In honor of next week’s AWP conference extravaganza, how about a little miniblogging?
At long last, I’m going to Boston! I’ve never been, but when I was 18, I did write an essay for a college application about why “Boston” was my favorite word. I meditated for something like 300 words on those round “o” sounds flanking that sharp little “st.” And, oh the authoritative “B” at the beginning, and the understated “n” at the end. Um…why did I ever think I was pre-med?
If you’ll be in Boston next week, here’s where you can find me reading and signing copies of Gloss:
“How Sweet is Sixteen? An Anniversary Reading”
(with Perugia poets Melanie Braverman, Jennifer K. Sweeney, Lynne Thompson, and Linda Tomol Pennisi)
Thursday, March 7 at 9:00am
Room 310 Hynes Convention Center
“Country Dog Poets: A Reading”
(with Mary Biddinger, Joan Schadt Biddle, Greg Alan Brownderville, Lisa Fay Coutley, Nick McRae, Jessica Piazza, and Heather Price)
Saturday, March 9 at 5:00 pm
Dillon’s Restaurant and Bar, 955 Boyleston Street
Saturday, March 9 from 12:00 - 1:00
at the Perugia Press bookfair table (L25)
(I’ll also be at the Perugia table from 3:00 - 4:00 on Friday and 1:00 - 3:00 on Saturday)
Now — the Next Big Thing thing:
I wasn’t sure about doing this, since it seems to put the “me” in meme, but then all my friends jumped off the Empire State Building, so I did too.
Much love to Heather Kirn Lanier for tagging me in this self-interview series. I’m just this Little Bit, but Heather really is The Next Big Thing, folks. You must read her book Teaching in the Terrordome. And every one of her blog essays at A Star in Her Eye just knocked me flat.
So, I’ll answer these questions about my current project.
What is the title of your book?
I sorta have a title, but it seems a little jinxy to use it before the project is done. I mean, once you name it, you have to keep it. That’s why I now have three cats.
What is the once-sentence synopsis of your book?
Why do we bury our beauty alive?
What genre does your book fall under?
Where did the idea for the book come from?
It’s definitely Gloss’s daughter, or sister, or dotty old auntie. I can’t seem to find my way out of these coal mines, and it’s getting pretty dark in here… I’m reading everything I can get my hands on related to the 2010 Upper Big Branch mining disaster in West Virginia, and trying to make sense of such tremendous loss. I mean, I’m trying to touch loss and absence with language, which is, of course, impossible. I also have this Peter Pan thing going—I’m thinking about Neverland as a kind of mine space, and Peter Pan as a kind of Hermes figure, going between, but never completely grounded in either world…
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Oh, it’s still happening. Don’t tell me how it ends!
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
A photo of a parent wearing a t-shirt printed with a photo of his deceased son.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
We’ll cha-cha with champagne across that bridge when we come to it.
What other works would you compare this book to within your genre?
If The Book were to have a dinner party (all genres welcome), I’d like to think she would make sparkling conversation with Ann Pancake’s fiction, especially her “holding” hills in Strange as This Weather Has Been; the lightning bolts that are Rae Armantrout’s poems; if it’s not too much to hope for, Emily Dickinson’s beyond; Irene McKinney’s poetic West Virginia; Harryette Mullen’s palimpsestic cake and eating it too; Elizabeth Bishop’s vertiginous geography; Marilynne Robinson because holy heck, I just read Housekeeping—why didn’t anyone tell me before how great that book is and, seriously, why wasn’t it required reading???; and Breece D’J Pancake because we’ll need a dude for good measure…
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie?
Characters? How about John Hawkes plays the line breaks and Amy Ryan plays the stanza breaks. Quvenzhane Wallis for everything else.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
How about a coupon for half-price appetizers and free beer on the back cover? Or a scratch-n-sniff font? I’ll see what I can do…
Now, I’ll tag five wonderful writer friends, who should not feel the least bit obligated to do this thing. But you, dear reader, should feel very obligated to seek out their poems and then revel, revel away..