Marc Latham of Folding Mirror Poetry nominated me to answer a few questions about my next book for a blog meme -The Next Big Thing. I really appreciate all the support FMPoetry.wordpress.com has shown me over the past year or so. I would like to answer some questions about my new book which is now available for Kindle but unfortunately, my work on various other projects has kept me from really looking at other blogs so I don’t have 5 other people to nominate and instead, after answering the questions, I’ll give a brief list of the most recent books I’ve read and enjoyed and one of my favorites which has had the most severe impact upon my writing style/aesthetic.
Ok, so here goes the Q&A.
What is the title of your new book?
For those of you who have noticed a severe drop-off in my posting as of late, it has been in part due to tinkering with This Sentimental Education which is now available for Kindle (or will be later today). But, also I’ve been working towards collecting my Early Works which will be split into two volumes and should be out around New Year’s.
What genre does your book fall under?
Poetry – epic.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
There are no characters in this poem well not in the traditional sense so maybe for narration sake I’d go with John Leguizamo, Chris Rock or maybe Donald Glover (from the show Community).
Will your book be self published or published by an agency?
My book will be self-published. KDP/Createspace.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
This poem was written in an amazing 2 week span. Then I let it sit for about a year before further tinkering with it. Then I left it alone again for a few months and then gave it another few close readings before coming to this ending. So, I guess it took two weeks to write and two years to edit. And, most of the cuttings from this poem ended up in the latter half of Back Pocket Book – in particular the poem Don’t Lose The Sun.
What other books would you compare This Sentimental Education to within the genre?
In all honesty, I don’t know what else I’d compare it to within the genre. I guess, I could say Alice Notley’s Disobedience and Culture of One for sheer length or Nathaniel Mackey’s Splay Anthem for its style. But, I read both of those books after coming to completion with this book. Really, I guess a good look at Ted Berrigan’s work other than his sonnets would be a close cousin of what I’ve written. Or maybe, Coney Island of a Mind by Ferlinghetti.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The inspiration for this book came from my dislike of the traditional narrative poem. I really wanted to dismantle the narrative as understood in English departments and in Sociolinguistics. I wanted to disrupt story and hero. What was left behind was the pure lyricism of sentiment and a new approach or style of writing the long poem or the epic.
In writing this book, I dug into Proust for character, Beckett for story, and Genet and Wilde for a poetry of confinement. Poetry based on not being able to do but only to think – Treasures of the Night and Ballad of Reading Gaol. In addition, I kept Carver and Carruth close to my heart/mind.
Basically, I felt that a change was in order for the narrative.
What else about the book might pique a reader’s interest?
Personally, I believe of the utmost interest to the reader would be the imagery of the book. I think the reader would enjoy images moving in and out of view through spirals and obstructions and much less by circles and cycles. I think a fan of Toomer’s Cane would see his influence in my approach to movement and repetition as not quite the same as when it first occurred.
And, I think the reader might enjoy a push away from subjectivity so common in lyricism. This poem is lyrical abstract(ion) as seen in the paintings of a guy like William Pettet or abstract lyricism as Lorca refers to Stephane Mallarme.
And finally, many apologies for not being able to nominate other blogs but a few books/writers to think about:
Bin Ramke -Theory of Mind
Donald Revell – The Bitter Withy
Rowan Ricardo Phillips – The Ground
Alice Notley – Culture of One
Ted Berrigan – Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan
Anna Elena Eyre – Faceless Names