people who have read them, but here's my top 5 books that are under-read and I believe should be on every booklover's bookshelf:

The Journey of Ibn Fattoum by Naguib Mahfouz
Minotaur by Benjamin Tammuz
Wanting Only to Be Heard by Jack Driscoll
Night Swimming by Pete Fromm
Long After Hannibal Had Passed With Elephants by Alan Jones

BG: who is your favorite historical figure, past or present, and how have they influenced your literary journey?

RB: My favorite historical figure's always been Abraham Lincoln. Since I was real little. I minored in American history largely because of my love of our 16th president. My 2 year old is named Lincoln. But I don't see that he's influenced my writing. One historical figure and writer who has influenced me more than any other (beside Hemingway) is Langston Hughes, whose poetry touched on the themes of tenuous coexistence between people of many differences (not just racial), has always held a place in my heart. And he did it with such beauty. I am obsessed with how we, as humans, manage to get along, but I deal with the theme without his level of grace.

BG: BONUS QUESTION: Give us a six song playlist that tells the story of your life.

RB: This is a dangerous question to ask an audiophile, so I'll try not to over-think this and just go from the gut:

"Why Can't You Be Nicer To Me?" - The White Stripes [Childhood]
"Cure for Pain" - Morphine [High school & college, the great search. For what I didn't know]
"Caribou" - Pixies [My home state of Alaska and my time working in the Arctic]
"Rearviewmirror" - Pearl Jam [Growing up, becoming an adult, letting the past go]
"On & On & On" - Wilco [My wife]
"Across the Universe" - The Beatles [This song I hope will be my continuation, a journey full of love and soul]

(By the way, this playlist works oddly well together if you take the time to put it together for real... told you, compulsive...)


  1. I'm just now getting a chance to dig into Sententia and it's amazing. If it's not bringing something more to the table, it's certainly bringing something unique. Really great stories where the language matters. I usually fall asleep trying to read at night, but this mag is keeping me up. I'm tired, but happy. Thanks Ryan and Paula.

  2. Ditto, thank you to you both and thank you for the shout-out as well, much humbling.