What is your working title of your book?
Glasswork, from the poem that ends:
And finally, having scooped
the pulpy stuff of cleverness away,
you'll come to the almond
amygdala, gleaming, and inlaid
with rage and desire like parquetry,
and hidden under that –
only glasswork made by tender hands,
fragile bowls of sky or midnight blue.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I'm not one of those dignified poets who builds great monuments of public poetry. My poetry is irredeemably personal. Mine has been a messy, heartbreaking life for a couple years, and these poems come out of that. The dominant theme, I suppose, is fragility – hence the title.
What genre does your book fall under?
Poetry. Confessional poetry.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Hah. Like I know the names of any actors!
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
What? That's some kind of joke, right? “Ow, putting my hand on the hot stove hurts!”
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Well, that's the question. I think it was a mistake to make this into a book, actually: I think I moved into poetry books too fast. I think I should break it down into two or three chapbooks, and shop them around that way, enter some contests, maybe. I just threw all my favorite stuff from the last couple years into the pot.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Well, it took years to write the poems, of course. The book I slapped together hastily to submit to this year's Airlie Press contest. See above.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Story? Story? What story? No. But I think I fall recognizably into what you might call the Mary Oliver, William Stafford, Chase Twichell school: or what you might call the White Knight school:
- So, having no reply to give
- To what the old man said,
- I cried "Come, tell me how you live!"
- And thumped him on the head.
- I am interested always in the question, “How does one live?” and “How does one tell people how one lives?” and the further questions of “How does one listen to someone telling one how one lives? And does it make any difference?”
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
- Machik Labdrön. Next question.
What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
- Beats me. I'm astonished and grateful that people like to read my poetry: I always think there must be some mistake. But here's poem, changed somewhat from its debut on Mole:
Cain planted corn and thought,
“I own this land!”
Abel taught sheep to believe he was kind,
and cut their throats.
Eve never learned to turn away
salesmen with catalogs of apples,
a deal of seed, and wriggling discourse:
at night she told Adam how they would be rich.
Never mind who finally murdered whom. It was
only a matter of time.