|Cindy Veach reads at 7:00 pm at Elliott Bay Book Company, this Friday|
I caught up with Cindy Veach and had the chance to ask her a few questions about her debut collection, Gloved Against Blood. If you want to learn about her work before the reading tomorrow night, here are her words on writing, research, and family secrets. See you tomorrow!
SR: Can you tell us about the different kinds of research you did for this book? Was it all book research or did you visit the Lowell Mills and other places you conjure so beautifully?
CV: I began my research with books and online sites. I waited several months to actually visit the Lowell National Park where the Lowell Mills are located. I wanted to have a solid base of information before engaging in that experience. Book research continued along with a second visit to the mills. The two books that were most informative for me were, The Belles of New England, by William Moran and The Lowell Offering: Writings by Mill Women 1840-1945 edited by Benita Eisler.
SR This book is full of family secrets --- from the workers in the mills up to more present day. How did you negotiate this within yourself?
CV: Great question! This did take some self-negotiation and it took time. Some poems, ultimately, were left out of the manuscript and I have no regrets about those decisions. I believe that those that survived serve a purpose – to preserve something of the details of lives so they are not completely lost.
SR. Now that GLOVED AGAINST BLOOD is out in the world, has it changed how you see the work or how you see yourself as a poet?
CV: When I was deeply working on the manuscript it was difficult to see the whole. Now, that it is done and in the world, I see it from a different vantage point. One where I can see more of the inner connectedness of the poems and the progression. At the same time, I feel more distanced from it. And by that I mean it feels complete/done and I can move on.
SR. I know this is an unfair question but if you had to choose a favorite poem from the book which would it be? Another way to look at this is --- which is your favorite poem of the moment and why?
C: My personal favorite is French Seams. This poem went through many revisions and originally was half the length it is now. When I eventually wrote the second half of the poem is when it became a poem.
SR. Are you at work on a new book? Can you tell us something about it?
CV: I am working on a new book. Like Gloved Against Blood, it is also rooted in local history. In this case, the Salem Witch Trials. Salem, MA creates a great deal of cognitive dissonance for me. On the one hand there is the tragic history of the witch trials and the fact that 20 innocent individuals were executed while on the other hand there is the witch kitsch culture that drives the tourist the town depends on.