What is the working title of the book?
Since I was tagged by Jenn McCreary, I will refer to the chapbook Allsorts, which will be published by her & Chris McCreary’s very own Ixnay Press later this spring. I also have another book, 29 Cheeseburgers + 39 Years coming out from Pressed Wafer very soon, but to simplify things I will talk about the former since this is a self-interview and I am easily confused.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was participating in the National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) activity started by Maureen Thorson in which one writes a poem each day during the month of April. The most effective way, for me, to approach such a project is by way of some kind of overarching project or idea. I found myself at a bit of a loss in April, 2012. There was a dish of liquorice allsorts on my desk, which I keep there more because I am attracted to their aesthetic appearance of primary colors and shapes moreso than any habit of actually eating them; although, at times, I do. I decided that I would write some poems mimicking the formal characteristics of the candies to give myself a catalyst for the project. This resulted in the creation of several forms whereby lines are repeated in the same intervals as they are in the striped candies, a kind of round-ish center-justified stanza with a break in subject and tone in the “middle,” and more free-form clouds to correspond with the nonpareil-like candies that are just a mass of little spheres. It is a bizarre conceit, but I had a good time with it and was pleased by the poems. I did about 13 of these, and then switched to other types of poems, though over the course of the month certain thematic elements remained. I then grouped all of these poems together under the title Allsorts.
What genre does your book fall under?
It’s lyric poetry.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
There really aren’t very many human characters in the book. There are some robots, a dying finch, various anonymous crowds, a girl on a skateboard in Warsaw, Poland, the musician Cynthia Dall, who died in April of last year, some blue devils, and myself as Captain Atom. I suppose the girl on the skateboard and Cynthia Dall could be played by the same person. It would have to be someone attractive who could sing. Maybe Zooey Deschanel, because she's the only actress like that I can think of right now. I, of course, would be played by Tilda Swinton.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
The only thing harder than living is dying.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Most of it was written during April, 2012, although there are a few poems from other times during that year.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
There are numerous attributions in the poems, there’s Su T’ung Po, David Bowie (the songs “The Subterraneans,” and “Warszawa” from “Low”), my friend the photographer Lissa Rivera’s “Absence Portraits,” the band Tindersicks (the song “Can We Start Again?”), the band Portishead (the song “Mysterons”), the poet Sandra Simonds, Ian Curtis and Joy Division (the song “Warsaw”), W. B. Yeats’ “The Stolen Child,” the aforementioned Cynthia Dall and the John Coltrane Quartet’s “Sun Ship.” Less directly there’s Frédéric Chopin & the city of Warsaw, Flushing Meadows Park and Utopia Parkway in Queens, DC comics characters and yoga.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
If none of the stuff I’ve mentioned moves you, then I’m afraid I haven’t got much else. The book is about death, mostly, so I think it should be accessible to most mortals.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It will be published by Ixnay Press.
My tagged writers for next Wednesday are: