The Next Big Thing - by Cindi Boiter

I feel a little guilty using What Jasper Said to post my answers to The Next Big Thing, the hot new meme going around our community in which writers tag one another and ask that they write about their newest projects. But given that my newest project was published by Muddy Ford Press and that MFP underwrites Jasper Magazine, there's a sweet symbiosis to it that I cannot deny. Here's how it works -- after having been tagged (my thanks to Cassie Premo Steele for tagging me), the newly tagged author is required to self-interview, answering 10 pre-determined questions. After having answered these questions, she tags another five writers to do the same.

Here goes.

What is the working title of your book?

The Limelight -- A Compendium of Contemporary Columbia Artists, volume 1

What is the genre of your book?

Essay collection

Where did the idea come from?

Columbia, SC is a city that is reeling with a multitude of artists from different genres, particularly the literary arts. We have an inordinate number of professional writers here, yet we don't really have a sense of ourselves as a writing community -- though we are. I'd love to play some part in helping us to form a more unified community of writers. I want Columbia to be known as a "writers' town." To that end, I invited 18 local writers to contribute first person narrative essays about another local artist -- writer, visual artist, musician, dancer, theatre artist, whatever -- who had influenced them in some way.  I had the pleasure of editing the essays.

Clearly, one volume is not enough to represent the artists and authors we have here, so I decided to serialize the compendium with the plan of publishing it on an annual basis.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Columbia, SC essayists sing the praises of Columbia, SC artists.

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

I issued the call for essays in the summer of 2012 with an autumn deadline. We went to press in February 2013.

Who or what inspired you to write it?

The community of Columbia artists.

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

My book was published by Muddy Ford Press.

What other books would you compare this book to within your genre?

I don't really know of any other books with the same model.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Well, there are 36 "characters" if we include both the contributors and the subjects of their essays.

The essay I wrote was about the artist Blue Sky, so, naturally Clint Eastwood would play Blue. For me? Lisa Kudrow or Terri Garr.

Ed Madden would be played by Jon Cryer and James Dickey by Jon Voight.

Jeffrey Day? Woody Allen, of course. James Busby would be played by Channing Tatum (that's right, I said it.)

I'd like to cast Christopher Walken to play someone, but I'm not sure who ... a much older Chad Henderson, maybe? Just for kicks?

Patrick Wilson would play Kyle Petersen with Sheryl Crow playing Danielle Howle (though I like Danielle's voice far better).

Billy Murray would play the part of Stephen Chesley and the part of Susan Lenz would be played by Julia Louis Dreyfus.

Vicky Saye Henderson would play herself.

What else about your manuscript might pique the reader's interest?

Some of the first lines are spectacular. For example, poet Ray McManus opens his essay about Terrance Hayes with this, "When you're a boy growing up in rural South Carolina, and you want to be a poet, you should first learn to fight."

And ballet dancer Bonnie Boiter-Jolley's first line about her mentor Stacey Calvert is brutally honest when she says, "When I first met Stacey Calvert over a decade ago, she explained to me how being a dancer is a very selfish thing."

And there are 16 more.

~~

That's the end of the interview and I have to admit that it was fun. In an effort to share the fun and keep this meme going I'm tagging Aida Rogers, Don McCallister, Debbie Daniel, Kristine Hartvigsen, and Susan Levi Wallach. And I'm inviting them all to post their answers to me so I can share them with our readers. I think there's something about Wednesdays and deadlines also as I was tagged on a Wednesday and told to blog on the next Wednesday. So, by next Wednesday, I hope to have even more Next Big Things to share.

Thanks for reading,

Cindi

 

 

 

One Book, One Poem finalists II: Rieppe Moore

Yesterday we published poems by Lauren Allen and Dianne Turgeon Richardson, finalists in the One Book, One Poem contest, which Jasper sponsored in conjunction with the second annual One Book, One Columbia program.  

As we noted yesterday, we invited poets from the greater Columbia area to submit poems inspired by Ron Rash’s novel Saints at the River, and Rash himself judged the contest.  The winning poems, by Will Garland and Debra Daniel, will be published in the new issue of Jasper, to be released Thursday, Nov. 15.

 

But we’re publishing the finalists in advance right here on the Jasper blog!

 

Again, congratulations to Lauren Allen, Rieppe Moore, and Dianne Turgeon Richardson, who were all finalists in the contest.

 

Rieppe Moore actually had two poems among the finalists, “Three Things One Moment Before Summer” and “Waters Remember (Keowee No. 1).”  Moore is a southern poet who lives in Columbia, South Carolina with his wife, Cherith. He graduated from Columbia International University with a BA in Humanities. He is the author of Windows Behind the Veil and Letters to Ethiopia.  While in his first year teaching high school English, he began writing his third chapbook to be published in 2013.  He and his wife are the proud owners of a locally renowned Pogs collection.

 

Of his poems, Moore says, “Since reading Saints at the River, I've found Rash's concept of the ‘thing past’ haunting my lines.  In Rash's fiction the past overflows with ghosts—failures, disappointments, urgings, and trials that his characters experience.  During a recent photo shoot, I revisited a vacant farm in Blythewood , but when I arrived the farm had been harvested—only a few embarrassing wall frames and roofs remained.  When I raised my SLR to shoot the rural wreckage I couldn't even remember what I had initially seen there.  I had lost the vision and the mind's eye; I couldn't find the right angles; I strove to position myself.”

 

Below are Moore’s poems.

 

* * *

 

Three Things One Moment Before Summer

 

The dogwoods are just gathering

clusters of innocence in their fists

 

as evidence that they got a

dull name. Redbud, jessamine

 

also answer to the viscid moisture

in air that is a stagnant spirit

 

summoning a god whose only

power is making beauty by calling

 

buds to open with the subtlety of

an alligator’s eyes that don’t surprise

 

as much as marvel vision at the door

 

of the coming season, when trees

will throw their petals to

 

the ground like constellations

loosed from gravity.

 

These spent garlands will mingle

with indiscriminate trashes

 

of brown paper bags and plastic

glasses (surviving the streets)

 

a throng of wastes, wasted of

similarities like many family generations

 

in a room all at once with dissonant

voices or like a stream always

 

speaking of every section of itself.

 

 

* * *

 

Waters Remember

(Keowee No. 1)

 

 

Pearling clouds swoon

over lambent, lapidary

 

waters for a moment.

 

August thunderstorms

on Keowee don’t soothe

 

the lake’s eager thirst

 

but pass along with a chill

of frisson.

 

Don’t count

raindrops that wrinkle

 

shuddersinged giggles

from the Spring. Here

 

breeze speaks of that

inundated town since,

 

absconded from trees –

black graveyard fields.

 

Here trout drink want

 

for waste of currents in

mass waters remember.

 

 

* * *

Congratulations again to our finalists—Lauren Allen, Rieppe Moore, and Dianne Turgeon Richardson.  And congratulations, as well, to our winners: Debbie Daniel and Will Garland.  Be sure to pick up the new Jasper (released on Nov. 15) to read the winning poems!

 

 

One Book, One Poem Finalists: Lauren Allen and Dianne Turgeon Richardson

Last spring, Jasper sponsored the One Book, One Poem contest in conjunction with the second annual One Book, One Columbia program, sponsored by Richland County Public Library, which featured Ron Rash’s Saints at the River. We invited poets from the greater Columbia area to submit poems inspired by Rash’s novel, and Rash himself agreed to judge the contest. A poet as well as a novelist, Rash said he had a hard time picking the winner, and in the end, he decided it was a tie. The winning poems, by Will Garland and Debra Daniel, will be published in the new issue of Jasper, to be released Thursday, Nov. 15.

But before then, we’re publishing the finalists here on the Jasper blog!

Congratulations to Lauren Allen, Rieppe Moore, and Dianne Turgeon Richardson, who were all finalists in the contest. Their fine poems were among those that made Rash’s judging so difficult. Today we publish Allen and Richardson’s work, tomorrow Moore’s.

* * *

Dianne Turgeon Richardson is from Columbia, SC, and holds degrees from both the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina. She currently lives with her husband and two mutts in Orlando, FL, where she is pursuing an MFA from the University of Central Florida and is the managing editor of The Florida Review.

Of her poem, “Elegy,” Richardson said, “It's hard to think on Saints At the River without giving some consideration to death by drowning. I have often heard people say that drowning would be one of the worst ways to die, but is it? I was writing a lot about landscape at the time I wrote this poem, and I felt that if I must ‘return to the dust’ as they say, the South Carolina Blue Ridge would be one of the most beautiful places to do so. I wanted to present death, even sudden death, as peaceful instead of fearful.”

Elegy

This is how you’ll end: water to water, womb to womb, whippoorwill for a dirge, pine trees for pallbearers. You go – wrapped in river satin – go and cross over. Every molecule of wayfaring water vibrates with your memory, your name echoes down the escarpment, the weathered arms of Appalachia cradle you in sleep, whisper lullabies as old as Earth. This is a good way to go.

* * *

Lauren Allen is a professional horse trainer in Camden, South Carolina and is earning her MFA degree in Creative Nonfiction at the University of South Carolina. She says, “I was interested in the undercurrents in Rash's Saints at the River. The ideas about wilderness, stewardship and ownership resonated with me, and as someone who moved across the country to Los Angeles and then eventually returned to my rural roots, I recognized the conflict between love of a place and the need to escape.”

Here’s Lauren’s poem, “corduroy road.”

corduroy road clay the colors of sunset only a witness tree witnesses me trespassing

who owns this land I know the secrets of these woods the hiding places the crumbled cornerstones of foundations

traces of the old road eye-closing scent of crabapple the rise and fall deer trails where ruts disgorge

sandstone eggs hatch Indian paint try to ignore the yipping coyote came from somewhere else

traps are everywhere I used to think I too would chew my leg off to escape

* * *

Check back tomorrow for poems by Rieppe Moore, who had two poems among the finalists. And be sure to pick up the new Jasper (released on Nov. 15) to read the winning poems.