02 January 2013

The Next Big Thing

The very lovely Jennifer Militello tagged me for The Next Big Thing interview series. Thanks so much, Jennifer! Here are responses regarding my second full-length collection of poems, O Holy Insurgency, which is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in early 2013. 

What is the working title of the book?

The book is called O Holy Insurgency. I haven't had more than a sip of coffee yet this morning, and just mistyped that as "O Holly Insurgency," which is a completely different book altogether. 

Where did the idea come from for the book?

One of my struggles as a writer (and human) is dealing with rules and finding meaningful ways to break them. At the time that I started this book (and all surrounding times, I suppose), I found that my emotions were considered by others to be inconvenient and irrelevant. As a student of creative writing, I often found my strong feelings unwelcome in a sphere that rewarded detachment and intellectual restraint. I wrote this book, which is full of hyperbole and bold emotion and romantic ecstasy, as a love song for all rule-breakers. It is also a love song for the Midwest, my home, which is the ultimate breaker of rules: supposed to be dead but resurrecting itself every day, condemned as ugly, but undeniably gorgeous. 

What genre does your book fall under?

O Holy Insurgency is a book of poems. I also would like to think that it might be categorized under "epic literature" or "romance poem extravaganza." 

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I would pull a completely random, passionate, and interestingly flawed couple off the streets and cast them as the two main characters of the book. I'd like to think that this book could be about anyone.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

O Holy Insurgency wrenches the love poem out of the terrain of hearts and flowers, and transplants it in a quotidian rust belt paradise, where broken glass becomes a shimmering beacon, and no river is too polluted to dazzle a pair of lovers on its banks.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I am a single mom of two, and therefore I have to write as if I am being chased by lions. I wrote the majority of these poems in the spring and summer of 2009. I sequenced and tinkered with the manuscript from Fall 2009 through January 2010. O Holy Insurgency presented itself to me as a complete project, so basically I was just capturing individual filaments involved in lighting it up.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Baudelaire. Akron, Ohio. Red candy.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

This collection of poems is unusual in that it's the first time (and perhaps the last) I have written a series of poems that weren't elegies in some regard. O Holy Insurgency is very much in love with its present, whereas my other poems tend to be looking over their shoulders or contemplating lost places and people who are gone or who may as well be gone. Also, I can promise you that O Holy Insurgency is pretty sexy.

You can read some poems from the book here:

"Confluence" from The Journal at Verse Daily
Numerous O Holy Insurgency poems at Diode
Two poems at Thermos
"An Excursion" at The Rumpus

You can watch the official book trailer here:

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The book is forthcoming with Black Lawrence Press, an imprint of Dzanc Books. 

My tagged writers for next Wednesday are:

And my friend Julie Brooks Barbour already has a Next Big Thing right here.


Unknown said...

dear ...
[] ... (Me being speechless) ... Your poems are beautiful, in a rust belt sort of way ... but I haven't read them all ... must get your new book ... I still need you to sign the ones I have ...
yr fan and distant admirer

Nathaniel Tower said...

Great interview. I added your link to the database: http://nathanieltower.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/the-next-big-thing-blog-hop-database/

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