The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing is an interview chain in which a writer with a new or forthcoming book tags five other writers with new or forthcoming books to answer a set of questions. Who started this chain? Sue Landers tagged me.

What is the working title of the book?

Muriel’s House

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Muriel’s House evolved into the collection it is, rather than having been an idea before the fact of the poems. The first poem in the book, “the origin myth of Muriel,” was written in 2005 following a session with a neuro-linguistic programmer which is one of my favorite experiences to date.

The name Muriel was given to these poems in 2006 or 2007, following conversations with Jen Benka. And, yes, Muriel is named for Rukeyser.

From 2010–2012, Jen and I lived on Church Street near 22nd Street in San Francisco where into the sidewalk someone had carved MURIEL’S HOUSE. On the morning of our last day living there (in June 2012), Jen took my author photo for the book on this patch of the street before we dashed off to work and I decided to change its title from The Origin Myth of Muriel to Muriel’s House. Carol Mirakove author photo

photo by Jen Benka

What genre does your book fall under?


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

I would choose actors who would be nice to everyone else working on the movie. Also, they should be uncomfortable with narrative.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

everything around us is readily active
all of our heroes are alive & in love

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

The first series of origin-myth poems took three hours. The last draft evolved over seven years.

My other books were written in 5 to 12 weeks, start to finish. Fast is my comfort zone. The process of making this book required more patience and re-imagining than I care to repeat.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

There was no one thing or person. If I had to pin a single inspiration it would be, per usual, my co-habitants: in this case, the people of New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area.

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

Some of the poems within were first published in Jim Behrle’s Twitterary magazine, Baby Trotsky. One of the poems within grew out of a collaboration with the Nonsite Collective in a year-long engagement with San Francisco’s Proposition L, also known as Sit/Lie, an ordinance passed in 2010 that prohibits sitting or lying on San Francisco’s public sidewalks between 7am and 11pm.

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

Least Weasel is publishing the book. Editor and book artist Karen Randall hand sews Least Weasel chapbooks, and she designs and prints letterpress covers.

Muriel's House artwork by Karen Randall

art by Karen Randall

I am a big fan of Least Weasel. I was invited to submit a manuscript when I ordered the books in Series Two.

My tagged writers for next Wednesday are:

Cara Benson

Kristin Prevallet

Authors of recently published books I love who weren’t able to participate:

Yedda Morrison

Kim Rosenfield

Ali Liebegott