Saturday, June 4, 2016

Q&A with the Five Two's Gerald So

Gerald So, editor of the crime poetry blog, The Five-Two, is here to tell us about the blog and crime poetry. You may remember seeing poems from the Five Two here every Saturday during April for Poetry Month. 

1) What motivated you to start the Five-Two?

I had co-edited a series of print chapbooks from 2008 to 2011, The Lineup, with Patrick Shawn Bagley, Reed Farrel Coleman, Houston poet-cop Sarah Cortez, Richie Narvaez, and Anthony Rainone; however, the costs of print-on-demand were such that we could only publish relatively slim annuals. Three months after we decided to end The Lineup, I found I still wanted to publish poetry about crime, so I created to The Five-Two with the idea of overcoming The Lineup's obstacles. Its Web-based format allows me to keep its poetry visible year-round and keep visitors engaged with an audiovisual presentation. Its annual ebooks collect more poetry than The Lineup could.

2) How long has it been running? Do you know about how many poems you’ve published?

I published The first Five-Two poem on September 12, 2011. To date, the total is around 246 poems, fifty-two per year for four-plus years.

3) How many submissions do you typically get in a year?

I haven't kept a tally. I work on the site week-to-week, so that's how I see the submissions. I can only say, gratefully, there have been enough to run this long. :)

4) What’s the best thing that has happened to you as a result of starting the Five-Two?

The best thing has been meeting the poets, performers, and people who enjoy visiting the site and reading the ebooks.

5) I know it’s hard to pick favorites, but do you have a favorite poem from the blog?

I don't have an all-time favorite. Everyone I pick to publish is my favorite of the moment.

6) Are there other ways people can be involved in the blog besides writing poetry?

The site is open to prose commentaries about its published poems. It's also open to guest editors and volunteer performers. I'd love to have a poetry-loving celebrity reader. Pie in the sky?

7) Are there one or two particular poets who have had the most acceptances on the blog?

Charles Rammelkamp, Robert Cooperman, Catherine Wald, and Nancy Scott are the most published. I'm clearly a fan of their work, but they were also among the first to find the site, so they've built up their totals over five years.

8) Do you ever write crime poetry?

Things that upset my equilibrium, disturb my peace, often get me writing. I could call the results crime poems, but many of them are in journals that don't emphasize crime.

You can find The Five-Two on Twitter @PoemsOnCrime. Gerald So also blogs at My Life Called So.


  1. Thanks for the interview here with Gerald. He's a good friend, and I've admired his work for a long time. So nice to see him in the spotlight here, after all the time he spends keeping the spotlight on folks at the Short Mystery Fiction Society. Yay, Gerald!

    1. You welcome Art! We love The Five-Two and I was thrilled to be able to interview Gerald.

  2. My pleasure, Deb. Thank you both, my friends. :)

  3. Good to see you in the spotlight, Gerald. Keep up the good work.

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  5. Nice to see. It is always a pleasure to have a poem appear at The Five-Two and Gerald is just about my favorite editor!