5 February 2014: Poems in the Waiting Room
The title poem of The Waiting Girl will appear in a project entitled Poems in the Waiting Room. The project publishes poetry in brochures to be distributed in the waiting rooms of healthcare facilities. Over 15,000 brochures will be distributed in hospitals and clinics. It is a true honor to be included in such a noteworthy and philanthropic endeavor. Much thanks to Jeanne Larsen for the invitation.
25 February 2013: The Next Big Thing
Erin Ganaway was invited by the poet Thorpe Moeckel (author of Odd Botany, Making a Map of the River, and Venison) to participate in the interview series, The Next Big Thing. His interview may be found here. Erin invites the poet Serena Wilcox (author of Sacred Parodies), whose interview will be posted here next week.
What is the working title of your book?
The Waiting Girl
Where did the idea come from for the book?
This answer may best be answered from the preface of my book:
“My fascination with the dichotomy of my northern and southern heritage lies at the core of this collection. My mother’s family is steeped in Appalachian Georgia, but my father’s ancestors date back to the Mayflower. We have lineage tracing their settlement on Cape Cod. My great, great uncle was a real character, a sea scavenger of sorts, and over a hundred years ago he built a house that remains in our family to this day. So my childhood summers spanned the distance between snapping beans on the front porch of my maternal grandparents’ Appalachian farmhouse to throwing marooned starfish back to sea out front of our Oceanside cottage. Each place has defined me. I love finding the nuanced similarities between the two sides—the authentic characters, the evocative landscapes, the rough-hewn roots. Northern or southern, my origins are eccentric and robust.
However, in this collection I also wanted to explore the psychological effects of mania and melancholia through these untamable and opposing northern and southern landscapes. Mania conjures for me images of bare legs in muggy heat, blonde light, and cracked red earth. And the sea is a universal metaphor for melancholia. This is truthfully somewhat of a paradoxical metaphor for me, since I draw most of my vitality and inspiration from the ocean. But for the sake of structure, this is how the metaphors claimed their ground.”
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Call me partial, but I would be hard-pressed to come up with actors as eccentric, robust, and genuine as those characters found in my lineage. That said, I could see Johnny Depp as my above-mentioned great, great uncle, Good Walter Eldredge. It would certainly take somebody willing to be grizzled and briny.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
The Waiting Girl explores the exterior and interior landscapes as they apply to identity, specifically celebrating the Appalachian South and Cape Cod.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The Waiting Girl will be published by Texas Review Press. I cannot begin to express enough gratitude to Paul Ruffin, editor of Texas Review Press, for his generosity and good-heartedness.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Though several of the poems were written as early as six years ago, the bulk of the manuscript was written in a recent two-year period.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Though I first set out to explore my northern and southern heritage, on a closer reading of the combined whole of the poems, I found a pervasive sense of longing. The title of my book was drawn from a passage in Kierkegaard’s Works of Love. In this passage, Kierkegaard writes of a girl wasting away over a lost love, but also, more universally speaking, he writes that “. . .here the poet says, and felicitously, that time comes and time goes, because he wants to describe one who is waiting, and for such a person it does not only go or only come—it comes and goes.” The waiting girl to me encapsulates that ineffable place of suspension, whether it is unrequited love, childhood nostalgia, or the kaleidoscopic shifting of psychological states.