Last week, Caroline Gill kindly nominated me to talk about my second poetry collection as part of a blog meme called The Next Big Thing. Caroline also provided the foreword for my book, and has been an expert poetry consultant since the early days of the Folding Mirror form; so thanks to Caroline for nominating me, her advice and poetry.
Caroline and John Dotson have a new poetry chapbook called The Holy Place available, and I’m pleased to say that I just received my copy. From first read it looks full of interesting and evocative poems about subjects I like; such as wondering about life and existence from nature on our planet to the vastness of space.
For The Next Big Thing I answer a set of questions below, before I nominate five other writers to take part next week. Here are the questions and answers:
What is the title of your new book?
242 Mirror Poems and Reflections.
Where did the idea for the book come from?
I’d written about 100 Folding Mirror poems, so I thought I had near enough a poetry collection. I’d self-published a comedy-fantasy book (Werewolf of Oz) on Amazon Kindle earlier in the year, so I thought I would self-publish a poetry collection too.
I also had lots of old thoughts and poems written down, so I thought I could use them as reflections for the mirror aspect of the Folding Mirror poems.
Then I thought I’d have the numbers in the title mirroring too, with two identical numbers either side of a middle one, as two halves of poetry mirror either side of a folding middle line in FM poems. The next number to the amount of poems I had that worked like that was 121, with 242 also working when the reflections were included.
So I then created another twenty or so poems, until I had 121, and mirrored them with thoughts and poems that reflected them somehow.
What genre does your book fall under?
It is a poetry collection.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I have a Folding Mirror poem that mentions Johnny Depp and Sam Riley playing a couple of my favourite characters in the Dead Man and On The Road movies; William Blake and Jack Kerouac; so that’d do.
Holly Valance has featured in a Werewolf of Oz poem, so she could be the leading lady. Debbie Harry, Brigitte Bardot and Britt Eklund suit mirrors and reflections.
California’s first wild wolf since 1924, OR7, can play the Greenygrey parts if it tires of wandering and takes advantage of its celebrity status in Hollywood.
Will your book be self published or published by an agency?
This one was self-published on Amazon Kindle and in book form on Amazon CreateSpace, after my first collection was published by Chipmunka.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
The poems cover three years, and were previewed here on fmpoetry. The poems were written and published here when they were written, so they were not in subject order.
I sorted the 121 poems into seven chapters: personal-psychological (containing thirty-four poems and thirty-four reflections), social (19-19), culture (15-15), literary (12-12), nature (30-30), travel (6-6) and space (5-5).
That took about a month, and then placing reflections with each poem took another month. So it took about two months to have a first draft.
Final editing and assembling took about another month, so about three months in all.
What other books would you compare 242 Mirror Poems and Reflections to within the genre?
I’ve read collections by Jack Kerouac and Jim Morrison in the past, and Norman Bissett’s Painting the Bridge more recently.
Whether mine is comparable is probably not for me to say.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I’ve been writing Folding Mirror poems for a few years now, so it was poets like Kerouac and Morrison originally; along with the lyrics of rock music I’d been listening to since the 1980s.
More recently, it’s been the people who have posted poetry on the fmpoetry site; as well as people who visit, read and comment. I also read a lot of great poetry on other poets’ sites, and many are inspiring.
What else about the book might pique a reader’s interest?
The Folding Mirror poems have been previewed on this site, so if readers like them then hopefully they might buy or rent the book. Especially as there are 121 extra thoughts and poems in the book that are mostly unpublished elsewhere at the present time.
The Folding Mirror is a new and unique form, and readers who have an interest in new poetry forms might be interested. Especially if they like haiku and palindrome poetry.
The poems also delve deep into the (ADHD and bipolarity?) mind of a middle-aged world-travelled PhD graduate with a love for nature; who was inspired by the 1960s/1970s counter-culture, 1980s rock music and 1990s rave and dance. So hopefully it’ll have some interest for people of the same age, or with an interest in those periods of modern cultural history.
The books have also been priced at the cheapest tariffs possible across the UK, USA and EU on Amazon. The main reason for publishing the book was to make the poems available in a structured form, at a low cost, and with extra poems and thoughts to provide more value for money.
Not denying there was some vanity though, or still some lingering hopes and ambitions for superstardom and riches in the future… without sacrificing any artistic integrity of course…
My Five Nominees for next week are:
Thanks again to Caroline for nominating me, and I look forward to reading the answers from Ruth, David, Lorraine, KJP and Tony.