Questions for Vasiliki Katsarou about Memento Tsunami
These ten questions were posed as part of a blog round robin and originally appeared on the Ragged Sky Press website. See below for the other interview links.
What is the working title of your book?
Memento Tsunami. I like that the title needs no translation. The words register in many different languages directly. “Memento” is Latinate and “tsunami” is originally Japanese and they are the same in English, Greek and French. I like to think the poems in my book are an attempt to create a bridge between two worlds, or two ways of being in the world.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
The title poem refers to the tragic Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in 2004. The poem was written soon after. But as the years went by, I came to think of the phrase “Memento Tsunami” not only in relation to an all-encompassing materialism, but also as describing a creative (and destructive) force.
What genre does your book fall under?
Lyric poetry with experimental aspects.
What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I would cast Monica Vitti of Antonioni’s L’Avventura, because she serves as a projection of interiority in that film. And she looks like Greek sculpture.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Memento Tsunami is a collection of abstract, lyrical poems that reflect a nostalgia for origins as well as a 21st-century visionary impulse to reconcile disparate worlds.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
This book was published by Ellen Foos of Ragged Sky Press in Princeton, NJ.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
A few of the poems are from the beginning of my adult writing life, when I lived in France twenty years ago. But most were written and revised in the past 5-10 years.
What other books would you compare this one to within your genre?
I think Memento Tsunami has some kinship with the early work of Fanny Howe, Anne Carson and Gustaf Sobin. These poets were very influential for me.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I’ve had many formative experiences in my literary life. The beauty and complexity of Proust and Henry James; the twisted idealism of New England Transcendentalists like Thoreau, Alcott and Emerson; and the testimony about “Greekness” from poet George Seferis, these all inspired me to write these poems.
What else about your book might pique the reader?s interest?
Having worked in the film industry in France and made short films of my own, I have many film references in my poems that might amuse a cinephile.
Two more poets have answered these same 10 questions. Check out their interviews by clicking on the links below.
Adrianne Kalfopoulou lives and teaches in Athens, Greece where she is currently on the faculty of Hellenic American University. She has taught in the Scottish Universities’ International Summer Schools Program at the University of Edinburgh, and is part of the adjunct faculty in the Creative Writing Program at New York University, and various creative writing workshops in Greece. Her most recent book is Passion Maps (Red Hen Press).
Lorraine Henrie Lins is the 2010 Bucks County (PA) Poet Laureate. Her first chapbook, I Called It Swimming, was published in 2011 by Finishing Line Press. Delaying Balance is her most recent collection.
Kyle Laws’ poems, stories, and essays have appeared in magazines for thirty years, with four nominations for a Pushcart Prize. Her books include George Sand’s Haiti (Poetry West), Storm Inside the Walls (little books press), and Going into Exile (Abbey Chapbooks), among others. She currently is editor of Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press. A full-length poetry collection titled Wildwood (Lummox Press) is forthcoming.
Michael Hathaway works as Keeper of History for Stafford County, Kansas. He founded Chiron Review literary magazine in 1982 (currently on hiatus) and has published 12 books of poetry and prose available at Amazon.com. His most recent collection is St. John Pastoral from Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press.
Lois Marie Harrod, a Geraldine R. Dodge poet and former high school teacher, teaches Creative Writing at The College of New Jersey. Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis from Cherry Grove Collections is her 13th collection.