Saturday, February 16, 2013

Dana Teen Lomax's Kindergarde is The Next Big Thing

Kindergarde: Avant-garde Poems, Plays, Stories, and Songs for Children 
Dana Teen Lomax, Editor
Wayne Smith, Book Design
Cliff Hengst, Drawings and Watercolors

Thanks for inviting me Marthe Reed!
My self-interview for The Next Big Thing:

1. What is the working title of the book?

Kindergarde: Avant-garde Poems, Plays, Stories, and Songs for Children

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

I have an amazing 11-year-old daughter and while I was the Interim Director for Small Press Traffic, I had the idea to write a grant and solicit my favorite experimental writers to see what they might have to say to children. Small Press Traffic sponsored the project, the Creative Work Fund offered us a generous grant, and writers from all over the Bay Area and beyond submitted their work.

When my brother-in-law died suddenly at 46, his son said something like, There was so much he didn’t tell me about what to do, how to live. I need to know what those things are... I wish he’d just left me a list. So what do I have to tell my daughter? Why would I write anything else? What would my community, the experimental writing community, have to say to younger people about this life? What would some of my favorite innovative writers want kids to know?
Kindergarde: Avant-garde Poems, Plays, Stories, and Songs begins to answer these questions.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Children’s Literature

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

The original writers of the pieces in Kindergarde would have to play themselves. They are extraordinary creatures. The cast list would look something like this:



Anne Waldman as herself
Beverly Dahlen as herself
Cathy Park Hong as herself
Charles Bernstein as himself
Christian Bök as himself
Douglas Kearney as himself
Eileen Myles as herself
Evie Shockley as herself
Harryette Mullen as herself
Jaime Cortez as himself
Johanna Drucker as herself
Joan Retallack as herself
Juan Felipe Herrera as himself
Kevin Killian as himself
Leslie Scalapino as herself
Lyn Hejinian as herself
Robin Blaser as himself
Sarah Anne Cox as herself
Vanessa Place as herself
Wanda Coleman as herself

(and this is not even ¼ of the writers…)

5. What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

            Q:  What do avant-garde writers have to say to children?

            A:  Kindergarde: Avant-garde Poems, Plays, Stories, and Songs

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

This book has been many years in the making and has had many facets, including theater productions at California College of the Arts, the Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland, and the Bay Area Discovery Museum. Although the anthology has been years in the making, I think the finished collection is well worth the wait!

7. Who or what inspired you to make this book?

The writers in this book have inspired me with their absolute commitment to their ideas—no matter what. In their creative work over the past few decades, they have each taken the risk to put their realities honestly and unapologetically into words. My life is richer for each of these writers, and their creative work makes the world better for everyone. The idea of children learning to read and understand the world through their eyes is thrilling and profound.

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

The anthology offers a story by Jaime Cortez called Jesus Donut, a song by Rosmarie Waldrop named Apricot Madness, a play by Camille Roy entitled Throat Bird, and a poem by Rachel Zolf called done.  This anthology is sure to change children’s ideas of what can happen on the page of a book.

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

is being published by Black Radish Books in April, 2013.

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