The Next Big Thing: Laura-Gray Street

“The Next Big Thing” is a blog hop in which authors around the world share what they’re working on by responding to ten questions. Laura-Gray Street was invited by Thorpe Moeckel. Thorpe also tagged Luke Johnson and Erin Ganaway.

Laura-Gray Street teaches at Randolph College and co-edited the just-released Ecopoetry Anthology. You can read her full bio here and a selection of her poems here, here, and here.

What is your working title of your book?

Pigment and Fume

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The book is an accumulation of years and years of living and writing and rewriting.

What genre does your book fall under?


Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

That’s an intriguing question to think about with a poetry collection. I’d have to say some creatures from the cable channel Animal Planet.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

In the spirit of ecopoetics and pop-culture mash-ups, the poems in Pigment and Fume entangle snippets from Darwin, Thoreau, Science Daily, physics and biology textbook sidebars, beech bark lichen and arbor glyphs, municipal reports on Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO), and more—aerating these bits by displacing them, sampling them like soil, and sometimes splicing the soiled samples into altogether different species.

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

I’m so pleased that Pigment and Fume will be published by Salmon Poetry. My thanks to Jessie Lendennie and Siobhán Hutson.

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

The aforementioned years and years. And years.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Many people helped me in the process of writing this book. Ira Sadoff, Debra Albery, and Larry Levis. Jim Peterson and Bunny Goodjohn. Ann Fisher-Wirth and Harriet Tarlo.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I have to thank Ira Sadoff for words to answer this question: “Bristling both with linguistic and psychic energy, weighed down by the detritus of the daily, there’s nothing personal about these very personal poems: the radiating I/eye is bathed in landscape, but the environment’s never reduced to nature as the Emersonian familiar. Everywhere dense, intelligent qualification, everywhere music and rangy diction charged with the overloaded agitation that defines our time.”

According to a friend’s seven-year-old son who loves bugs, I have “made a fact book into a real poem.” So there’s that!

Now tagging five writers to go next on The Next Big Thing:

Jim Peterson

Bunny Goodjohn

Valerie Duff

Simmons Buntin

Kelley Swain


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