Hello, Reader. I’m still working my way through the last of commitments I’ve made to host other writers’ “next big thing.” Without further ado:
What is your working title of your book? Vexed Questions
Where did the idea come from for the book? The title came from a talk on Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” given by Sarah Scott, a Shakespeare scholar and colleague of mine. She referred to some issue about some lines from the play that continue to be a Vexed Question. I had never heard that term before. I looked it up, and found this:
“VEXED QUESTION, vexata quaestio. A question or point of law often discussed or agitated, but not determined or settled. (Source: A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856).
Anyway, I decided that I had encountered many vexed questions in my life, and decided to include in this book many poems about those vexed questions.
I used whimsical “vexed questions” as dividers, though the questions had more than whimsical overtones: ”How Does Straw Become Gold?” “What Have I Swallowed?” “From Whose Body Did You Come?” “Who Still Gets Flowers?”
What genre does your book fall under? Poetry
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Can’t do just one sentence! Many of these poems grew out of fairy tale themes and characters. Many of the poems deal with cancer – not just the disease, but the causes: pollution, environmental disasters, our tendency to put off going to the doctor, etc. Many poems about aging, too.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Neither. It’s been published by Aldrich Press in California. It’s available on Amazon now!
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? This is my sixth book of poetry. Most of these poems were written between 2008 and 2012. I was working on another manuscript at the same time, but these poems seemed to call for a new book.
Who or what inspired you to write this book? My own ongoing interest in fairy tales inspired me, but also my teaching a Poetry and History course on twentieth century Europe at my university. Finally, my 2008 diagnosis and radiation treatment for cervical cancer impelled me to write, though it took me until 2011 to be able to write about that experience.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? I have one poem in that book called “Habit-taking” which is about my first days in the convent in 1978. Some of the other poems are at least indirectly related to my life as a Catholic sister. I was thirty when I joined my religious congregation, and I am still a member today (kind of like still being married), thirty-five years later.
Buy this book here.
Anne Higgins was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania. She is a member of the Daughters of Charity. She is a graduate of Saint Joseph College, Emmitsburg, Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, and Washington Theological Union. She lives in Emmitsburg and teaches at Mount Saint Mary’s University.