The Next Big Thing

Thanks to Fred Schmalz for passing on the wildly spreading virus I mean poet self-interview series. Here’s my bit on my new book of poems, forthcoming from University of Tampa Press this spring, as well as a few irrelevant and (hopefully) pleasing digressions.

What is the working title of the book?
Dear Stranger

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I find the distance between any made thing (book, baby, cup of coffee) and the idea of it to be a beautifully mysterious thing. How we get from there to here? Looking at the map versus being on it? I just try to pay attention and make things with language in response to experience, fear, memory, reading, dreams, and awe.

What genre does your book fall under?
Poetry, but maybe I should say porn and more people will buy it?

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
There are lots of animals in the book.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
The fantastic poet and person Erin Belieu just said this for a blurb, and it made me very happy: “…in Jenny Browne’s terrific, moving, disturbing new book, Dear Stranger, she conjures a blue parakeet “loyal to the sky/inside it’s dented cage” and I know she’s talking about me. And she’s talking about you. Trapped, glorious, heart broken, beautiful, capable of impossible flights, the creatures in this book look just like us.”

That’s not one sentence is it?

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
three years, and two more years revising

Who or what inspired you to write this book?I could be wrong, but I think the root of the word inspire is to breathe. Also the music of Emmylou Harris. Also bourbon. Also rivers.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? There’s a dog named Eggroll in it, and Thomas Merton, and time spent cleaning toilets in Alaska.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?


Leave a Reply