Last week the awesome Russell Dillon tagged me in this book interview project, “The Next Big Thing,” where writers answer questions about their recent or forthcoming book. Today I’m happy to share these things about my first book, due out this April from Typecast Publishing.
1. What is the working title of the book?
The book of poems goes by the title Scuffletown.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
The book took its shape from a series of poems, place poems, that deal with race, violence, class, family, and region. Scuffletown is the name of an actual town in the Pennyrile Region of western Kentucky, but as far as the collection goes, Scuffletown is the equivalent of, say, Wendell Berry’s Port Royal, Kentucky or William Faulkner’s Yoknapathawpha County, Mississippi. Scuffletown is as much a psychological place as a physical, geographical location on a topo map. But, now, it’s easier to get to thanks to Typecast!
3. What genre does your book fall under?
4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Harry Dean Stanton; Parker Posey; Sissy Spacek; Sam Eliot; Billy Crudup; Benicio Del Toro. Trailer Bride could do the music.
5. What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Maurice Manning said the poems “spread like wildflowers in a dead backyard, and pretty soon the flowers reclaim and restore the whole damned place.”
6. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Three, four years. I’m not sure. But I can say that I buried the manuscript—physically dug a hole in the ground and buried the actual pages—ten times! I used to “plant” the book in my garden hoping, yes, that it would grow into a book the world could buy.
7. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The Ohio River. I grew up on the river. I used to go there to read, to walk, to sit and stare. I’ve gone there in crisis and in celebration. In some ways, it has been, as paradoxical as it seems (it is always changing, new), a constant in my life. Like Louisville or Cincinnati, Scuffletown wouldn’t exist if there was no river.
But I was encouraged and supported, first and foremost, by my good friend and poet Ross Gay.
8. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The design! There is a limited print run that’s letter pressed by the good people at The Firecracker Press.
9. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Scuffletown will be published by Typecast Publishing in April 2013.
My tagged writers for next Wednesday are:
Eric Scott Sutherland