Meet Our Staff: Tony Perri

Posted by on Aug 18, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

TP5Tony Perri is a serious writer and editor. He cares about the craft, and takes submission reading very seriously. Erin and Linsey were fortunate to get to know Tony through the Fairfield University  MFA program, and couldn’t ask for a more dedicated team member. Since Tony is only on staff for Issue #5, we are going to appreciate him for the days we have left with him.


Spry: Tell us about where you are from.
Tony: I’m originally from North Jersey, but feel like I was born in Connecticut because that was where I was when I first accepted I was a natural writer.


What was your favorite childhood story and why?
“The Emperor’s New Clothes.” What a clown. He was so arrogant and aloof that he allowed flattery to convince him that he was clothed, despite what his eyes told him. Life lesson.



What genre do you write in, and what drew you to that form of writing?
I write primarily non-fiction essays because I’m naturally critical and observant of social mechanisms. My best friend describes me as a “social clarifier” because I observe and expose things that are easily overlooked by today’s society.


If you could meet any author (living or dead) who would it be, and what would you do?
George Orwell. Reading his essays, I found that he and I are very similar. He wasn’t some sissy, library-dwelling writer. He adventured, spoke truths, put himself out there. He was a guerrilla writer. He got dirty and didn’t apologize.


What is your writing routine like?
Since I operate on many different literary channels, I need a list to keep things organized and fresh. I determine what I need to do, that week (loosely), prioritize them, budget my time around my night-job, then git ‘er dun.


Show or tell us about your workspace.
I have three main workspaces: 1) My desk, which houses my massive imac, 2) my kitchen table, where I use my laptop, or 3) my outdoor bistro table. Each space must be orderly and clean before writing, because being around disorganization while I write organized stuff just doesn’t work. Right angles, people. And yes, the windex comes out…
What type of submission do you find yourself drawn to?
Gritty, gritty, gritty: I like the real stuff. You know, the Andrew Vachhs stuff that doesn’t need to redeem every bad trait or make you feel good after every loss. Life is rough. Not every story ends well. Throw me into the gutter. Just make it real, clear, and concise. Keep that expo as far in the background as possible. 


What type of submission turns you off?
Too much backstory and needless subplots. If a short piece creates multiple subplots within the first few pages, I won’t even finish reading it. Unfocused stories bore me.


How do you vote on the art submissions?
The purity and rawness of the initial emotion or mindset it evokes. I’ll search around and interpret every piece, but the one’s that really affect me are the one’s that strongly initially affect me.


What made you want to be a writer/poet?
I’m a born writer. Without writing I get confused, have hissy fits, and get depressed. In college, my best friend told me that I needed to write because it was a natural gift, which set off a chain reaction of literary follies that finally landed me in the place I am a decade later.


Describe your typical day
Breakfast, update finances, attack my priority 1 project that day (see question 5), read, move to priority 2, then prep for job 2 (night job). The next day I’ll finish the previous day’s priority 1 project, then attack priority 2, and the day after that I’ll finish priority 2 project then move to priority 3, etc., etc.

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