Michael T. Young – “Next Big Thing” Interview

Author: Michel T. Young

Deepest thanks to poet Bertha Rogers for tagging me to participate in “The Next Big Thing” interview series.  Bertha’s most recent collection is Heart Turned Back.  Here is Bertha Roger’s website: http://www.bertharogers.com/.  And here is Bright Hill Press which she founded: http://www.brighthillpress.org/brighthillpresshome.htmlThank you again.  It’s a wonderful project and I’m glad to be a part of it.

Picture of Michel T. YoungWhat is the working title of the book?

Living in the Counterpoint

Where did the idea come from for the book?
From the various threads that seemed to connect the poems, in this instance, that we need to violate expectation, even our own expectation, to truly live.  In many ways, an epigraph to the collection could be Unamuno’s comment that “To fall into a habit is to begin to cease to be.”

What genre does your book fall under?

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Ed Norton for those pieces of intense transformation or of resistance to it and Cate Blanchett for those pieces that reach with a musical ambiguity toward home.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Discovering who we are by facing what we are not, much the way candies are made better-tasting by adding a little salt.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Well, the poems range from six years old to fourteen years old.  And this book, a chapbook, is an appetizer to a full-length collection that fully fleshes out the themes and is still looking for a publisher.  This chapbook was made while I worked on that larger manuscript and I’d say this culling of that work took only a few weeks.  That mostly consisted of trying to find the essence of the developments in the larger manuscript.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Everything from a night gathering in the trees of New Orleans to the difference between the way I and my wife respond to crickets.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
“Counterpoint” is a musical term which has to do with creating texture by combining different melodic lines.  In this same way it can be used generally to mean a clarification by contrast.  As I gathered the poems and looked at them, I noticed that in image or theme the poems counterpointed each other.  For instance, the poem “Slug” ends with going to sleep and the poem “But Instead” that follows it opens with someone waking.  But more deeply, the poems counterpoint, or clarify each other through thematic contrasts.  The title poem, “Counterpoint,” shows how we more fully realize who we are in a context that is contrary to us, that is, that counterpoints us.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It was published by Finishing Line Press.

My tagged writers for next Wednesday are:

Adele Kenny

Dean Kostos

Richard Levine