The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing is a blog-tag of writers answering a series of questions about their next book/writing project. The fantastic Adriana Paramo, who introduced me to this blog-tag, recently wrote Looking for Esperanza, which won the 2011 Social Justice and Equity Award in Creative Nonfiction. Last year, I solicited her to write for HER KIND (check out her witty "Magic Mike’s Pelvis Made Me Think of Literary Events"). Gracias, dear Adriana, for asking me to continue the tagging with own forthcoming book of poem, SOLECISM, due out March 2013.

What is the title of your book? SOLECISM--  which is, to say, a meditation in and concerning nonstandard or ungrammatical usage; many a breach of good manners or etiquette; errors, improprieties or inconsistencies.  

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? An exodus, cross-pollination and exorcism of borders I have crossed, ranging trom that between Mexico and the U.S. to East and West Jerusalem.

What genre does your book fall under? Poetry.

Where did the idea come from for the book? I am guilty of all the meanings of the word solecism, so I decided to explore that, rather correct it. The why and how and when I  error, fumble, miscommunicate. Each has its own world, opens new realms, challenges what people assume to be fixed and static-- traditions, borders, spacial identities, even histories. Ruins on the border of Mexico and Guatemala, for instance, are quite fertile.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? I've been working on the manuscript itself for about 2 years, though some poems were drafted as far back as my freshman year of college. 

Who or what inspired you to write this book? My family. The stories they've carried down with them, the ones we've lived/are living together. The Torah. The intelligence and behavior of birds, especially crows and sparrows, their tenacity to survive. The sense of humor and curiosity of parrots. Corridos, narcorridos, Posada's broadsides with the calveras. The melancholy of Jerusalem. Migrations. 

Who will publish your book? Virtual Artists' Collective 

What other works would you compare this book to within your genre? The poet Marian Haddad, whose work I treasure, said the manuscript reminded her of Harryette Mullen. I'm not quite sure to whom to compare, but I can name the poets I've read throughout its completion: Guillaume ApollinaireArisa White, Nazim Hikmet, Metta Sama, Mahmoud Darwish, Yehuda Amichai, Tara Betts, Lee Herrick, the Israeli poet Rahel, Lorca, Coral Bracho, Amy King. All these poets have influenced my writing. The sprawling prose of Orhan Pamuk and Yaakov Shabtai too. 

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? Since it's poetry, I'd love it if Salma Hayek or Javier Bardem read them aloud. They both have such great voices.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? The cover is a painting by my uncle Rogelio Cisneros. It’s a tribute to a wolf he found and raised himself; he never truly defeated the wildness in her, and that's something I've always admired, the ability to not tame but adapt to the various shades of her wildness. My uncle is married to my mother's sister Olivia, and they live in San Diego; one can see from their house the flickering lights of Tijuana. The neighbors were always on the verge of figuring out she was a wolf. After years of working on border patrol, my uncle retired and had decided to dedicate his time to painting. Then, my Aunt Olivia-- the life of the party, so to say-- became very ill and my uncle has had to take care of her full time. I am in awe of that love.   

Thanks again to Adriana for putting me on the tag line.  And here are my tags for next Wednesday:

Ren Powell, author of Mercy Island: New and Selected Poems

Jade Sylvan, author of Kissing Oscar Wilde

Arisa White, author of A Penny Saved

Lee Herrick, author of Gardening Secrets of the Dead

Stephen Delbos, author of Chetty's Lullaby

Ching-In Chen, author of The Heart's Traffic