Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Next Big Thing

So I've been tagged by my dear Sarah Fox to participate in The Next Big Thing, which is a kind of self-interview project for writers that's filtering through the internets. I get tagged, write responses to a series of standard questions, then tag a gang of writers to keep the ball in the air. Seemed like a good reason to dust off the blog and dive in.


1. What is the working title of the book?

I'm just wrapping up a book of poems I've called "World of Claws." 

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

I guess the idea or the inspiration for the book came from a constellation of occurrences and circumstances over a relatively concentrated period of time. In February 2012 my parents visited Germany. They had been to Kassel a few times, so we chose to spend a week in Berlin. One day, after a long walk, we tucked into a beer hall to unwind. My father is recently retired and he has been taking up various projects (gardening, etc.) to occupy his time. One of these projects includes investigating his family history. This led he and my mother into a long series of stories about my family and my parents which I had never heard. I'm not a very nostalgic person, but the light in this room and the kind of unscripted outpouring from my folks really got to me. These stories collided with questions and concerns about my own family, how families are constituted, by whom, and so on. I went home and took notes. I revisited a series of loose sonnets exploring domesticity, and they seemed to resonate with the family poems.  At the time I was also keeping a dream journal, elements of which became part of the book. I guess the central event of the book is a long sequence (a daybook) composed around the art exhibition documenta 13, which was held in Kassel from June-September 2012. Between the visitors, the art itself, my wife's time traveling and my own time taking the exhibition in almost daily, I was able to build a construct of responses, thefts, implosions, ignorances, misinterpretations, etc. Once I had these different elements, it all came together rather quickly.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Poetry, I would say. It definitely falls under.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I think using unknown actors would achieve the desired effect, which is to render an unknowable life.

5. What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

"I would like to wander / amid the heavens’ explosions / a mountainous country’s / nomadic art immaterial / if learned by heart"

or maybe:

"Boy meets art."

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

Once I had all the notes, it took me two months to draft it and sequence it. This book flew together in a flurry, as if it wrote itself. I barely knew what happened. By comparison, my last book took about five years. 

7. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Who? well, my parents (see question #1 above). my wife and all our kids. All the people who visited during documenta (Sarah Fox, John Colburn, Donna Stonecipher, Joao Enxuto, Erica Love, Susan Bernofsky, Laja Field, Christian Hawkey, Uljana Wolf, Madeline Stillwell, Marleen Knipping, Bärbel Tischleder, Jason Jacobs, Ekaterine Giorgadze, Jose Marin, Eva Mohn, Emily Dreyfus, Rachel Levitsky, et. al.).

What? getting older. my bicycle. the weather. stress. documenta. 

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

There are no lies to be found in it, but it might be fun to look for them.

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

Neither.  The Documenta Daybook section will be published as a chapbook in March. The manuscript itself is making the rounds. My first book, Some Animals, comes out from JackLeg Press in spring 2014.

I've tagged Gregg Wagner, Jenny Browne, Chris Hosea, and Michael Meier.

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