What is the working title of the book?
(em)bodied bliss. The title came from a Dusie chapbook of the same name, which forms one part of the new book, so no there was no working title.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Laura Mullen had been reading some work of mine, including the Dusie chap and pointed out the conversation the two sets of poems were having. As to the sources of the two parts or impulses of the collection, these were driven first by the ordinary pleasure of being in this world and the cold drench of the unacknowledged human terrors belying them.
What genre does your book fall under?
Poetry, though the forms of the poems themselves are diverse: double poems, prose poems, lineated poems, collage poems, dialogic poems. The poems from the Dusie chap draw on the released documents (and their erasures) from the investigations into torture by the U.S. government during the Iraq War – “Enduring Freedom” – as well as other related texts.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Anthony Hopkins as Walter Diaz, the Marquis de Sade, and John Yoo; Makram J. Koury, the Israeli Arab actor, as Abu Zabaydah. The speaker of the poems otherwise might alternate dialogically between Cate Blanchett and Hiam Abbas, the Palestinian actress and director.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Engagements with the torture of recent national policy against the quotidian pleasures of being, the poems navigate a territory whose boundaries become permeable, unfixed, go missing – horror/beauty, fear/delight, punishment/eros – probing the nature of complicity and the (mis)uses of language.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Perhaps a year and half or two, the two vectors of the project taken in sequence.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
A sense of place, of the human relationship to place, those we “inhabit,” as well as those we travel to/through inevitably, and a desire to forge modes of connection and understanding to places – their ecologies, histories, narratives. That is one half. The torture poems came directly in response to the horror the revelation of sanctioned torture policies evoked and the untenable yet unavoidable knowledge of my silent complicity in them. The impossibility of silence.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Mina Loy as the Shekina/Lilith/the Shulamite.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
(em)bodied bliss is published by Moria Books. The book and e-book can be found here. Huge gratitude to Bill Allegrezza.
Thank you to Susana Gardner for tagging me. My tags go out to Dana Teen Lomax, Jill Stengel, Camille Martin, Jen Dick, C.S. Carrier, and Laura Goldstein.