Nolcha Fox interviews Alex Carrigan

Alex Carrigan (he/him) is an editor, poet, and critic from Alexandria, Virginia. HE RECENTLY PUBLISHED A NUMBER OF TRANSFORMATIVE POEMS WITH THE GORKO, poems created from the Twitter accounts of famous drag queens THAT represent a bizarre collage of queer voices as they discuss matters like toxic fandoms, marijuana, and celebrity memoirs.

NF: Tell me about your personal writing journey. What drew you into writing?

AC: I had always been an imaginative child who loved watching TV and movies and reading books. I had always been interested in absorbing stories and talking about them, whether they were summaries or critical analyses. I think I first started really writing when I got to college and joined a student literary organization. I came to really enjoy critiquing and working with writers, and I think when you’re exposed to literary types, you find yourself wanting to see what you can create as well.

NF: What do you like about writing poetry?

AC: Poetry is limitless and open to so many personal interpretations. You’re allowed to peer directly into the mind of the poet and see how they view the world. Even in the sense of “the narrator of the poem =/= the poet,” you’re still seeing a connection between the senses and the world around them. Even when I write my Twitter centos, I’m still presenting to the reader how I find a way to create poetry through what many would think is artless ramblings.

NF: What do you like about writing literary reviews?

AC: It’s a dialogue and a discussion between the author, the reviewer, and the potential reader. I’m challenged to see if I can figure out the meaning of the work and what the author presents that could appeal to readers. I have to see if I could draw connections that might not be seen and present them as reasons to check the work out. Even for books I don’t love, I still feel like it’s my job to address what was done right and what could appeal to readers for the sake of showing the author that, even if I wasn’t drawn by their work, I can at least try to help find the people who will be interested in it.

NF: You are building a reputation as a found poet. What is found poetry to you?

AC: Found poetry is taking the world around you and the words/images created by others and showing the dimensions you specifically see. It’s a chance to give new life to something established and to challenge yourself to do something new with it.

NF: How did you find found poetry (or how did it find you?)

AC: I learned about centos from a submission for an anthology I’m working on, and I found the idea really neat. As someone who parrots back quotes regularly, it was fun to think about how I could do that in a new, artistic context. I decided to try making centos myself because I remembered the form when I was challenged to create something for a themed submission call, and that marriage between the silly theme and the specific poetic style made me want to see if I could succeed at it. I found the whole process so enjoyable that I wanted to continue with it and see if I could create more works based on the process I created, and later to see what new ideas I could have with the form.

NF: Your found poetry draws from Twitter accounts, albums, and writing challenges. What is your process for creating found poetry from these sources?

AC: It really depends on what kind of work I’m putting together. I like doing these as a series because it allows me to find as many resources as possible and then try to create poetry out of them. For my Twitter centos, once I selected a subject for the series, I scrolled through the Tweets and Replies on that person’s page, copied lines into a word document, and then once I felt like I had enough material, started to look for themes and connections. I would try to form stanzas based on recurring postings or emotional states, with some edits made to clarify spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. But I found I could make a 1-2 page poem in this process once I felt like I had found enough to work with, so each poem could take a few hours to complete. Generally, I found a poem complete once I felt like I had explored enough and that there was nothing more to create or to tie with the overall theme. I ended this process by coming up with a weird title that named the subject and evoked an image or emotional state I could think of while putting it together. That’s how I make my centos.

NF: Now let’s talk about ‘May All Our Pain Be Champagne’. How did you choose the works that appear in this book?

AC: For this one, I had slowly begun making pieces for it based on a snowball effect of ideas turning into action. When I decided to make the collection, I pulled the names of every official Real Housewife in the US versions of the franchise into a spreadsheet and checked their Twitter accounts. If I found they had a substantial amount of varied content, I would confirm them as a subject. If they didn’t have enough original content, I would pass on them, although two I rejected solely because the first things I saw on their feeds were pro-Trump stuff, because come on. ‘May All Our Pain Be Champagne’ is 16 poems for the only 16 Housewives I felt had enough to work with, as most of them are more Instagram people than Twitter. But this meant I looked over 100 accounts and probably read about 1,000 tweets overall to get those 16.

NF: Please explain what you mean when you say ‘Now Let’s Get Brunch’ is an expansion of the ‘May All Our Pain Be Champagne’ style.

AC: I definitely made Champagne as an outsider, since I mostly knew Housewives as someone who grew up with a family who was watching those shows all the time. I’ve been a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race for a decade now, and so I knew the queens on that show were way more active on Twitter. So now I wanted to make poetry out of figures I was familiar with and who I knew would be guaranteed to provide content. As a result, the inverse occurred where I had too many to choose from, and ultimately stopped when I felt I had made a substantial number of pieces for a collection. There are going to be 40 in the collection, but I could have easily doubled that.

Plus, I felt like it produced a different collection overall. Champagne is satirizing these women as it’s turning inane ramblings and rants into art, but the subjects in Brunch are more self-aware and willing to intelligently critique and satirize the platform and the fanbase they interact with. It’s tonally very different, but there’s still an underlying sense of irreverence throughout, and I was really pleased to explore that.

NF: What’s on your bucket list?

AC: I really want to connect more with writers in my fields and specialties (namely, LGBT+ authors, southern authors, and found poets) since I feel like I’m desperate for more connections and engagements with other like-minded authors. I also would love to do a book launch in a store in DC or an author signing of some kind just because I haven’t done those yet. I also want to be on a panel at AWP somehow, since I get major Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) when I see panel lists at the convention, and I feel like I’m finally at a state in my life where I can actually speak from a place of pedagogy.

NF: What projects are you working on now?

AC: I am currently querying an ekphrastic poetry collection I made from two previous writing challenges, where I reread poetry books I owned and wrote poems immediately after finishing them. I’m also working with my best friend on an anthology of drag-inspired art and literature that we’re also currently querying. I have a writing challenge coming up in April where I’m going to make collage poems out of 30 of my favorite albums, and I hope to make a chapbook out of that.

NF: Do you have a vision for where you want to be as a writer 5 years from now, and 10 years from now?

AC: Really, I just want to keep writing. I don’t want this to be something I got into for a few years and eventually got bored of. I’m in a good place in my life where I have a real work-life balance, and I want to maintain that and continue to find new ways to create poetry and publish work. And most importantly, I hope to become someone who could encourage younger writers and provide feedback and advice. It may be a bit corny, but I really want to pay it forward somehow, and I think by being the writer I want to be, I could do that someday for someone else.


Alex Carrigan (he/him) is an editor, poet, and critic from Alexandria, Virginia. His debut poetry chapbook, “May All Our Pain Be Champagne: A Collection of Real Housewives Twitter Poetry” (Alien Buddha Press, 2022), was longlisted for Perennial Press’ 2022 Chapbook Awards. The chapbook contains 16 cento poems created from the Twitter accounts of several current and former members of the Real Housewives TV franchise. It is available at:

His debut full-length poetry collection “Now Let’s Get Brunch: A Collection of RuPaul’s Drag Race Twitter Poetry” (Querencia Press) will be published in 2023. It is an expansion of the “May All Our Pain Be Champagne” style with centos created from the Twitter accounts of 40 queens who appeared in RuPaul’s Drag Race TV franchise.

His fiction, poetry, and literary reviews have been published in Quail Bell Magazine, Lambda Literary Review, Sage Cigarettes, Barrelhouse, New Note Poetry, Stanza Cannon, Cutbow Quarterly, Fifth Wheel Press, Alice Says Go Fuck Yourself, Dream Pop Press, Red Ogre Review, The Banyan Review, The Gorko Gazette, JAKE, Compulsive Reader, and more.

Alex was nominated in 2022 for Best of the Net (Sage Cigarettes) and Pushcart Prize (Bell Press).

You can find him at:
Twitter: @carriganak


Nolcha has written all her life, starting with poop and crayons on the walls. Her poems have been published in Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Alien Buddha Zine, Medusa’s Kitchen, and others. Her three chapbooks are available on Amazon. Nominee for 2023 Best of The Net. Interviewer/book reviewer. Faker of fake news.
“My Father’s Ghost Hates Cats”
“The Big Unda”
“How to Get Me Up in the Morning”
“Memory is that raccoon”
“Cow Candy”
Twitter: @NolchaF