Adele Kenny – “Next Big Thing” Interview

Before getting to the questions, I’d like to thank Michael T. Young for tagging me to be interviewed about my latest poetry collection, What Matters. Michael is tremendously gifted and is one of poetry’s brightest rising stars. I invite you to meet him online via his website: (Be sure to click on “Poems” and sample some of his extraordinary work.) You can also “spend time” with Michael at his blog:

Picture of Adele KennyAuthor: Adele Kenny

What is the working title of the book?

The title of the book is What Matters.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

After several years of writing individual poems, I noticed that there was a core theme among them, as well as a spiritual component that was completely organic—not consciously planned. I noticed, as well, that many of the poems look toward human connections to the natural world. These, along with consistent imagery and symbolisms within the poems, suggested a sense of the poems “belonging” to one another.

What genre does your book fall under?


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

This has to be the most interesting question I’ve been asked in regard to my work. I mentally auditioned Julie Christie, Shirley McLain, and Meryl Streep, but Susan  Sarandon, in the role of the “speaker,” is the right age, often has red hair like mine, and her manner and style would be a good fit for the emotional center of the collection. Of course, in the poem “Like I Said,” I’d definitely want Johnny Depp to appear as himself (imagine a big smile here).

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

What Matters is about what we all share of the human spirit’s transcendent nature—the immanent “something more.”

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

I worked on the poems, individually, for about ten years before thinking of them in terms of a collection. The process of putting the book together, editing and tweaking, took another year or so.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The book evolved from my own experience with breast cancer; however, the poems are more specifically about the conditions of survival and the ways in which we remember how to live than it is about illness. Most importantly, the book is a collection of poems that speak to the fact that we’re all survivors of one thing or another: fear, grief, failure, illness, the losses of loved ones. The individual details may be different, but we’re all survivors.

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

The book is divided into three sections. The first speaks to what we can learn from the past and how, even if only peripherally, we are who we were. The second section addresses mortality and the challenges of surviving. The third section affirms that what matters most is the peace we make with and within ourselves. In the course of a lifetime, we’re all called to survive many things. What Matters tells us that we’re not alone. These are poems for the collective heart as well as for the personal.

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

The book was published by Welcome Rain Publishers (New York, NY, and is available via


My tagged writers for next Wednesday are:

Gail Fishman Gerwin

Bob Rosenbloom