Interview: Salvatore Pane

To meet Salvatore Pane in person is to be engaged. Friendly and spirited, he fills the room with a devil-may-care but darn-I-like-people attitude. On a recent winter evening, he and other writers met in a room above a bar in Pittsburgh.

Salvatore comes off as a hipster who would be comfortable being labeled a nerd, and that is no slight. He seems to be welcome in the world of intellectuals and creatives who are often mislabeled. But he is very serious about writing.

His spike-ledge hair compliments a gray sweater pulled over a black button-down, the modern professional/city-dweller look. Pane’s work has appeared in PANK, Annalemma, and Weave, among others.  Pane is a former lecturer at Chatham University and his novel, Last Call in the City of Bridges, was published by Braddock Avenue Books on November 6th.

The Fourth River: At the end of “Man of Ego, Man of Hubris, Save us From The Sun,” you wrote a defense of the story. How important is biography in connecting with readers?

Salvatore Pane: That story was published in a great online journal, FRiGG. They run extras at the end of their pieces. I don’t think these extras are absolutely necessary for a story to be good or even for an issue of a journal to be good, but there’s so much potential with online magazines that it seems foolish not to exploit it. Hobart does this cool thing where they put bonus material from their print issue on their website, cool trinkets from amazing writers: a great essay about Metroid by Mike Meginnis, a fun map from Aubrey Hirsch, a video of Brian Oliu reading his work. If their stories weren’t good—and in this case I guarantee that they are—none of that would matter. It always comes back to the work, but if a journal has the capability to do stuff online, they should capitalize on that.

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