The Next Big Thing: see Q & A below
What is the working title of the book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
When I began arranging poems in my manuscript, I was surprised how many poems took a spiritual turn or used language expressing longing. There was another theme about language and communication -- trying to talk to others, trying to express oneself. Most of the poems find a setting in the natural world, using details of birds, colors, plants, and trees for imagery. To me, lyric poetry also embraces narrative and story, so one reads the poems in Sunday Morning, finding some narrative threads. There is an environmental strand in the book, a concern for our earth. Look to a poem like "Tent Caterpillars" or "After Franz Marc's The Red Deer (1912)" to strike some ominous notes.
What genre does your book fall under?
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? Actors?
Sorry, I do not see actors performing my poems. I hear voices, though, and they would read these poems not as an actor but a "regular" person reading poems aloud.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Sunday Rising, Patricia Clark’s fourth poetry collection, opens with a haunting vision of human forms risen from the underworld, figures who lean together, trying to communicate, and ending in the final section with poems that question the past, her heritage, human relationships and the meaning of loss.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
The poems were in progress for about five years. After the manuscript was accepted, there was another year of peer review and some editing involved.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I don't think of poems as being "inspired." I make a regular practice of writing: it is my way of knowing the world. If one does this over a period of time, day in and day out, a body of work results, one reflecting what one has been thinking, feeling, seeing. This is how the poems in Sunday Rising came to be.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Another theme to pique the interest of readers is poems about family, poems trying to understand people. I have a long poem called "Olentangy Elegy" which is my first multi-part poem. It explores my relationship with one of my sisters.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Neither. Poets usually do not find representation since agents want a cut of an advance fee. Without that, poets seek their own publishers. Mine is Michigan State University Press, and I have loved working with them.
Patricia Clark is Poet-in-Residence and Professor in the Department of Writing at Grand Valley State University. She is the author of four books of poetry: Sunday Rising (forthcoming in February 2013), She Walks Into the Sea, My Father on a Bicycle, and North of Wondering. Her poetry has appeared in magazines such as The Atlantic Monthly, Slate, Poetry, Mississippi Review, The Gettysburg Review, New England Review, Pennsylvania Review, North American Review, Seattle Review, and Iowa Woman. She has also co-edited an anthology of contemporary women writers called Worlds in Our Words.
A chapbook of poetry, Given the Trees, also appeared in 2009, part of a series called Voices from the American Land.
Recent work appears in Superstition Review, Temenos >, and Dunes Review, and is forthcoming in Plume, Tampa Review, and Michigan Quarterly Review.
Patricia's roots are in the Pacific Northwest, where she graduated from the University of Washington (in economics), going on to receive an MFA in English and creative writing from the University of Montana and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Houston.
The Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids, Michigan from 2005-2007, Patricia Clark was invited with two other poets to open the Library of Congress's noon reading series in Washington, D.C. in fall 2005. Some of the awards Patricia has received for her work include: a Creative Arts Grant from ArtServe Michigan, The Mississippi Review Poetry Prize, the Pablo Neruda/NIMROD award, the Gwendolyn Brooks Prize, and co-winner of the Lucille Medwick Award of the Poetry Society of America. Patricia has also been awarded residencies at the MacDowell Colony, The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Ragdale, and the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Ireland. Patricia's poems have been featured on the websites of Poetry Daily and Verse Daily.