Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What I'm Doing- Finishing Memes- Next Big Thing

kate pringle and L. Lamar Wilson were generous enough to tag me in there Next Big Thing responses and since I do have a book coming out, I thought I would jump on. How do you know a meme is dead? It finally gets to me.

What is the working title of the book? Boyishly. Not just the working title but the actual title, about to be birthed by YesYesBooks in May 2013. Did I steal it from Carol Mavor's Reading Boyishly? Little bit. Let's say adopted.

Where did the idea come from for the book? This is my first book, so it wasn't a book I sat down to write. Instead, I just wrote poems. Eventually, I started to feel like I had the number of poems that belonged in a book. So I tried to make them into a book. And I kept writing poems. Then I started to figure out that these poems had some things in common. So I put those poems together. And that's when I had the idea that I really had a book. Having worked backwards for the first book, let me say that working forward (exploring an idea in poems) is a lot easier.

What genre does your book fall under? Poetry. Other than that, I think poets spend way too much time trying to figure out what "kind" of poetry they write. Even worse, they spend more time trying to figure out which "kind" of poetry is poetic enough. Who is my book's poetic family? CA Conrad. Dorothea Lasky. Susan Howe. Claudia Rankine. And we all live together in a house way up high in a tree.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? Who wrote this meme, James Franco? Characters present are John Brown, Andre the Giant, Gertrude Stein, Samuel Beckett, Muhammad Ali, Chang and Eng, and a Chinese vampire. Plus a young girl and adolescent girls and women. But I want Quvenzhane Wallis to read the audio book. And then I want her to spit out James Franco's bones at the end.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? All the things of the world that slip around unseen, that get labelled monsterous, talk back.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? I wrote poems for probably 10 years. Once I knew what the book was, I worked, wrote and reordered for about 3 years.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? I wrote some as an undergraduate, but not well. When I became a grad student, I focused on becoming a better academic writer. I wanted to take some MFA classes when I was at UNCG but they wouldn't allow it. (MFA students took PhD classes, but it didn't work the other way around.) My first job out of grad school I taught creative writing and did the exercises with my students. Then I started going to open mikes and reading and discovered a deep need to write poems. Hasn't gone away yet.

What else about your book might pique the readers' interest? The cover is likely to come from a photographer, Eleanor Bennett, who is a 16 year old wunderkind from England. Her work is amazing and I'm thrilled to be working with her to find an image for the cover of Boyishly. http://eleanorleonnebennett.zenfolio.com/

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? No agency and not self-published. Boyishly will be published by YesYes Books in Portland OR.