« Is blogging still a thing? | Main | Poetry Book Giveaway! »

The Next Big Thing?

The Next Big Thing is a blog-tag of writers answering a series of questions about their next book/writing project.


Ren Powell, who I’ve known now since I first joined the WomPo Listserv and through our various collaborative editing enterprises - Poemeleon & Babel Fruit, ProtestPoems.org -- tagged me for this very cool Thing. She is so accomplished and smart that I can hardly stand it sometimes, and I am so grateful to have her as a friend and an inspiration. I am anxious to read her next book, An Elastic State of Mind, and remember it as she was exploring it through animation. And now as a novice runner, I am excited to see that she has been writing about her experiences running in Norway and I look forward to hearing more about that project as it moves toward publication.

And now, on to the Official Questions and some information about my current projects...

What is the title of your book?

The Way Things Move The Dark

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Hm. Well, in Newport Beach, at a place called The Fun Zone, there used to be a cheesy sort-of carnival, and one of the rides, which I’ve never ridden, was called The Scary Dark Ride. I’d say that this book, albeit short, is the printed equivalent of The Scary Dark Ride.

What genre does your book fall under? 


Where did the idea come from for the book?

The Way Things Move The Dark is actually an excerpt of a longer work that is searching for a home (four semi-finalist nods and an honorable mention- always a bridesmaid, never a bride). The full collection, titled My Skies of Small Horses, was written as my MFA thesis, and is therefore heavily influenced by the writers I was obsessed with at the time. When I started the MFA program at Antioch University Los Angeles, I had already published a first book, Seven Floors Up, which was much more conservative in terms of themes and writing strategies - I wrote many of the poems in form, and it was very domestic; no, not just domestic but domesticated. In pursuing my MFA, one of my goals was to move away from that. During that period I gave myself permission to be wild, to not make sense, or to make a different kind of sense. I wanted to push myself. But I also still had this impulse to write about domestic subjects. This is my attempt to do so from a different direction, while also honoring my impulse to explore the more surreal aspects of domesticity.

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

About two years, with another two going through the submission-rejection-revision process.  

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Most of what I read while pursuing my MFA fell under what has been dubbed a “Gurlesque” aesthetic. I think these poems were a direct result of reading all of those kick-ass women poets.

Who will publish your book?

dancing girl press, a kick-ass independently run feminist press based out of Chicago.

What other works would you compare this book to within your genre? 

I wouldn’t draw any direct comparisons, but I was definitely influenced by works by Lara Glenum, Matthea Harvey, Brenda Shaughnessy, and of course Sylvia Plath.

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

Marion Cotillard. Because I think she can pull off beautiful, scary, and complicated. And she's very lovely, and the French accent is nice.

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

Well, I suppose there are some interesting tropes, some used overtly, some used covertly -- the keyboard differences on Mac vs. PC as a sort of allegory, the traditions of the Persian fairy tale, and the idea that we should all tell our stories “slant”.

Also, my amazingly talented sister Amy Payne is doing the art for the cover again! I can't wait to see what she comes up with.


Thanks again to Ren Powell for tagging me.

And... This is where I am supposed to tag five people. But: I’m not going to tag anyone new. I suspect this blog-tag has hit nearly if not everyone I know (I know, I’ve asked) but if you see this and it interests you enough to pursue, consider yourself tagged!

Instead, go read these other poets who've already participated in The Next Big Thing, women I would've tagged if someone hadn't already beat me to it:

My editor, Kristy Bowen

Sheila Squillante

Laura Madeline Wiseman

Clare Martin

Amanda Auchter


Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>