The Next Big Thing

As an upcoming (read: any second now) dancing girl press author, I thought I would take Kristy’s general tag seriously and attempt my own version of this Big Thing business:

What is the working title of the book?

My chapbook is called a meadowed king.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

About a year ago, I was applying for graduate programs and ultimately decided on the University of Maine, where I’m currently finishing up my first year as a Masters Candidate with emphases in Poetics and Creative Writing. During the summer while I was still in Oregon, all the current and incoming poets of the program were invited to submit a manuscript to the Edna St. Vincent Millay Prize for Poetry. After putting together a manuscript that felt whole and realizing that it was about chapbook size, I decided to send it to Kristy at dancing girl, and was fortunate enough to have her accept it shortly after. 

What genre does your book fall under?

Poetry, with a hint of teenage girl séance meets Space Invaders.

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

Leo DiCaprio, ca. Growing Pains.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

“In the middle of a tiny spot and nearly bare there is a nice thing to say that wrist is leading.”

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

I wrote the title piece, “A meadowed king”—a longer poem consisting of 12 movements—during the process of applying to graduate school. David Lau, who was giving me advice on my writing sample, reminded me to keep writing during the tedious process of filling out applications and applying for teaching assistantships.

I recall one evening in particular where I took a break from grading sample student papers and, with David’s advice in mind, started reading my new copy of Heather Christle’s The Trees The Trees, which turned out to be one of those books that would stick with me in a really insistent way. Those poems have been ringing in my ears since then, but I remember them ringing especially loudly when I composed “A meadowed king” during the following week.

Soon after, I realized that the poems I’d been writing during previous months were in serious dialogue with this new piece, which came to feel like the destination point of my writing at the time. Then the Millay contest came along and pushed me to make sense of that stirring dialogue, and the manuscript was probably put together within the following month.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? 

I definitely recognize certain experiences that had immediate influence on the kind of poetry I began writing around this time. Some of the visiting poets who read at Emergent Forms during my time as an undergrad at SOU had significant influences on me, such as Sandra Simonds, Mark Wallace, and the above-mentioned David Lau. When Dana Ward visited and read from “The Crisis of Infinite Worlds,” I went home and wrote the opening poem, “A musical occasion for falling through.” Sawako Nakayasu’s Texture Notes inspired me in a way quite similar to how Christle’s book did. Stein is in my chapbook in more ways than might be obvious, and I spent a good chunk of time at SOU writing about Tender Buttons, defamiliarization and the sounds of her words. Traveling to Japan with my ex changed the way I navigate unexpected social interaction, which has everything to do with writing poems.

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

If you like pages (holding them, turning them, etc.) this might be for you.

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


I'd like to tag Jess Rowan, Zeke Hudson, and Aaron Pinnix.

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