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Next Big Thing

Check out the Next Big Things: Anna Meek (see her post below) and Jose Chaves (go read his new book: “The Contract of Love.” It is brilliant. And I want to mention my friend and colleague Connie Zhu who also has a book out, “Descent.” She’s not posting responses but she is Another Next Big Thing. Check her out!

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From Anna Meek:

Many thanks to first Kath Jesme, and then Becca Barniskis for tagging me in The Next Big Thing.  And thanks again to Becca Barniskis for hosting my responses on her site.

What is the title of your book?
Engravings: A Pictorial Dictionary of Visual Curiosities 1851

Where did the idea come from for the book?
A friend, knowing how quirky and inscrutable I can be, gave me an equally quirky and inscrutable book, Pictorial Webster’s: A Visual Dictionary of Curiosities, by John M. Carrera.  It is an anthology of 1,500 engravings from the 19th century Webster’s dictionaries.  Carrera’s Introduction and “Pancreatic” commentaries are also magnificent.

What genre does your book fall under?
Poetry

The poems in the sequence are:
The Engraver
Cephalata
Pediculina Louse (On Human Hair)
Ribcage
Segment of a Circle
Teeth of Man
Fibrous
Spurs of Planets
Gargoyle/Gargoyle
Harlequin Duck
Map
Vampire (True Vampire), Vampire (False Vampire)
Toboggan Slide, with Toboggans & Persons in Toboggan Suits
Vocal Organs in Vowel Positions

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
The bicuspids of Daniel Day Lewis, any cathedral-lookalike, and an octopus (as himself).

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Sea creatures, bones, teeth, and all manner of insects populate the imagination, at least until the mind begins to vanish; and then what’s left over from that ruined world (even one we loved)?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Engravings won the 2011 Snowbound Chapbook Award from Tupelo Press and will be published early fall 2013.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Six months.  I vomited it out like a gargoyle does rainwater.

Is your book launch in Minneapolis, at Open Book, on Friday, October 4th?
Yes.

Will Becca Barniskis be reading with you?
Yes. It’ll be quite a night. Buckle up.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
My father—a respected writer—took four years to die of dementia.  Daily, I watched him lose words, and logical sequence, until he inhabited only a terrifying world of unmoored love and unnameable horror.   I miss his brain.  I like to think I can see it from time to time, reading his books, but I might be lying to myself.

These engravers from a hundred years ago, what did they see inside their heads?  All they’ve left behind are the lines they did not carve away.  Lines that we see inked and reproduced, backwards.  I think I love everyone who imagines the world.

This is how to see the imagination: squinting, with weird leaps, and furtive glances, bizarre suppositions, broken lines, and always, always, the gaps.

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3.4.13

I’ve been tagged in a blog hop called “The Next Big Thing,” a series of questions and answers for writers who are working on their next project or who have just finished one. Thanks to Kathleen Jesme for tagging me. Kath’s questions and answers are here: http://kathleenjesme.blogspot.com/. She is a brilliant and versatile poet who has several books out and more on the way.

In a few days, I’ll post links to the writers I’ll tag.

Meanwhile, here are my answers:

What is the working title of your book?


Mimi and Xavier Star in a Museum That Fits Entirely in One’s Pocket

What genre does your book fall under?

poetry

What sort of poetry is it?

The form of this project includes elements that suggest a theatrical script, film script and song cycle.  The language and imagery is highly associative but also concrete—the allusions are primarily sensory or relate to objects and scenes.  The characters are simultaneously types and highly idiosyncratic.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Barbie and Ken. But if I were going to stage it for live performance it would involve fire and pyrotechnics in the last act. And probably creepy child actors dressed as adults.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?


Mimi and Xavier Star in a Museum That Fits Entirely in One’s Pocket is a dramatic, first person chronicle of a military campaign waged between and across two hearts.

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

It is slated for publication as a chapbook in Fall 2013 by Anomalous Press

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


This is a bad question to ask a poet. The answer is always super boring.

What kind of weapon comes to mind when you think about your book?

Illumination grenade.

What kind of candy is your book?


horehound

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



here are the first two poems from the book:

Act I

My Name Is Xavier Box

I am unusually clever for my size

and shape. I turn on a pistol,

sleep cold leaded most nights.

I enter head first the dim hall,

look for letters left lying

about—unsent or incognito.

I have been sent to investigate

an almost secret war.

Its casualties are ashamed

and hide their injuries.

Their communiqués are in code.

I listen outside. And devise

my plans accordingly.

 

My Name Is Mimi Sprig

I have whole boxes of soldiers

that I light on fire

to read by.

Those small heads burn

for some time.

‘I eat my enemies! I drink my foes!’

I would tell anyone who listened

(usually at breakfast).

But no one is left to hear.

 

Today I will sweep out all the rooms

and polish the empty tins

and clever plaster foodstuffs

arrayed so carefully in the pantry.

Then I will roll bandages.