So a few weeks ago, my poet friend and co-press mate Nancy Flynn tagged me in The Next Big Thing, which she aptly described as “six degrees of separation meet a literary chain letter.” The idea is that you answer some interview questions and post them to your blog and tag some friends of yours who will do the same the following week. Below are my answers to the questions about my recent book of poems “Departures.”


What is the title of the book?

The title is “Departures.”

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Initially, the idea was to just put together a manuscript of poems and submit it to a few presses and see if anyone would bite, so to speak. I had a bunch of poems written, some of which had been published in a variety of places, and so I figured I had enough material to put together a small book.

What genre does your book fall under?

It’s a book of poems. Most people would say they are very short poems, no epics here.

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

I like the fact that this question doesn’t really pertain to my book, since it’s not a novel or short story with characters but a book of individual poems. Although, I suppose one could take the voice of a particular poem and imagine or bring a character into being based on that voice. Anybody out there interested in making a poetry video?

Oh. What actors? I have no idea. But I suppose if an actor had to play me, I might say James Franco, who played a wonderful Allen Ginsberg in the movie “Howl.” Then again, I’ve been told I resemble Ray Romano, so there might be a role for him as well.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

This is where I’ve been, and now I must be leaving, heading onward, ever onward.

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

The individual poems were written over roughly a four-year period. I didn’t set out to create a single manuscript with a single theme in mind, but rather looked at what I had and selected what I thought was my best material.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

After several years of writing poems and having some of them published, I felt my writing undergoing a gradual change in direction in terms of my own developing voice as well as themes that I was beginning to explore. So I gathered up what I had and looked at the result. And that’s actually where the title for the book came from. I could see a sort of departure on several different levels; a thematic departure that was probably connected to certain changes in my personal life as well. Also, as a writer, I felt that I’d arrived at a place where I didn’t have much left to say in the way that I was used to saying things, if that makes any sense at all. Hence, the last poem in the book, “Early Departure,” hints at themes that began to occupy my imagination more and more, such as the looming presence of history, both collective and personal family history, and our sense of individual identity, themes that are more urgent and pressing to me at this time in my life.

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

Well, the devil and a vulture make brief appearances, and there are a few poems dedicated to some dear literary friends who have had a big impact on my life.

Is your book self-published or represented by an agency?

It was published by Burning River Press, a small press based in Cleveland, OH run by Chris Bowen.

My tagged writers for next Wednesday, February 13th are:

Bree (poet, author and small press publisher extraordinaire)

Sarah Marcus (Sarah has a forthcoming book, “Backcountry” from Finishing Line Press)

John Dorsey (legendary underground poet and screenwriter, John has a new book, “Tombstone Factory,” forthcoming from Epic Rites Press)

Mike DeCapite (author of the underground Cleveland classic “Through the Windshield” and more recently “Creamsicle Blue” and “Radiant Fog” from Sparkle Street Books)