J. De Salvo, editor of The Bicycle Review, selected my poem “Seven Courses, No Issues” as its Poem of the Week for April 30-May 6. It’s one way to splash a little more attention on Sky Sandwiches, the collection where this poem originally appeared. I appreciate J.’s giving it and me this opportunity.
I just received my contributor’s copy of Bestiary: the best of the inaugural demi-decade of A cappella Zoo, in which appears the poem “Leaving La Dulce Vida” by Martin Ott and me. Bestiary also functions as A cappella Zoo Issue 10 (Spring 2013). It’s big and beautiful, 344 pages of fiction and poetry with a lovely cover by Anna Bron. Many thanks to guest editor Gina Ochsner for selecting our piece and founding editor Colin Meldrum for putting this volume together. It really is a pretty nice literary artifact, and I’ve already started enjoying the works inside.
My first piece as a contributing editor for Arcadia Magazine, a fairly brief review of One Hundred Grasses by Leila Wilson, went live today. I’m excited to have a chance to contribute such stuff. I like Arcadia, a print and online journal out of Oklahoma City. I also have a poem, “Orange County Cartoons,” coming out in its sixth print volume, but I think that won’t be out for a bit.
Thanks to editor-in-chief K. Andrew Turner of East Jasmine Review for selecting two of my poems, “Conquest” and “The Dispossessed,” for its inaugural issue. Getting published by Andrew is a bit like getting a free trip back to the San Gabriel Valley, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that! (Now I just hope East Jasmine Review gets listed by Duotrope, so I can update my online submission tracker.)
A huge thanks goes to Lee Norton, Poetry Editor for The Carolina Quarterly, who just accepted my oversized, fifteen-part prose poem “From the Mountains to the Sea.” Boy, I’ve been worried about finding a home for that poem, since it does run a few pages.
Sarah Crossland, poet and managing editor at Devil’s Lake, tagged me to participate in The Next Big Thing, a meme that has been making its way across the blogosphere, aimed at authors with recent or forthcoming books. Tagged authors interview themselves, using a more-or-less standard list of questions. You can find Sarah’s interview here.
What is the title of the book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I wanted to collect my most thematically cohesive set of poems in one place.
Regarding the title: Martin Ott, my friend, mentor, and collaborator, with whom I wrote my other full-length collection, Poets’ Guide to America (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2012), suggested I call my collection Moon Sandwiches, claiming that my best work brought together the sublime and the mundane, the mythical and the personal. Something like that. I tweaked the title to Sky Sandwiches, since the moon only covers so much.
What genre does your book fall under?
“poetry,” specifically “first poetry collections” (but hopefully not “juvenilia”)
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Insofar as some of my poems may have autobiographical elements, I keep remembering that when I was a teenager, some people thought I looked a little like Rick Astley. So maybe he could step in, especially if he’s also put on some weight since then. Or maybe Steve Agee from The Sarah Silverman Program.
Emperor Romulus Augustus should be portrayed by Isaac Hempstead-Wright, who plays Bran Stark in Game of Thrones.
Sheriff Natalie Ampatuan Davenport could be played by Tila Tequila.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
This book combines a desire to get better at poetry, some degree of prickliness, and an honest love for food; mustard optional.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Oooh…just short of two and a half years? After my attempt just to throw everything I had written into a chronologically-ordered manuscript called Rude Alchemy, I think the first draft of something more carefully organized, Sky Sandwiches, was compiled in August 2011. I went over to Martin’s place, we looked through and evaluated about a hundred of my poems, he put the contenders in some sort of order, and then I went home and shuffled everything.
What books within the same genre would you compare yours to?
Martin remains an influence to this day. But I wouldn’t dare compare my work to his or my other inspirations, such as Thomas Lux, Tony Hoagland, Albert Goldbarth, Paul Suntup, and, more recently, James Tate and John Ashbery.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I just want a little piece of fame and a little piece of glory, just enough to help me get a full-time teaching job, so I’m not eating cat food when I’m eighty.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I’m kinda perverse. And I like playing with language.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Sky Sandwiches was already published by Anaphora Literary Press on August 7, 2012.
Who are your tagged writers for next Wednesday (March 6, 2013)?
They told me to tag four or five, but what can I say? Some days fishing turn out better than others.
Great. Thanks. We’ll be in touch. Please feel free to take a commemorative lanyard on your way out.
I’m really starting to look forward to this year’s AWP conference in Boston. From what I can surmise, it’s like ComiCon for writers. I hope my superwife Raquel and I will be more exhilarated than overwhelmed by the madness and crowds. Raquel found us a nearby five-star hotel for only $135 a night, so at least we’ll have somewhere nice to retreat if things get too much.
What all’s going to go on there? Lemme see:
- My awesome publisher, Joe Pan Millar of Brooklyn Arts Press, has arranged a reading at local Irish bar Lir from 4:30 to 5:45 on Friday, March 8. I’ll be reading, along with my frequent collaborator Martin Ott; come check us out!
- My MFA program (University of Michigan) is holding a “Zellebration” in honor of überbenefactor Helen Zell on Thursday, March 7.
- Also on Thursday evening, my fellow Michigan MFA poet Nate Marshall is doing a reading, Loose Cannon, a benefit for Louder Than a Bomb – Boston. That’ll be at Pozen Center in North Hall at Massachusetts College of Art & Design. Ticket info is here.
- I hope to run into more of my MFA cohort in and around the convention center.
- I plan to look for writers from one of my other publishers, Anaphora Literary Press.
- I plan to meet and drink with my fellow contributing editors from Arcadia Magazine.
- I plan to track down the booth for Canarium Books, for which I’m an editorial assistant.
- Somewhere in there, I hope to sell some of my books and chapbooks: Poets’ Guide to America, Sky Sandwiches, Breach Birth, and Leading an Aquamarine Shoat by Its Tail.
- But mostly, I’ll probably wander around with Raquel, mouth agape, mind agog.
In fact, I can feel the agogness happening already.
Are you going? You should go. Go! Hot diggity!
Jennifer Lambert, production manager for Canada’s The Dalhousie Review, has accepted my poem “A History of Ex-Love, Part XIV.” I’ve been trying to get into The Dalhousie Review for a few years now, so this is pretty good news.
I’m just checking to see whether I can cross-post to Facebook by cross-posting first to Twitter. Can I make this bank shot?