Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Next Big Thing

[The following conforms to the chain-letter ominously known as The Next Big Thing.] 

1. What is the title of your new book?

The Problem of Boredom in Paradise (Selected Poems by Paul Hannigan).

2. Who is the publisher of your book?

Flim Forum Press. Originally, Pressed Wafer offered me the chance to do a selected. It was to be no more that 100 pages, which at the time seemed reasonable, since I’d yet to uncover Hannigan’s unpublished ms. The Higher Slum, or the hundreds of unpublished poems, or the unfinished novels, etc. Pressed Wafer lost interest in my participation because I was slow to produce a ms. I suggested the project to Matthew, even though Hannigan is not an obvious Flim Forum poet, and expected to be turned down. Matthew asked me if I thought Hannigan’s poetry was good and the project worth doing. I said yes. So he said yes. An act of faith I appreciate.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Poetry. Sub-genre, the rescue-volume. That is, from obscurity. Hannigan has been out of print since the late 1970s.

4. What is one sentence from your book?

"When, as occasionally happened, a tribesman burst into tears at his own joke, his peers would roar in rebuke: That is not sad; this is not funny." [from “The Bush”]

5. Where did the idea for the book come from?

From Paul Hannigan. (I write about the origin of the selected in my introduction, but, without repeating myself, I can offer a less flip answer than “Paul Hannigan.” When I started the Hannigan project, I did not imagine I would edit a selected; I just wanted to know a little more about who he was. The idea of doing a book gradually grew from that research.)

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

Not exactly applicable, however—I began typing up poems  (with the help of my wife Amy and the choreographer Nina Joly) that might end up in a book in 2007, shortly after I published an article about Hannigan in Open Letters Monthly; his widow, Caroline Banks, read the article and gave me the go-ahead (and helped fund a research trip to Georgia, where his papers reside).

7. What are your influences for this book?

When writing my introduction, I specifically thought of  Michel de Montaigne. John Cotter offered suggestions that helped me to think about the book. Otherwise, and obviously, what of Hannigan’s spirit I could pick up from his corpus, so-to-speak.

8. What else might pique the reader’s interest?

The March issue of OpenLetters Monthly, our Paul Hannigan blog, and the article I wrote for OLM back in 2007.

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