Currents, an Interview Series with Brian Alan Ellis (Episode 48: Bram Riddlebarger)

Bram Riddlebarger

BRAM RIDDLEBARGER writes, plays music, runs Gob Pile Press, and lives in SE Ohio. His books include Messages from the American Trashcan (Cabal, 2020) and Western Erotica Ho (Trident, 2020). 

My current favorite thing to read is: …so much good writing right now. I loved Kelby Losack’s Hurricane Season. Really enjoy Wallace Barker’s poems. I read an early version of Graham Irvin’s Liver Mush and think it’s very special. I try to read as much and as broadly as I can. Noah Cicero’s books I buy in advance. I fall back on cookbooks and Richard Brautigan and poems.

My current favorite thing to watch is: …I look forward to the next Mandalorian episodes. Otherwise I’ve been enjoying Invincible, which my eldest kid turned me onto. I like that it’s a throwback to the G.I. Joe/ThunderCats style of cartoon. And anything that Danny McBride is involved in I’ll watch. I love his stuff. I’m ready for more Righteous Gemstones.

 My current favorite thing to listen to is: Stanley Brothers; Bill Monroe; Ghostwriter; bullfrogs;  Everly Brothers; nothing; Metallica’s Ride the Lightning, followed by Megadeth’s Rust in Peace; turkeys gobbling; Doug Sahm; Al Foul; birdsong; Johnny Horton; Dock Boggs; Charlie Feathers; the sound of wheels on the road with the window down; Jive Turkeys; Hank Williams; Lizzo. 

My current state of mind is: overwhelmed but glad to be in a state of work and interest.

My current chemical romance (drug/bad habit/toxic infatuation) involves: …I wrote a song once called “Back to You,” and it goes: “When I get tired of beer / I turn to wine / And when I’m tired of wine / I turn to whiskey / And when I’m tired of whiskey / I might drink gin / But when I’m tired of gin / It’s back to you again.”

My current words of wisdom are: Ecclesiastes 1:18.

My current mode of transportation is: an old Honda Pilot. It was the first decent car I ever owned. My wife and I bought it used. We have three kids and dogs and needed a family vehicle to replace the crappy minivan we’d had before. I was hunting a lot too at the time and I could still fit a deer in it to haul back to the house. It’s been reliable. For my delivery job for a local plant nursery, I drive this very beaten-up F-250 with this homemade contraption built of 2×4’s and plywood that encases the bed like some sort of plant ark. I can’t really drive over 65mph on the highways when I head up to the city or the thing might fly off. It’s a jalopy but works well. Ingenious really. Appalachian engineering.

My current favorite fast food item is: a Big Bu from Larry’s Dawg House in Athens. Or a Mountaineer biscuit from Tudor’s Biscuit World.

My current workout routine consists of: …I like to jog when I can. Otherwise work, working in the garden/house, and also with a local farmer that I work for seasonally.

My current regrettable decision involves: not stopping at a Wawa gas station to see what they are about on a recent, rapid trip toward the Boston area and back.

My current hopes and dreams are: that the deer don’t eat the garden. That my new press can make its authors happy and give them fulfillment. To become a better mentor.

My current projects/hobbies include: starting up a small press after considering it for years. Gob Pile Press. I’d like to make it into a press that thinks of place as its focus. It will mainly be poetry and collections of short/flash fiction, but I’m exploring other ideas as well. I self-published a strange cookbook of mine, The Dismal Cookbook, to test out how to perhaps go about publishing. I’m calling it the proto book for the press and think it serves as an example for alternate projects the press would like to pursue, as well as songwriters. But poems are the main focus. I’m really excited to work with some authors already on books for next year. It’s a good thing to find voices that I think should be heard. That’s fulfilling. Otherwise I have a number of other manuscripts of mine that are in various states of decay or rebirth. They can wait their turn.


Bram Riddlebarger is online at

Brian Alan Ellis runs House of Vlad Press, and is the author of several books, including Sad Laughter (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2018). His writing has appeared at Juked, Hobart, Fanzine, Monkeybicycle, Electric Literature, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Funhouse, Heavy Feather Review, and Yes Poetry, among other places. He lives in Florida.

Follow Vol. 1 Brooklyn on TwitterFacebook, and sign up for our mailing list.