The Madhouse is under the covers this week, as we at Raw Dog Screaming Press are happy to announce that we've signed poet, Christina Sng, for her poetry manuscript, A Collection of Nightmares. This collection is set to debut in late-2016, and it's a dark little beast that explores the horrors of the physical, fantastical and psychological worlds both around us... and inside us.
Want more? Here's a interview that I did with Christina to give you a sneak peak into her process, her influences, and how her manuscript came to be.
1. What is the title of your collection and how did you come up with the name?
The title is "A Collection of Nightmares". The name came about unexpectedly. I've always put pieces of myself into my dark poems – things that haunt me, hurt me, scar me beyond repair – my nightmares. One night at 4am, as I picked up my poems lining the floor in A5 sheets of paper, it struck me that I was collating a collection of nightmares.
2. What was the inspiration for your collection overall?
Life is the inspiration for my collection. I have this passive-aggressive relationship with it where it loves to land gut punches on me one minute, then soothes me with a song and English mint chocolates. Very dysfunctional. It's an insane roller coaster ride.
3. How long have you been writing poetry? What is your background with it in terms of education, experience, etc.
I wrote my first poem when I was about 5. It consisted of a group of friends with rhyming names making a trip to the market, which says a lot about what I was preoccupied with as a child.
In school, we hardly read any poetry. We read Shakespeare, which frightened everyone off literature except for the posturing and acting that came with studying the Great Bard. That, we all enjoyed. Particularly, the soliloquies and the costumes.
In college, my English teacher taught us poetry. She liked my dark poems and encouraged me to write more. Probably thought it was safer for the world.
After graduation, I studied poetry on my own, reading literary poets like Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and Emily Dickinson. I fell in love with how utterly concise and perfectly encapsulated a poem is. In 2000, I began submitting my poetry after gathering a body of work.
4. Where have you previously published your poetry?
My poems have appeared in print and online venues such as Apex Magazine, Dreams and Nightmares, Grievous Angel, Mythic Delirium, New Myths, Outposts of Beyond, Space & Time, Spectral Realms, Star*Line, and Tales of the Talisman, amongst others.
5. Who are your influences?
Sylvia Plath is still my strongest influence. Everything about poetry I've learnt from her. I love the way she used metaphors and imagery, her exacting structure which I admire and emulate, and how she poured every bit of herself into her work. Each poem is a construction of technical genius and an artistic masterpiece.
6. What is your writing process like?
Before the kids came along, I would give myself an hour, get comfortable, open my notebook, and stay put till I wrote 5 poems. I began with an image or a word or an idea or a memory and the poem just flowed from there.
Now, after kids and perpetually tired from a decade of sleep deprivation, I confess to being more zombie than human -- the Warm Bodies type, not the Z Nation ones in all their marvelous varieties. It is hard to focus and concentrate, so I've turned to writing short poems on the go or stealing quiet moments when the children are preoccupied. About once a week, I try to clear some physical and mental space to write like I used to. It's rarely 5 poems at a single sitting these days. 3 on a lucky day. 1 with enough coffee.
7. What are you most excited about with this collection in particular, i.e. what was shocking or surprisingly to you while you were writing it?
Few things shock or surprise me anymore, except for some of the stuff on ViralNova.
I'm really excited because this will be my first full length poetry collection, gathering every dark poem I love and am proud of into a single book. It's been a long journey and I am very happy my poems are now coming together to nest.
Christina Sng is a poet, writer, and an occasional toymaker. She is a two-time Rhysling nominee and her poetry has received several Honorable Mentions in the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. In her free time, she plays the ukulele, dreams of exploring the Andromeda Galaxy, and carves out new worlds in longhand, imbibing an aromatic cup of tea.