The Next-Big-Thing Interview
Thank you to Anthony DiMatteo, a fellow Long Island poet, for tagging me for this interview. Here are my answers with reference to my poetry chapbook which was published by Finishing Line Press (Georgetown, KY) in 2011.
What is the title of your book?
Ennui: From the Diagnostic and Statistical Field Guide of Feminine Disorders.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was taking a workshop at NYU SCPS with Erica Wright, and she gave me a writing assignment to write a poem that defined a word and provided Les Murray’s poem The Quality of Sprawl as an example. After several false starts, I hit on the word “ennui” and the first draft just poured out of me. “Ennui” is a word that had been stuck in my mind since reading Kate Chopin’s The Awakening.
What genre(s) does your book fall under?
Poetry, feminism, satire.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
There are references to real people like Sylvia Plath and Betty Friedan, but no characters or plot. The book is meant to represent the collective and universal experience of women who suffer from the malaise described in The Feminine Mystique. Julianne Moore has played that type of female lead very well in several movies, including Safe.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
An exploration of a single word in 18 sections which uses form to reflect content, but doesn’t take itself too seriously.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It’s a series of short linked poems; or one long poem. The first draft was written in an hour or so on the LIRR on the way to (or from) the city. After the initial draft, it went through multiple revisions for about a year before being accepted for publication by Finishing Line Press.
What other books would you compare this to within your genre?
Love, An Index by Rebecca Lindenberg in that we both take a word and riff off of it in surprising ways.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The poem is an alchemy of many influences including feminist theory (Linda Hirshman’s Get To Work), poetry (Ilya Kaminsky), fiction (Melissa Bank), academic reference books, and medical literature (DSM). It’s written for women everywhere who still struggle daily to dismantle the patriarchy. (Yet it’s also whimsical and humorous, I promise).
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The cover art was created by my spouse, Neil Hauser. Cats also love it. (Or maybe they just like playing with the bookmark ribbon.)
For National Poetry Month I am an official Pulitzer Remixer. I am one of the 85 poets from seven countries that has been selected to write and post a found poem every day in April. I am writing poems from the text of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel A Summons To Memphis by Peter Taylor.
I’m also simultaneously working on two projects for full length poetry collections. One is a collection of modern fairy tales with a recurring riot grrrl theme titled (dis)Enchanted: A Grrrls’ Guide to Surviving Happily Ever After. The other is a collection of longer Enuui style poems tentatively titled Asking For It.
Tag, you’re it.
Here are some writers that I think will be the Next-Big-Thing.
Fellow Pulitzer Remixer, poet, and feminist Roxanna Bennet at Marvelist.
One of my favorite poets Vicki Iorio.
The fabulous and alluring Joceyln Casey Whitman.