Kristin Hatch – First Book Interview
Interview by Kallie Falandays with Kristin Hatch, the author of The Meatgirl Whatever from Fence Books
How did you come up with a title for your book?
Meatgirl was a series I was working on for a while and abandoned, but I liked the name and it seemed to fit the book. Also, the book had many titles and they all seemed like they were trying too hard. The “whatever” was a sort of an inside joke with myself at first about giving up (on the title, on self-doubt, on what is poetry anyway and why am I doing this). Maybe it’s still an inside joke with myself. But also I hope other connotations come through between the meat and sass.
How long did it take you to write your book?
Oh dear. How long? I mean. I guess it began in grad school, but I bet if I compared my thesis and this manuscript there’d be only some cross-over for better or worse. So I guess, like, eight years? It’s been a while-ish. But I write kinda slow and my work is outside of the university, so I don’t feel a huge pressure to publish aside from ego and how we all die one day so you should do the things you want to do. Which isn’t to say it didn’t feel like a small eternity of rejection since I was submitting it to contests for many of those years. But I guess I want to say that I am grateful for that time because my five-year-ago manuscript probably would embarrass me some. I mean, so will this one in five years, right? But maybe I felt like I was padding the older manuscript with poems I wasn’t sure about just because I wrote them and I guess I should put them in. And now I at least mostly, at least almost-wholly believe in all the poems in my book. Or how they work together. Or how poems in a book should (could) work together.
My favorite lines from your book are:
“in france, the lilies have teeth!”
“this type of green can happen,/this whole.”
What are your favorite lines from your book?
That is very nice of you to say. I went to France after writing the line and was sad to find the flowers were toothless. I don’t know my favorite lines or maybe I’m scared of saying them on the internet.
What did you do the moment you found out your book was going to be published?
The phone call woke me up! I got really, really, really happy! Later that day, I bought a cheesecake at the bakery with the feeling that I deserved to buy a whole bakery cheesecake. I think that was the only time I have ever purchased a whole bakery cake in a pink box. Or maybe I bought a birthday cake once, but that was for someone else. So like, the first time I ever bought a cake for me (not for me entirely – I was gonna share it…did I?). A close friend happened to be in town. We went to a work event and I practiced to saying the words “my” and “book” and “published” all together. It was a lovely day!
If you had to describe your book in one sentence, what would that sentence sound like?
I hope the book feels maybe kind of like listening to Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by the Flaming Lips, either Part 1 or Part 2.
What was the worst part of having your book published?
I’m a bit shy so the whole promotion and readings thing is hard. Or I should say, “is going to be hard” because I haven’t done anything in the PR department yet. I mean, I am doing this. Maybe I deserve another cheesecake? Sorry for the dorky jokes. I have trouble talking serious about poetry. My attraction to poetry is very private. I like the quietness and more reclusive aspects of poetry so talking about it or reading it out loud sometimes challenges that experience for me. And that sometimes you might have to stand up and read your poems out loud in front of people? Heavens. I mean, I should be thankful that people rearrange their schedules to hear poetry and my poetry (knock on wood) no less, but it seems really terrifying. But maybe it’s good for me to work my way out of that shell. And also there are so many good parts, so feel free to ignore my dumb complaint.
What is the title of the last poem you’ve written?
I’m working on a poem that isn’t yet named but maybe is called “ruin porn” or “abandoned old buildings.” And I am fiddling with something called “selfies at a funeral” based off that Tumblr thing that went around, but less mean and about grief and teenagers.
Has anything changed since your book has come out?
Maybe I can focus my anxiety on other things like work and interior decorating and general existential dread?
What are some dream journals you’d like to be published in?
Any journal that pays money, given said interior decorating anxieties. I have published in many I admire based solely on my stubbornness and shamelessness and reasoning that one day the editors might realize it might be easier to accept my poems than the administration costs of constant denial. Oh, you couldn’t fit these poems in this issue, Fancy-Lit-Journal? Here’s a bunch more (laughter like a super villain). Some favorites are Fence (woo hoo, Fence!), Bat City and Black Warrior Review. But I should subscribe to more journals. People should tell me about cool journals. Honestly, I have been terribly lazy about poetry-life of late and I need to send out some poems or something.
What was it like to have your first book of poems published?
My chapbook came out a little while ago. It was neat! As for this book, I don’t really know what it’s like yet.
Where were most of these poems written?
I guess some in Iowa, some, maybe most, in California. I write a lot of poems while watching bad television like Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars after work or on Saturdays. Which is maybe not very sophisticated. But having written a chapbook about Days of our Lives maybe the secret’s out that I like my stories.
Who are some contemporary poets that you admire or want to collaborate with?
Anne Carson, Ana Božičević, Chelsey Minnis, Matthea Harvey, Brenda Shaghnessy, Eleni Sikelianos, Mary Sybist, Ariana Reines, Catherine Wagner, DA Powell, Kiki Petrosino and other people I’m forgetting.
Are you aware that this video exist http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MG6iGQw2Ynk ?
Whoa. Did a computer make that? Did Yoshimi?
Where do you see yourself and your work in 5 years?
I’d like to keep writing poems and fiction and screenplays and television series. And I don’t know – happiness and stuff.
Kristin Hatch is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her full-length book, the meatgirl whatever, won the National Poetry Series and is forthcoming in early 2014 from Fence Books. Her chapbook through the hour glass was recently published by CutBank Books. Her poems have appeared in various journals including The Black Warrior Review, Forklift, Ohio and The Indiana Review. She lives in San Francisco.