“The Next Big Thing” Interview

“The Next Big Thing” is a self-interview series with authors about their recent or forthcoming books–Emily Toder appeared in Issue 2 of iO: A Journal of New American Poetry, and was tagged for the project last week by Wendy Xu. We are happy to be hosting Emily’s interview here today.

What is the working title of the book?


Where did the idea come from for the book?

Well, at first there was no one idea. There were lots of different ideas and some ideas just went together or found things in common. It took a while to understand this as – let alone deriving from – a unified idea. Retrospectively I identify the idea as a sort of praise/fruitless defiance of the conceits of the scientific method, and the heavy but often silent role it plays within experience and expression. Whenever I try two new things at once I get very frustrated with myself because I realize I have not conducted a controlled experiment, and I will not be able to conclude anything. Other times I conclude something but worry I am only trying to deliver a certain preformulated hypothesis I happen to like. I think sometimes the method has seeped deeply into me. I think the way it has seeped into life is the idea for the book.

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 love to watch this book protagonized by Jimmy Stewart. Someone said that Tom Hanks is the Jimmy Stewart of our day, but I don’t think that’s true.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

“Every time you see something you go up to it” – as summed up by my 4 yr old cousin.

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

The first draft, which did not know it was a draft at the time (see above), got written here and there over the course of the time I was studying poetry at UMass Amherst (three years).

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

For a while writing this I listened a lot to a recording of Merwin’s “The Last One,” and if it was in the car, I almost never got anywhere on time or correctly. Russell Edson, Julie Hecht, and Thomas Bernhard helped me with sentences and with the world… but it was mostly my teachers and friends I made at UMass that made this so exciting to make.

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

It has been read to children, and at least one infant, and the children liked it.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Science was published by Coconut Books in November 2012, and is forthcoming as an audiobook!

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