What are you working on?
Earnest can be read literally as Eleanor’s lover, but he is best understood as another side of the poet’s self. Moreover, in Earnest, Earnest?, I made up half the manuscript—I did not invent images, all the images are things I have seen, but I did invent narratives to fit the images. So, for my next project, I’ve decided I will not make anything up—images, narrative, dialogue—it will all be true (at least to the best of my recollection), thus Earnest can never appear, because Earnest is not a real person, but a personification of parts of myself.
In short, I’m writing non-fiction with line-breaks. The result is more narrative and also more lyrical than Earnest, Earnest? That is intentional, as I am trying to change my poetic style as much as possible, to show range. An analogy I find helpful—sculptors have two methods, either carve small pieces individually and mold them together, or start with a large block and carve the negative space around the figure. Earnest, Earnest? is the former, but for my new project, I begin with large prose-blocks and I carve the negative space (the line-breaks and stanza-breaks) into those blocks to make poetry. This new project is very much still developing, but I am excited to keep working on it and see what that work reveals.
I’m also working on a murder mystery that is very much not true. I published this mystery as prose fiction years ago, but I’ve always felt it was, in fact, a book-length poem, so I’m calling it a “lyric mystery” and I’m trying to find the ideal form.