Today, I am hosting poet, Don Cellini about his "next biggest thing," a collection of bilingual poems due out soon. Here is what he had to say:
What is your working title of your book?
Candidates for Sainthood and Other Sinners / Aprendices de santo y otros pecadores. The book is in collaboration with Mexican poet Fernando de la Cruz.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I had several new poems and was looking for some way to pull them all together. I was reading Carlos Monsiváis’ work A new catechism for recalcitrant Indians when the idea for the title came to me. Once that idea was set, I used it to link the new poems that followed. Loosely linked.
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
One of the poems that has been well received at readings is a poem about Matthew Shephard. I’d ask him to play himself in that poem. St. Sebastian makes an appearance too, so there’d need to be someone who looks good with his shirt off and tied to a pillar.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
I ask readers to consider the fine line between saint and sinner.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It will be published late summer/early fall 2013 by Mayapple Press, Woodstock, NY.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The first draft probably took about two years. And that includes lots of email back and forth with my collaborator. And another year-and-a-half after it was accepted by the publisher and before it comes out in print this year.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I was inspired by the title of Martha Silano’s book of poems The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception. The idea of using a very Catholic framework provided lots of room for interpretation. As might be suspected, my book is a bit irreverent, but not blasphemous. I think religion is the inspiration behind much poetry, so there are probably many, many comparisons. Still, I hope this will be seen as an original contribution.
What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
I published two earlier works of bilingual poems in Spanish and English. Although I was pleased with the results, the more I worked as a translator, the more it seemed impossible to do justice to the poems in Spanish since that is not my first language. I sent the complete draft of the poems – in English and Spanish – to my friend Fer de la Cruz and asked him to edit out the gringo accent from the poems. He did that and more – the Spanish poems are exceptional, in some cases better than their English versions. I’m pleased to have worked in collaboration with him.
Read more about Don at his website, here.