I've been working on a Big Thing that is not poetry and noticed today how afraid I am of letting my poem instincts infiltrate the work. It's a shame, because the same literary devices I've practiced in my craft are probably the only things that can make this BIg Thing interesting or different from everyone else's Big Things. So, I am going to revise it this evening and let my freak(-poem) flag fly!
Thanks to Judy Halbesky for tagging me in this blog event. I first discovered Judy's exquisite work on Verse Daily, but I’ve since had the pleasure of meeting in person and, yes, she’s as captivating IRL as her poems are.
Judy Halebsky’s poems are published or forthcoming in a number of literary journals including: ZYZZYVA, Eleven Eleven, Poetry Flash, Hotel Amerika, Smartish Pace, and CALYX Journal. Her book of poems, Sky=Empty (New Issues, 2010) was chosen by Marvin Bell as the winner of the New Issues Prize, a first book award, and was also a finalist for the California Book Award. Her chapbook,Space/Gap/Interval/Distance (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2012) won the Poets-Under-Forty Chapbook Contest from Sixteen Rivers Press. In the summer of 2012, Judy traveled to Japan to visit places mentioned in Basho’s Narrow Road to the Interior. She lives at Ocean Beach in the outer edges of San Francisco and teaches at Dominican University of California.
Read Judy’s post on her writing process here: http://judyhalebsky.com/writing-process-blog-tour/
Writing Process Blog Tour: Maggie Glover
1. What are you working on?
Poet Isaac Pressnell and I have just finished a collaborative manuscript that draws from both of our earlier poems during the period we both attended West Virginia University’s MFA program. It’s very different from any other work I’ve done in that each piece was created solely from our agreed-upon “chance operations” -style writing process, which incorporates the other’s poem plus text from another source that is or was significant to us during the period in which we worked on the “new” poem (such as the script of an episode of Doctor Who I watched that night or a book that he was reading earlier that morning.) This experience led me to be interested in more collaborative work, so I will soon begin a project with poet Derek Mong that focuses on the relationship between figurative painters Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud.
2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I haven’t quite settled on a certain style of poetry yet,so I think the variety of approaches in my work might be something that most poets grew out of once they found a style that was successful for them. I still like to experiment with formal poems, found language, white space, etc. Maybe I’ll grow out of this someday, too.
3. Why do you write what you do?
Because no one else is going to write it for me.
4. How does your writing process work?
I think my most successful poems begin with a word or bit of language that resonates with me, even if I don’t know why (or, especially if I don’t know why.) I usually type that out, maybe combine it with another phrase or word I’ve had rolling around in my head, and go from there. My less successful poems are those that begin with a concept, such as, “I’m going to write about betrayal and my father.” For me, trying to write a poem about something is the surest way to fail at writing that poem.
Next up, I’m tagging three writers with very different backgrounds and writing styles, because variety is the spice of life. Be sure to look for their posts on May 7!
Alison Stine Alison Stine is the author of three books, the most recent of which is WAIT (University of Wisconsin Press). A former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford, her writing has appeared in The Nation, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, and The Paris Review. She lives in Appalachian Ohio. Alison Stine is the author of three books, the most recent of which is WAIT (University of Wisconsin Press). A former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford, her writing has appeared in The Nation, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, and The Paris Review. She lives in Appalachian Ohio. You can find her blog here: http://awfullyserious.blogspot.com
Stephanie Glover is a lifestyle blogger living in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She is the Writer and Editor behind A Grande Life, a blog about her passions: her family, her photography, and her coffee! She is also the Production Manager and Senior Editor of Real Mom Media and a contributing photographer for Main Line Parent Magazine. http://agrandelife.net
Christopher Patrick Steffen is author of the short story collection Thank You for Supporting Our Dreams and a forthcoming novel The End of All Things Planned For. Having grown up in Utah, Christopher lives in Oakland and tends bar in San Francisco. He has written about writing in his blogs: http://pathtoliterarysuccess.blogspot.com/ and http://pathtoliteraryfailure.tumblr.com/
The Next Big Thing: Self Interview Project
I had the honor of being tagged by Anne Barngrover in “The Next Big Thing.” The objective of the project is for writers to complete a self-interview regarding their recent or forthcoming book, post the interview on their blog or website and tag fellow writers to do the same the following week. Anne’s titillating, whiskey-and southern-breeze-infused description of her manuscript, Yell Hound Blues is a tough act to follow, but here I go!
Today, I will be writing about my first full-length poetry book, HOW I WENT RED, which is forthcoming from Carnegie Mellon University Press in 2014.
What is the title of the book?
HOW I WENT RED
When Isaac Newton first divided the color spectrum, he believed that there was a connection between each color and other aspects of the universe. To me, the color red constitutes life (the color of blood), but it also represents solitude because it signifies danger and risk. Its abrasiveness is sometimes off-putting, sometimes arousing - either way, it demands a heaping amount of attention that can be completely exhausting. At the end of the day, sometimes it's easier to just leave red the hell alone.
What genre does the book fall under?
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
What an amazing question for a television and celebrity-obsessed poet like me! I’ve been inspired by the wild, ethereal beauty of model-turned-actress Lily Cole (see image above) since I began writing this book. I think her spooky energy would be a perfect fit for the main speaker. The rest of the cast would include a young Marlon Brando, an old William Shatner and Angelica Houston. I’d also probably write in a part for Bryan Cranston – perhaps the owner of the ranch in the poem “The Stud of Gumz Farms.” Because Bryan Cranston should be in everything.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
I’m going to go with the last line of my poem, “The boys who learned to fuck from porn movies versus the boys who learned to fuck from their fathers," which is:
“When I told them how, we were all surprised.”
Much of this book is an exploration of memory and identity, and the “how” of that exploration is, in my opinion, more interesting than any possible conclusion.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
This manuscript has been through several revisions, and is an entirely different book from my original graduate thesis that I completed in 2008, which might be considered a first draft. However, more than half of this book is made up of poems that I’ve written since that time. One poem was written my junior year of undergrad and one poem was written the week before I submitted it to CMU.
Who or what inspired you to write the book?
The “triggering towns” where I lived while writing it: Granville, OH, Morgantown, WV, Pittsburgh, PA and San Francisco, CA. The gorgeous, nightmarish paintings of Francis Bacon. And real life human beings.
What else about this book might pique the reader’s interest?
I am an honest-to-God-from-the-bottle redhead. Also, I think this book contains a little something for everyone: transvestites, the 2007 October issue of Vogue, amnesia, the hollers of West Virginia, ice storms, horse placenta, Ecstasy, Phillip Levine, the UFC, Brooklyn, liposuction, Marc Jacobs, a jellyfish heart, Florence Nightingale and more.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
My book was accepted for publication during CMU’s open submission period this past year and will be out in 2014.
My (fabulous) tagged writers for next Wednesday are: