The Next Big Thing Blog Tour

I’ve been tagged to take part of The Next Big Thing Blog Tour by the wonderful poet and editor Justin Hamm!  Take a look as what he has to say about his new chapbook, which should be out any day now.

What is your working title of your book (or story)?
Barefoot by Roadkill, but I will probably  change my mind!  (Another working title is Roadkill Girls – the image of roadkill is obviously very present in my collection)
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I love narrative poetry, and am especially drawn to poetry based on memories, especially childhood memories, and how these memories influence personal identity.  Many of these poems are narratives.  In general, this book expands on some of the themes found in my chapbook, Wearing Heels in the Rust Belt, which won Main Street Rag’s 2011 Chapbook Contest and was published last year.
What genre does your book fall under?
Poetry
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
The narrator changes quite a bit and grows up, so I believe that Elle Fanning would be great in the poems that feature a young narrator (if she doesn’t grow up too fast).  Jennifer Lawrence (Think Winter’s Bone, not The Hunger Games) would be wonderful as the narrator in the poems where the speaker is older.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A young girl comes of age in a small rural Rust Belt town in Western Pennsylvania.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I don’t have a publisher yet, but I do have an editor who wants to see a full length manuscript from me!
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Wow.  I would say two years for this first draft, but I’m still revising!  A lot!  I feel there are a lot of gaps in the book, and that is why I haven’t sent my book to many publishers.
What other books would you compare this book to within your genre?
Any contemporary books that explore working-class life, so yes, I love poets Jim Daniels and Philip Levine.  With that said, I think that my book, in many ways, could be compared to work by Sandy Longhorn (because she writes about the rural life, although the rural life found in her book, Blood Almanac is very different from what I know), Julia Spicher Kasdorf (The poet’s background is very different from my background, but it seems that a lot of her poems touch on similar themes that are found in my poems), and Sandee Gertz Umbach (whose great book, The Pattern Maker’s Daughter, mirrors many themes of working-class life in Pennsylvania that are found in my book).
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Many of these poems are autobiographical.  Many are not.  So yes, I can say that my life has inspired this work, but it would be more honest to say that the people around me inspire me — family members, neighbors, my friends, and  my students. The landscape also inspires my work, and many of my poems revolve around the rural life that is all around me.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It’s definitely about the rural life, but blue-collar/working-class issues are very much present.  After all, I have women who work in factories, women who are waitresses, and women who pump gas for a living.  And obviously, since women are featured as main characters and narrators, anyone interested in gender studies may enjoy my work.
I’m supposed to tag five other poets to participate, but most of the people I know have already been tagged!  Instead, I will provide links to five poets who have interesting work coming soon…
Sara Tracey has just announced that her book Some Kind of Shelter will be published later this year.
Jeannine Hall Gailey talks about her new book, Unexplained Fevers, which should be out soon!
Mary Biddinger discusses O Holy Insurgency, her third collection, which has just arrived at her doorstep (and should be arriving at my home in the next few weeks!)
Collin Kelley talks about his newest collection, Render!  I just preordered my copy and you can too!
I know the work of all these poets, so of course, I’m always eager to see what is coming next.  However, Kelly Davio is new to me. Still, I’ve heard so many good things and I love what she has to say about her forthcoming collection, Burn This House!

4 Comments »

  1. Sara Said:

    Karen, I love the sound of “Roadkill Girls” (as a title and as a collection). Can’t wait to read it. Thanks for tagging me! 🙂

  2. kweyant Said:

    Sara, So looking forward to your book!

  3. Justin Hamm Said:

    Karen, can’t wait till your collection makes it out into the world. I have a feeling it won’t be hard to get it snapped up,either. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s some of my favorite poetry being written right now.

  4. kweyant Said:

    Thanks Justin…but there is so much work to do!


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