The Next Big Thing

So I got tagged in this literary chain letter of sorts, The Next Big Thing. I’ve been having lots of fun reading a host of these self-interviews over the last few months, and now I’m offering my own to the internetty world. Here goes!

What is/was the working title of the book?

Kill Your Darlings, Clementine.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

This is a rare (singular, in fact) project where the title came first for me. I was coming out of an MFA program, where the mandate to “kill your darlings” was a prevailing workshop theme. The sad father-daughter-suitor triangle in the old folk ballad, “Oh My Darling, Clementine,” was also somehow on my mind, and the two ideas merged. Once I got into the drafting, the poems quickly rooted themselves in a strange, unhappy place where the desperation of the male residents rose to the surface.


I was tired of writing about the loneliness of women. I wanted to inhabit the loneliness of men, for a change.

What genre does your book fall under?

It’s a poetry chapbook.

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

Oh man. This one must be easier for the novelists. I would love to see Philip Seymour Hoffman or Ed Norton take on the male lead. They do troubled menfolk well.


Edward Norton

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Through troubled images of location, dislocation, and loneliness, the landscape evoked in this chap feels both strangely similar and coldly distant from our own.

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

Not long, actually. After spending 2 years agonizing over my first full-length collection, this chap came together in about three months.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I definitely had Ben Marcus’s The Flame Alphabet on the brain.


Also, a recent visit to Iowa and how amazingly flattened I felt in that landscape.


Also, I had the gift of a summer off between the end of grad school and the return to the real world, and that gave me the time to focus.

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

A few of the poems have been published in journals recently, and since the only thing that makes me really excited about a poet’s work is actually reading it, if you’ve come this far (thank you), mayhaps you’d like to check these out:

Better: Culture & Lit (with audio! and video!)



Bone Bouquet (in print)

Thanks to the editors for taking an early interest in these poems! More forthcoming soon in Sixth Finch and Forklift, Ohio.

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

Ah, definitely not repp’ed by an agency! Clearly, this question was designed with the fictionistas among us in mind. Hopefully, it will join the small press community in the near future, and it’s currently doing the contest and open reading circuit.

Update 4.28.2013: I’m happy to announce that Kill Your Darlings Clementine will be published by Rye House Press in 2013!

Who are the NEXT Next Big Things?

First, a big thanks to Sarah Suzor for tagging me in this lovely chain letter we have going.

I’m tagging Gina Gail Keicher, Devon Moore, and Chanelle Benz, who are next HUGE things and should do this thing post haste.