Next Big

My friend, the novelist Stacy Carlson,  tagged me for "The Next Big Thing" -- a viral self-interview about new books that has been hopping from blog to blog. Thank you, Stacy! You can read her interview here. Also a big thanks to Stephanie Bolster, Donna de la Perrière and Keith Ekiss for taking the time to read and write blurbs for my first book.

I have not figured out how to blog, but I'd love to answer the questions in the interview:

-What is the working title of the book?


-Where did the idea come from for the book?

I've been writing the poems for many years. Some of them I wrote when I was pregnant with my first daughter Naomi (now 16) and living at a remote salmon research hatchery in Southeast Alaska: Little Port Walter, year-round humanoid population: five. My husband worked as a fish culturist there for three years. While there, I wrote the manuscript that I sent to the Stanford Creative Writing Program. Most of the poems in the collection have been through many revisions and permutations since my time at Stanford. The idea for the title poem was the image of the lone traveler (fur trapper) in the hinterlands of the Great White North.

-What genre does your book fall under?

Poetry, poetry, poetry.

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

Steve Buscemi and only Steve Buscemi. Steve Buscemi as Shorty Baldwin in Carrhardt overalls and XtraTuff boots. Steel-toed XtraTuffs boots.

-What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

A collection of poems that explores the humanoid's place in the universe, our relationships with fish and with plants, and the ways in which we are wonderful, terrible animals.

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

Many moons, grasshopper. So many, many moons.

-Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I think my undergraduate work in field biology at Colorado College has served as a long-standing source of inspiration. I think about my home town of Sitka, Alaska a lot when I write, and the fact that my second daughter Josephine died in 2002 and is buried there. She was born with extensive internal anomalies and died just before she turned one, at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital here in California. During her short life, she underwent many surgeries, two of them liver transplantations. My writing often feels like an attempt to build some order out of the day-to-day chaos in my heart and mind that is a direct result of being a trauma survivor.  

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

I love Gerard Manley Hopkins and The Mighty Boosh and the landscape and poetry of Wales, UK. I thank 50 people for friendship and inspiration on the book's dedications page, and every one of the people is someone to whom I'm deeply grateful, but I'm sure that I left out a whole lot of people, too. I once picked 2000 pounds of raspberries in Tapawera, New Zealand. I went to Friendly High School in Prince George's County, Maryland (1980 state football champions). I am the faculty advisor for the literary journal Humble Pie

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

Published by JackLeg Press in Chicago! Thanks a mil to Jen Harris.

My tagged writers for next week are my colleague Hugh Behm-Steinberg, editor of the literary journal Eleven Eleven and author of the collection The Opposite of Work, and Angela Pneuman, a great fiction writer with a novel coming out in 2014.


© Caroline Goodwin 2013