A friend & colleague-in-poetry, April Lindner, has invited me to participate in the round-robin writing blog event (termed a “blog hop”) called “The Next Big Thing.” Thanks to Molly Spencer for coordinating this web-event, which has been going awhile, so she is no longer curating it as actively. At the end of this post, I’m linking my readers to a handful of other participants. From their sites, you can locate others…and so on! We hope to foster discovery of writers our own blog followers–or random visitors–are not yet familiar with, and to spur readership in general. I love to read, and I have a mission to introduce more people to reading, to poetry, and to contemporary artists–especially word-artists. Therefore, I’m thrilled to be asked to add my 2¢ to The Next Big Thing…even though some of the formulated “interview questions” lend themselves more to fiction writers than to poets. Some of the answers may end up sounding a bit far-fetched, or simply silly.
But poets do possess senses of humor, folks. We are not all depressive garret-dwelling introverted cynics. [Ha!]
Now to commence with the interview questions:
What is the working title of your next book (or story, or project)?
I have two. One manuscript is finished, and I am seeking a publisher–that one is titled The Red Queen Hypothesis. The work-in-progress is tentatively called Barefoot Girls.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
The Red Queen Hypothesis seems to be culled from a bunch of my poems musing on science. I love science because it is so weird, much odder than so-called real life. Also, the nomenclature…I swoon over those latinates, Greek roots, and things-named-after-other-things. Here’s the biological definition of the Red Queen Hypothesis from Wikipedia: “an evolutionary hypothesis which proposes that organisms must constantly adapt, evolve, and proliferate not merely to gain reproductive advantage, but also simply to survive while pitted against ever-evolving opposing organisms in an ever-changing environment.” As Alice and the Red Queen are hurriedly running through the chessboard of Wonderland in Through the Looking-Glass, the Queen remarks, “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.” Don’t we often feel that way?
PBS has a good little article on it here, for those who want to learn a little science with their poetry.
Barefoot Girls evolves as I revise. As of now, the poems are memoir-based about being a teenaged girl in New Jersey, and many of them allude to Bruce Springsteen songs. The collection is, I suppose, lyrical narrative in style. Mostly free verse but with some ballad-type pieces and even a sonnet or two. I may have some trouble getting that manuscript into print because I have to get Springsteen’s permission to use a couple of epigraphs. God knows how long that will take–or if it is even possible!
What genre does your book fall under? Poetry. No other genre need apply.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I would love to have Gary Cooper or Barbara Stanwyck play characters in my poems, which makes about as much sense–since they are dead–as making a movie of a poetry collection.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Life, love, family, environment, death, memory, animals, youth, curiosity, god.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
And 2) –you have got to be kidding! Literary agents in the USA generally avoid poets as though we harbor west Nile virus.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Four years, generally, though some individual poems evolve more slowly. My first full-length collection, Water-Rites, took much longer…closer to ten years.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Ah, the “inspiration” question. I have a deep indifference to the question of inspiration. I suggest you read other writers on this topic.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The Red Queen Hypothesis includes numerous poems that employ formal strategies, as well as plenty of nonce forms; I think of them as experiments, the way scientists frame their work though experiment.There are also philosophical undertones. It is a book of questions that are scientific, speculative, spiritual and philosophical. Barefoot Girls, the project in process, also poses questions–but of a different kind. More social and gender-related questions, more coming-of-age curiosity. The fact that these poetry pursuits came one after the other intrigues me since they seem in many ways fairly unrelated. Perhaps I will discover the relationship as I continue to revise Barefoot Girls.
Meanwhile, if anyone can suggest a publisher for RQH, I’m all ears!
Who are you tagging for The Next Big Thing?
~As The Next Big Thing is on hiatus, I suggest my readers browse for it or follow the links below that will lead to other links & literary discoveries!!
Here are some other Next Big Thing posts: