QUESTIONS FOR ADRIANNE KALFOPOULOU'S
These ten questions were posed
as part of a blog round robin. See below for the other
What is the working title of your book?
Passion Maps. The title for my book came to me after reading
Jeanette Winterson’s novel The Passion. Winterson’s
narrative doesn’t have much in common with my poems
except that I was inspired by the ways she intertwines the
lives of her characters (Henri a French soldier and Villanelle
-- with her allusion to Bronte’s heroine) with large
historical moments such as the Napoleonic Wars. A quote from
the novel is the epigram for the first section of my book.
Where did the idea come from
for the book?
There were several ideas, or strands, to this collection,
one is the idea of home, and its various interiorities and
connections to family, another one deals with the physicalities
of place and different geographies of displacement. Another
theme that surfaced as I was organizing the poems was that
of trauma, both in historical and personal terms.
What genre does your book
Lyric poetry with influences from non-western forms like the
pantoum and ghazal; I was also interested in dramatic monologue
when I wrote the concluding poem, “Balkan Voices.”
What actors would you choose
to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I think most of them would come from Pedro Almodóvar’s
movies, or some combination of Almodóvar and the French
surreal, even though those categories probably don’t
mix. I can imagine Isabelle Hubert for example in those first
poems of an alienated American voice. In the urban landscapes
there’s often an immigrant, or immigrant voice, but
also something of the messy, distracted confusions Almodóvar
explores so gorgeously.
What is the one-sentence
synopsis of your book?
Passion Maps is a collection of lyrical poems that explore
emotional and geographical mappings.
Will your book be self-published
or represented by an agency?
This book was published by Red Hen Press (Pasadena, CA.) Kate
Gale saved my first book, Wild Greens, a finalist for Red
Hen’s first book award. She’s continued to be
a guardian angel. A collection of personal essays Ruin, Essays
in Exilic Living is forthcoming in the fall of 2014.
How long did it take you
to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I don’t think there ever was a “first draft”
that wasn’t always in a process of being revised into
a 2nd and 3rd etc. I find it helpful to keep sending out versions
of the ms., embarrassing and even humiliating as it can be.
It’s a sort of ritualistic, and feels somewhat necessary
since every time there’s a polite or indifferent rejection
I revisit the ms. Maybe it was 2 or 3 years before I saw shape
of the collection as kinds of mappings.
What other books would you
compare this one to within your genre?
I’m not sure; I think my poems are more influenced by
European voices, though the work of Carolyn Forché
(who was one of my first teachers) has also been a big influence.
The Brazilian poet, Carlos Drummond de Andrade is an influence,
as is Gabriela Mistral and Anna Akhmatova but these are poets
I’ve read in translation so their poems come to me mediated
through English. Other influences in this collection include
Eavan Boland and Kathleen Jamie and Peter Balakian, poets
who deal with questions of gender, identity, family, and exile.
Who or what inspired you
to write this book?
Much of the work I was reading as much as the occasions of
the poems themselves, reading Eavan Boland’s In a Time
of Violence for example, and Carolos Drummond de Andrade’s
Travelling in the Family, helped me shape the arc of the collection.
Also, in Greece, this was a period when people from the Balkans,
and the former Soviet Union were migrating into the country.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s
Maybe a curiosity about intersections of culture, American
and Greek primarily. These poems might speak to anyone interested
in how history, or historical memory, is still embedded in
one’s living when it is viscerally felt, or lived, as
if is in certain cultures, like Greece today.
By Sunday, March 31, 2013, another writer will be added to
the list of those interviewed. Please check back here.
Previous Interviews include
Vassiliki Katsarou http://raggedsky.com/blog
For further reading: http://loismarieharrodblogger.blogspot.com
© 2013, Ragged Sky Press