I’ve Got Your Next Big Thing Right Here.
March 18, 2013 § Leave a comment
This The Next Big Thing thing is a series of self-interviews that’s being passed around the interwebs, chain-letter-style. I was tagged by two folks I really admire as poets and as people, Chloe Honum and Caki Wilkinson, whose interviews and work you should immediately stop reading this to go read. My interview is below.
What is the working title of your book?
I Write to You From the Sea
Where did the idea for the book come from?
It burst Alien-style out of the belly of a letter I was writing to my dear friend Sara, in which I felt compelled to explore some weird fishing language. Actually, it was called Sara, I Write to You From the Sea for a while, but at a certain point it stopped being a letter, or a letter to Sara, or maybe it was never either of those things to begin with. Either way, I kept at it. I’m not sure any of this qualifies as an “idea.”
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I have a soft spot for Kirk Douglas in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, so maybe him. Maybe just his chin. Or that seal. And there are some weird little owls in the poem that I’d love to give Pixar a crack at (a la “For the Birds”).
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
“I’m on a boat, motherf*cker [sic].”
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I’m still working at it, but from that first letter until now, it’s been floating around (do you SEA what I did there?) for about three years. It’s something I work on when I’m not working on other projects, so it’s kind of undisciplined in that way. Having a couple of projects going on at once has been good for me, I think. It’s a way for my writing and my commitment issues to coexist.
To what other books within your genre would you compare your project?
I wouldn’t necessarily compare my project, which I half-lovingly think of as the Sea Thing, to these books, but when I want to get into a head-sea-space I sit with long poems like Wallace Stevens’ The Man With the Blue Guitar, Zachary Schomburg’s “The Pond,” George Oppen’s Of Being Numerous, A.R. Ammons’ Tape for the Turn of the Year, etc., trying to listen for what exactly sustains projects like these. What keeps us engaged with a poem that goes on for pages and pages. What occasions a poem of aggressive length.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My brain was turning over a problem. I was writing a letter to Sara. My brain was turning over her problem, which I mistook for my problem. I was near to but not visiting much water. I was reading Wallace Stevens’ The Necessary Angel and thinking about imagination and reality. I’d never been on a boat.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
If you’re so inclined, you can find sections of the poem in Denver Quarterly and Pleiades. I keep a tally in my head of people who tell me they “don’t get what’s up with the owls.” I’ve written parts of this book by Lake Mendota, the Prospect Park Lake, the New York Harbor, and the fountain in front of the Roy Cullen building at the University of Houston, but never the actual ocean.
Tag, you’re it:
These are some remarkable ladies. You’ll love them.