The Next Big Thing Interview, Sandra Lim, winner of the 2013 Barnard Women Poet's Prize!
1. What is the working title of your book?
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
I felt summoned by some motivating fragments of language; also the title, The Wilderness, kept coming back to me.
3. What genre does your book fall under?
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Maybe the voice of that young girl in Terrence Malick’s “Days of Heaven.”
5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
"A cage went in search of a bird."
6. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I think a few of the poems in the manuscript were written in 2008 but then there were long, agonizing periods of silence. I threw out an entire draft of a book in 2010.
7. What other books would you compare this to within your genre?
If I may be so bold: the spirit of On Being Blue by William Gass and Reasons to Live by Amy Hempel.
8. Will your book be self-published or published by a press?
W.W. Norton will publish The Wilderness in 2014.
9. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
A friend of mine who has read the book calls it “full of rage.”
10. Please share a sample of the writing.
Each night, the same dream: I’m an odd Victorian mansion in a field of wheat. And I’m either waiting for the field to catch fire or the hearse of love to pull up to the manse. Don’t wake me up, please. In daylight, my mother talks of brideliness as a measure of time: in a kind of flower, a narrative of ascension. I intimate some sort of border is being discussed, but I can’t concentrate for the sake of all the beautiful things claiming my attentions in the tawny fields. There, a blankness without meanness, such as one finds in a naked sea with all its fundamental majesty.