"The Next Big Thing” is an international game in which writers share the news of their latest project. Pat Fahrenfort tagged me recently.
What is your working title of your new poetry collection?
#specialcharacters. The title refers to the hashtags and ampersands of the experimental work in the collection as well as to the personae, such as Mary Magdalene, a dominatrix, a few vociferous madwomen, and a writer manquée named Ritar, that populate the work.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I cut my teeth in poetry in spoken word. I have several narrative and performance poems from that period in this collection. More recently, I have been exploring so-called experimental forms, including vispo, flash, and language poetry. I wondered how I could include these disparate works in one book, and came up with the idea of a mixed genre manuscript with a story at the end that married all the forms. So I included my story in single sentences, “Mirror.”
What genre does your book fall under?
It’s all poetry, but from a wide range of poetics. “Mirror” is a send-up of many prose and poetic forms, even as it creates a new one. For example, I do the exposition in footnotes and use the names of real living people (who might sue me if they find out) in my protagonist’s memoirs. And Ritar (my heroine’s name) shares her memoirs more than a little with me.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Kathleen Turner for Mary Magdalene and the dominatrix. Johnny Depp as Ritar (he could do a female part.)
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
New form, old traum(ata).
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The book is seeking a good home with a press with a brilliant list and a sense of humor and adventure–I will change the names of the villains to avoid lawsuit upon request.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Some of the work in the book is over ten years old, but most has been written in the past few years.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Since I have hit almost all genres in this book, I can only say that the genre-mixing of Ulysses was a huge influence.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Joyce, as above; Nabokov; my friends at the Facebook Otherstream writing group; Carol Novack with her genre-defying pieces.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I rank out the Paris Review in one poem; Mary Magdalene is a biker chick in another. This book received an honorable mention in the Coconut Poetry Elizabeth P. Braddock Prize.
And now the blog rolls on to Annie Pluto, poet and professor of literature and drama at Lesley University.