Albion College saying nice things about me and the other Top 10 in 10 Young Alumni Award recipients, alongside the most terrible photo ever:
I have a new poem, "Stepping Inside of November," up at Juked! There's Derrida and French and cursing and whiskey sunlamps and sadness all pressed up next to each other! (this is why I don't write copy for advertising)
Please help me and my poetry friends, Ben Clark and Josh Gaines, raise money to print tour books! Also, if you pledge $10 or more you get your own tour book set, which includes poems by all 3 of us!
We are trying to raise about $550 via Kickstarter! Please help! We promise they will be pretty and awesome.
In other news our tour route is from Chicago down to Austin and back up, from May 23-June 13. If you're a curator, slam master, poetry organizer, etc and would like us to come your way, please give me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is my first time touring with other people, and I couldn't be more excited to be touring with these handsome, talented gentleman!
I have a new interview up at Fox Chase Review! I may or may not sound exceptionally weird.
I won a Young Alumni Award from my Alma Mater, Albion College! Also, I'm excited to announce that I'll be giving a reading there the day of the award ceremony, April 19th. More details forthcoming shortly on location/time.
My poem "Fabulousness" is in the new issue of Vinyl! I'm super tickled to have my poem in such an amazing issue, which includes poems from Terrance Hayes, Bob Hicok, and many other talented folks. "Fabulousness" will also appear in my forthcoming chapbook, Atomic Girl. Also, as far as online poetry magazines I'm not in charge of, Vinyl might be my favorite!
Poet and fellow Write Bloody author Jason Bayani tagged me to participate in The Next Big Thing, a self-interview series for authors who recently had a book come out or have books forthcoming soon. Jason's poetry collection Amulet is forthcoming from Write Bloody in April 2013. Basically, what happens is one writer does the self-interview and then tags a few other writers who he/she thinks is "The Next Big Thing," and the pattern continues. The questions are the same for everybody.
What is the title of the book?
My first book is titled Good Grief. I guess I should also note that I have a chapbook titled Atomic Girl coming out in August 2013.
*(the original question asked for a "working title," but I modified it because the book is already out).
Where did the idea come from for the book?
When I first moved to Chicago in 2009 as a 22-year-old, I got involved with a writing workshop called Vox Ferus After Dark (run by Marty McConnell) and felt very encouraged to work on poems exploring my own identity and the myths I lived by. Many of these poems came out of being a young woman, fresh out of college and in a big city for the first time, trying to figure out who I was and how to be okay with whatever the answer to that was. The title came from the final line in my poem "What I Mean by Ruin Is...," which I wrote during the summer of 2010. After writing that poem, I remember sitting back and thinking it was the best thing I'd ever written, and saying to myself: "Good Grief, that should be the title of my first book." The title proved to be a rather devastating self-fulfilling prophecy: two days before my manuscript was due to Write Bloody for their open manuscript contest, my uncle died unexpectedly, giving a new weight to the title and a new direction to the manuscript.
What genre does your book fall under?
Confessional, Rustbelt, coming-of-age, angsty lyric poetry?
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Well, the only really consistent character throughout the book is the "I" voice. I think Jennifer Lawrence would actually be a great choice.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Love hurts, love scars, love wounds, and marks....Oh wait, that's a shitty song from before I was born.
I think the best summary I can think of actually comes from one of my book blurbs:
"Here is the soundtrack to a young woman discovering her ability to be human, to be equal parts fucked up and beautiful"
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
That's a tough question to answer, but the best answer I can come up with is 2 years. In some ways, I'd been writing terrible versions of many of the poems in that book since I was a teenager. However, the actual poems that occur in that book were almost all written in 2010 and 2011.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Many of the poets involved in the Chicago Poetry Slam Community, Vox Ferus, and Real Talk Live (which are groups that involve quite a bit of overlap) inspired me to write this book, especially Laura Yes Yes (Steadwell), Marty McConnell, Benjamin Clark, Andi Strickland, and Roger Bonair-Agard. In Chicago, I was lucky enough to find a community where I felt very supported as a writer and inspired by the writing of my peers and mentors. I was inspired by the vulnerability of their writing...I felt as if their poems gave me permission to speak about parts of myself I had always kept hushed behind Midwestern manners.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Sex, booze, and bipolar disorder?
Also, it got really glowing reviews from PANK Magazine and Union Station Magazine.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Good Grief was published in 2012 by Write Bloody Publishing. It won an open manuscript contest (as is often the case for first books of poetry), so I guess it was neither self-published nor represented by an agency.
My next tagged poets are three fiercely brilliant women whom I greatly admire as poets and as humans:
1) Marty McConnell (Author of Wine for a Shotgun)
2) Angel Nafis (Author of Black Girl Mansion)
3) Megan Falley (Author of After the Witch Hunt)
I'm pleased to announce that my short story "After" is an Honorable Mention for Glimmer Train's Short Story Award for New Writers. It was one of my first ever fiction submissions, so having it recognized as being competent/ the good stuff in the slush is certainly encouraging.
I am excited to announce that my chapbook Atomic Girl will be coming out at Tired Hearts Press in 2013! I got a call New Year's Eve from the editors informing me that my manuscript was selected as one of the winners for their open manuscript contest.
From the get-go I was really inspired by Tired Heart's focus on the intersection of writing and mental health, on publishing poems of testimony, poems that are necessary, poems that are "soul-shaking." Their call for submissions asked for poets to submit manuscripts that we thought could change and save lives, and I'm honored that they found my little book of sad poems worthy.
It was incredibly validating to win a contest where I thought my ideals about poetry really lined up with those professed by the editors involved. I feel like the manuscript ended up where it belongs. Now, for the editing and waiting and prettifying!