Thank you Holly Wren Spaulding for tagging me in this community effort to talk about our book projects with each other. This set of questions is all over the web right now, with answers from people who are working on books. It's not the easiest thing in the world to write about your own writing. See what you think about how I've done. I've tagged Patricia Clark and Libby Wagner. They'll be answering the questions too.
Holly is a poem whisperer, the real deal. Along with making delicately powerful poems of her own, she is present, through her workshops and website, at the instigation of many, including mine.
What is the working title of your book? We Live Here
Where did the idea come from for your book? Many of these poems began as witness to specific land, in Aldo Leopold's sense of the word, which expands beyond the dirt beneath our feet to include the web of life inhabiting it, literally. I hope they develop into something that explores my grief and delight—and the tension between the two—as I encounter the world as it is now, the only world we have.
These particular poems insisted upon becoming part of something larger. The title comes from my ongoing fascination with the way certain places are considered more universally relevant than others. I happen to know very well a number of places, teeming with life (human and otherwise), that are not generally considered relevant to people elsewhere. Of course for those who live in them they are exquisitely relevant, because they live there. It seems important to note that we don't have to cross oceans to find them.
What genre does your book fall under? Poetry.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? A movie rendition? I know there is an inventive filmmaker out there who could take my grief and delight and turn it into film, but since I know so little about the people who do these things, I'm at a loss.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book? "We live here"!–if each word is allowed its full range of meanings.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? I've heard a number of poets answer this question by noting that it took a lifetime to write the poems, and while that seems ever so slightly glib, it's apt. Sometimes my poems happen quickly. Others evolve over years. This book has been in process for a long time.
Who or what inspired you to write this book? Each poem has its own little genesis story. A great many of them arose directly from walks outdoors, under the sky, across familiar pieces of land, while I heeded whatever words and images were insisting I pay attention to them.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? A short while back I re-encountered the phrase "post-wild world" in a book title. (I can't recall where I first read it.) My immediate reaction was hilarity. As long as we sneeze, feel unanticipated fear and sudden attraction, and so on; as long as hops, grain, and malt turn into beer, and milk into yogurt, then this is not a post-wild world. A post-wild world will not have any human beings around to write about it, robots maybe, but I'm uninterested in that kind of writing. This book of poems explores the idea of wildness as inseparable from human-ness.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Please stay tuned.