Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Next Big Thing

This a pass the parcel sort of a blog post, a challenge passed to me from the lovely poet Nessa O'Mahony here.
Have a read. She's discussing her next collection Her Father's Daughter. Then you can continue backwards to Noel Duffy to Colin Bell and so on.

I dithered for a while whether to answer about my novel or my poetry collection but the poetry is much closer to the finish line so I went with that.

1) What is the working title of your next book?
It keeps changing. Sometimes Good Sherry Trifle, after a poem title and a painting by a German painter, sometimes Dancer Cows Crossing from a line in another poem. A title should reflect the theme of the book, the mood but a first collection is written over a much longer time period than subsequent and I'm finding it hard to pin down. Maybe A Box Full Of Love or Opening The Box or Moon Water. The jury is still out.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
I started writing poetry when I did a creative writing class and the teacher, the late Stuart Lane, made me. I came back with a sonnet which was the first poem I'd written since school. My English teacher had put me off poetry for decades.
And once you have some publications, prizes and poems you are proud of, you want them to go out into the world. But not too soon. I've read a good few first collections that, in my humble opinion, are not ready. Not cooked, still a bit raw on the inside and not in a good way, in an indigestible way.
So I've held back and kept at it, writing, doing readings, sending out, publishing. last year, moth editions published a poetry pamphlet, a dinky book called Some Poems (still available, €4 or £4 a bargain) and that went really well. We had to reprint. Now I have sheaves of poems that I think would work well between covers.

3) What genre does your book fall under?
Um, poetry?
I do feel I have my own voice. I would be more upbeat than a lot of poets. Not always of course. That would just be wearying and dishonest but I do like to see the positive where I can. I also have a science bent that pops out in unexpected places. I am well read but not an academic poet.
I write as an immigrant so I do have the advantage of seeing some parts of contemporary life from the outside. I work full time and have a family and these parts of my life come into my poems too. Of course, there are universal themes, love, children, inadequacies and feminism but also there's Facebook, honey roasted parsnips, spicy wine and the economic crisis.
Some poems are in form, some are written to be read out loud but most are carefully honed free verse.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of the characters in the movie rendition?
Are there any movies based on poems? There's a thought.
Damien Lewis (Homeland) would be perfect for the poem Flaming For Vincent.
Otto from Amsterdam Otto recommends could be Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock).
This is fun. What else?
Fred Astaire is already in The Full Experience
My Mother in While It Lasted could be played by Alison Steadman and my Dad by Colin Firth.

5) What is a one-line synopsis of your book?
Opening the Box to find thoughts, worries, incidents and joy from contemporary life.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agent?
No. I don't see the point in self-published poetry. And agents who represent poets at the start of their careers are...rare as moon water.
I'd be extremely happy if a prominent poetry publisher in Ireland or in the UK were to publish me. Call me! Tweet me! Read my manuscript!

7) How long did it take you to write a first draft of the manuscript?
The oldest poem in the collection is probably ten years old. The youngest would be this autumn. I spend a lot of time with each poem, honing, changing, looking for the exact right word, the syllables, the sound, rhymes, half rhymes where rhymes add something. References to science, film, cartoon, songs, Greek Gods etc are carefully chosen. And if the reader doesn't get them, the poem will still stand on its own.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I'd like to think I am the new Wendy Cope or Sophie Hannah when she still did poetry but I don't write so much in form. Carol Ann Duffy? Except not so prolific. If someone paid me just to write poetry, I would be so much more prolific. Except sometimes you can get too locked inside your head. Work gets you out the door and into the real world.
>Also love e e cummings and the way he plays with words and lines and grammar. He has fun and still gets the serious things out there.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The late Stuart Lane triggered my dip into poetry. Otherwise it's just life, listening to people on the train, looking out of the window, arguing with my nearest and dearest and the outlaws, reading contemporary poetry and fiction and watching tv and films and going to art galleries and eating and drinking and dancing and going to festivals.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Where else could you find a massive crush on Vincent Van Gogh, conga-ing cows, silhouettes of ponderosa pines, shrivelled conkers, bloody arm stumps, the buckled end of a belt, Monaghan mosquitos, Schrodinger's Cat, bubbles of ashes, a mashed potato contest and a box full of love?
Dip in, the water's lovely.

I have now taken off one more layer and am passing the parcel to the very talented poet JoAnne McKay.
JoAnne is an Essex native who has lived in Dumfriesshire for the past 14 years. She grew up in a slaughterhouse in Romford, and her first career was as a police officer in Bristol.
JoAnne published her first poetry pamphlet, 'The fat plant', in 2009. Her pamphlet Venti was runner up in the 2011 Callum Macdonald Memorial Award. She is currently studying at the University of Glasgow, between paid employment and bringing up her family.
She blogs often and interestingly at Titus The Dog.
She's looking to get her post up on or around 7th January 2013.


Kat Mortensen said...

If #10 doesn't have those top publisher's calling you, then I don't know what will!

Love Cumberbatch, Lewis and Firth! (sounds like a comedy troupe, doesn't it? —or a Dickensian Legal Firm)

All my best wishes for success with this endeavour.


Emerging Writer said...

Thanks Kat. Cumberbatch, Lewis and Firth - bring 'em on!

Group 8 said...

Intriguing, Kate. Best of luck finding that publisher. Well deserved, to be sure.

Emerging Writer said...

With your endorsement, it can't be far away!

Words A Day said...

This is something I'd really like to read, esp having read your moth edition. Fingers crossed for you.

Emerging Writer said...

Thanks Words