Poet Michael Leong “tagged” me, not by spray-painting me or by assigning me a folksonomical string, but by sending me the following template of interview questions. This process is part of the project “The Next Big Thing,” in which people answer robotic, monomaniacal questions about recent or forthcoming books. I was supposed to post this on Wednesday, apparently, so it’s a good thing that I can set the date arbitrarily on my blog posts.
What is the working title of the book?
All the Way for the Win.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Decades of intense poetic engagement with the English language.
What genre does your book fall under?
In terms of literary tradition, it’s an example of the sort of constrained writing that was pioneered by the Oulipo; in terms of the retail channel, it will end up in the poetry section if anywhere.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Mos Def, Zhu Zhu, Rex Lee, Won Bin, and (although I don’t think he’s a member of the SAG) Tan Lin.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
A book written using only three-letter words.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I haven’t written anything close to a complete draft. I’ve only been working on the project seriously for about four years.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
All the Way for the Win is 0% inspiration.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The English langauge bursts with words brought to us by commerce and colonialism, is scarred by decades of wars and invasions, and both traces and propels our thinking as a culture. It is an urgent and important project to find principled, unusual subsets of this language and to make new works out of these, revealing qualities of our language through poetic practice. Readers of this book may also considerably improve their Scrabble play.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?