These ten questions were posed as part of a blog round robin.  See below for the other interview links.

What is the working title of your book?
Passion Maps. The title for my book came to me after reading Jeanette Winterson’s novel The Passion. Winterson’s narrative doesn’t have much in common with my poems except that I was inspired by the ways she intertwines the lives of her characters (Henri a French soldier and Villanelle -- with her allusion to Bronte’s heroine) with large historical moments such as the Napoleonic Wars. A quote from the novel is the epigram for the first section of my book.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
There were several ideas, or strands, to this collection, one is the idea of home, and its various interiorities and connections to family, another one deals with the physicalities of place and different geographies of displacement. Another theme that surfaced as I was organizing the poems was that of trauma, both in historical and personal terms.

What genre does your book fall under?
Lyric poetry with influences from non-western forms like the pantoum and ghazal; I was also interested in dramatic monologue when I wrote the concluding poem, “Balkan Voices.”

What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I think most of them would come from Pedro Almodóvar’s movies, or some combination of Almodóvar and the French surreal, even though those categories probably don’t mix. I can imagine Isabelle Hubert for example in those first poems of an alienated American voice. In the urban landscapes there’s often an immigrant, or immigrant voice, but also something of the messy, distracted confusions Almodóvar explores so gorgeously.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Passion Maps is a collection of lyrical poems that explore emotional and geographical mappings.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
This book was published by Red Hen Press (Pasadena, CA.) Kate Gale saved my first book, Wild Greens, a finalist for Red Hen’s first book award. She’s continued to be a guardian angel. A collection of personal essays Ruin, Essays in Exilic Living is forthcoming in the fall of 2014.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I don’t think there ever was a “first draft” that wasn’t always in a process of being revised into a 2nd and 3rd etc. I find it helpful to keep sending out versions of the ms., embarrassing and even humiliating as it can be. It’s a sort of ritualistic, and feels somewhat necessary since every time there’s a polite or indifferent rejection I revisit the ms. Maybe it was 2 or 3 years before I saw shape of the collection as kinds of mappings.

What other books would you compare this one to within your genre?
I’m not sure; I think my poems are more influenced by European voices, though the work of Carolyn Forché (who was one of my first teachers) has also been a big influence. The Brazilian poet, Carlos Drummond de Andrade is an influence, as is Gabriela Mistral and Anna Akhmatova but these are poets I’ve read in translation so their poems come to me mediated through English. Other influences in this collection include Eavan Boland and Kathleen Jamie and Peter Balakian, poets who deal with questions of gender, identity, family, and exile.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Much of the work I was reading as much as the occasions of the poems themselves, reading Eavan Boland’s In a Time of Violence for example, and Carolos Drummond de Andrade’s Travelling in the Family, helped me shape the arc of the collection. Also, in Greece, this was a period when people from the Balkans, and the former Soviet Union were migrating into the country.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Maybe a curiosity about intersections of culture, American and Greek primarily. These poems might speak to anyone interested in how history, or historical memory, is still embedded in one’s living when it is viscerally felt, or lived, as if is in certain cultures, like Greece today.

By Sunday, March 31, 2013, another writer will be added to the list of those interviewed. Please check back here.

Previous Interviews include
Vassiliki Katsarou   http://raggedsky.com/blog

For further reading: http://loismarieharrodblogger.blogspot.com

© 2013, Ragged Sky Press


© 2006 Adrianne Kalfopoulou, Author. All Rights Reserved