The Next Big Thing — Miranda Field

What is your working title of your book (or story)?

Foxglove.

Where did the idea for the book come from?

It’s a collection of poetry, so each poem has its own circumstances of conception.  But I would say, as a whole, the book came from some of the superstitions and beliefs of the culture I grew up in.  And the lexicon, and dark humor, and furious, jealous, besotted rhythms of the speech my childhood was steeped in.   Some people have said they have to look up words from my first book, SWALLOW, in the dictionary.  Those words flowed into me with mother’s milk. And from growing up in a nearly-all female family (I have three sisters). And from the condition of being dislocated from my birth-place.  And insomnia, and love, and eros, and birth, and anxiety.

What genre does your book fall under?

Poetry.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Anne Bancroft as my mother.

Marlon Brando as my father.

Charlize Theron as my blonde sister.

Viggo Mortensen as— well, the ms. isn’t finished yet, I could write a poem with him in mind.

And and creatures from The World of Darkness* in many overlapping roles of “I,” and “You,” etc.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

“Lacking sun, ripen in ice”— though I didn’t write that sentence, Henri Michaux did.

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

Agents pretty much never represent poets, unless the poet is branching out into novels, so it’s up to the poet to shop her/his ms. around. I hope Foxglove will be published by a publisher at the top of my wish list— a small, independent literary press that specializes in poetry, and has fairly good distribution.

My first book was published by Houghton Mifflin, who had contractual “right of first refusal”— they refused this one.  so it won’t be them.

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

Ten years.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I think this is another question really aimed at fiction writers.  Oh, lord, it’s hard for poets to answer this.  I mean, so many influences come in, and not a few of them while one is unconscious.  I would say there’s a lingering love of the animations and imagination of Hayao Myazaki in there.  And I would love to think my book might be compared with Frida Kahlo’s just-discovered, never-before-opened-wardrobe. If I could decide what my book would bear a resemblance to, I’d choose  this,  but that’s fantasy.  And, I guess none of those are books.  Books. And within my genre, too?  (I was going to say Moominland Midwinter.)  Ok. Mother Goose.  And, actually, I’m not joking.  The old Mother Goose rhymes and chants have been a fundamental influence on my poetics.  Mother Goose’s rhythms, music:  they’re in my bone marrow.

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

It took me— did I say this?— ten years to put this thing together. And it’s on the shorter side for a poetry manuscript.  That would pique my interest!

* Bronx Zoo

Intrigued? Read more of Miranda’s work at her blog, Hen’s Egg.

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