The Next Big Thing

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The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing

Matthew Klane tagged me for this interview / chainletter.

What is the working title of the book?

Clarity Speaks of a Crystal Sea

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I had been working for several months on a series of what I call cut-out poems (erasures where the erasing is done by cutting text out rather than marking it out with a marker, etc). I knew I was drawn to the sensorial narratives I saw in food and lifestyle magazines and in Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project. I saw other narratives floating just beneath the surface of these ordinary, polished, and seemingly benign texts. My cutting allowed other significance to emerge from within them while the cuts mapped their making.

While these poems were related by process, they didn’t feel like a book to me just by virtue of being side by side. Haada was a character which emerged from one of these cut out poems. The idea for the book was asking what would happen if he expanded beyond the scope of the poem.


Photo by Afton Wilky.

What genre does your book fall under?


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

I’ve been thinking about this all week and it’s still really hard for me to attach characters in the book to particular bodies. I don’t know if this is because that body would change our relation to a pronoun directed towards it or if it’s because a human body would change the way that the name and pronoun could enter and leave the text. These bodies would also distinguish all the actors in the book (pronouns, proper names, etc.) in a literal way that would collapse some of the work I see the book doing.

Anyway, I’m sure that’s a more complicated response than the question bargained for. However, just for the fun of it, I’ll say that if there were pressure I could blurt out: Ken Wantanabe for Haada. Beyond that…

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Haada and Author ( / author?) are out to sea, literally and metaphorically.

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

Depending on what you’re counting as a draft, either 7, 10 or 12 months.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

That’s very tough to nail down, but a wonderful friend told me that I’ve been writing towards Haada for a long time. This had never occurred to me, but looking back, I can see that kind of trajectory through my work for a long time and across several mediums. Where this comes from and where it’s going, I don’t know. But I do I see Clarity Speaks of a Crystal Sea as a foothold.

As far as influences…
Christian Hawkey’s Ventrakl, John Ashbery’s “Litany,” Sawako Nakayasu’s incredible performance on the AWP pannel (2012) for the I’ll Drown My Book anthology, Jenny Boully’s The Body: An Essay, Marina Abramović, Laura Mullen, Lisa Samuels, Erin Mouré…
…writers performing the act of writing—the doing and the way of doing becoming content, performance artists writing with their bodies in space, conceptual art…

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

The project borrows language; cuts and refolds it; bodies; it bodies; it requires more than one mouth; more than one pair of eyes; it becomes language with a visible shadow.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Flim Forum Press

My tagged writers for next Wednesday are:

OK, so the week before AWP may be the worst possible time to invite people to write a blog post / do an interview.

Instead of “officially” tagging people, I’d like to give open / optional invites for Christian Hawkey, Sara Wintz, Jennifer Tamayo, Melissa Buzzeo, and Brandon Shimoda.

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