Good morning, friends and fiends--
Today in the MADHOUSE, we're sitting down with Linda D. Addison and Alessandro Manzetti to chat about their collaborative poetry collection, The Place of Broken Things published via Crystal Lake Publishing. This wonderfully dark, surreal book is filled with music and nightmares as it explores the darkness surrounding the words "Broken," "Things," and "Place." When reading it, I was immediately struck by the way the two of them complimented one another, their words each breathing into the other's like soft prayers and suffocations.
I hope you'll add this book to your TBR list soon, but in the meantime, we're going to talk about the construction of a collaborative work, the narrative flow of poetry, and how rhythm and repetition influence the musicality of the form. So grab some coffee or tea and snuggle up because we're about to fall into the most hauntingly beautiful dream.
With broken teacups and honey,
Stephanie M. Wytovich
SMW: Tell us about your collection. What gave you the idea to create in this world, and in your opinion, what does it represent at its most literal and figurative heights?
Linda: Alessandro came up with the idea of us writing together and found a publisher, Linda suggested the title. There weren’t any hard rules (any theme distant or close to either Place or Broken or Thing…). We didn’t have a defined plan, the collection created its own unique music and we examined the inner and outer world through the lens of Broken, Things, Place.
SMW: What was your favorite part of the collection to create and explore, and then to play devil’s advocate, what was the hardest for you?
Alessandro: I really enjoyed working with Linda on the collab poems, it was absolutely the best part of the project. It was like exploring many places together, seeing all the things with four eyes. The hardest part was to write my solo poems, since my ‘instruments’ was so wonderfully tuned with Linda’s, and I needed to hear her voice near me.
Linda: I’m in total agreement with Alessandro; it was exciting to write the collab poems because the music of his words & images varied from mine and inspired a different response than my solo poems, but even those were influenced by being in a shared mindset.
SMW: How was your experience collaborating with each other? Can you speak to your process a little?
Linda: The first poem we wrote was the collaborative poem with the same title as the book—after that we knew we could dance gloriously together. We were inspired to write by each other’s individual poems & others poetry, music, art, movies, friends, forms (haiku, concrete, etc.), real & imagined places; basically everything and anything.
SMW: The collection itself reads like a surreal nightmare, something that’s both present and rooted in reality, yet cloudy, almost as if it’s a past dream, familiar yet foreign. How do you personally define surrealism, and how did it influence/inspire you as you worked on the poetry for this book?
Alessandro: All my works are inspired by surrealism, I love its atemporal dimension, beyond time, and its dreaming way to tell something, which allows me to describe something not only on the surface, but diving into it. From the inside, things seem to change their form, showing themselves without skin and compromise.
SMW: There are a lot of nods to religious iconography and themes in the text. Can you speak to how notions of recovery, forgiveness, and redemption are used throughout the collection?
Linda: The word Broken is very strong; there’s so many ways for humans to break, for society to break. We both opened our imagination completely and let it flow, without limits.
SMW: Something that I particularly loved here was the way voyeurism was applied in the book. It was almost like you both were asking: why do we look? Why does the macabre interest us? So I’m curious, what is it about horror that makes you continue to look?
Alessandro: It all comes down to our controversial approach to the unknown and death. On one side we fear to open a mysterious door leading to another dimension, where we have no control over it but, on the other hand, we're fascinated to peek behind it. Horror plays the role of the keyhole of that door.
SMW: I also enjoyed the many nods to minimalist music/form. What is it about minimalism that you think works so well in the horror genre, and how does that sound translate to poetry?
Linda: We’re both exhilarated by our senses; what we hear, see, feel emotionally in the world. It doesn’t have to take a lot of words to invoke emotions of loss, regret, fear through poetry.
SMW: What’s in store next for your readers?
Linda: We both have poems in the upcoming issue of Weird Tales Magazine, which is great because Jonathan Maberry is the new editorial director, who will make sure mistakes from the past will not be repeated. Alessandro wrote his poem first and sent it to me to read; I used it to add some flavoring to the poem I created. I have a story coming out in 2020 New Scary Tales to Tell in the Dark anthology, edited by Jonathan Maberry.
Alessandro: I have two new books of fiction upcoming this year: the dark thriller/Sci-Fi novella The Keeper of Chernobyl, to be released by Omnium Gatherum, and the hardcore-horror/weird story collection The Radioactive Bride, coming from Necro Publications. Also, I have a story coming out this year in Basphemous Rumors anthology, edited by David G. Barnett and Regina Garza Mitchell.
SMW: What advice do you have for writers working in poetry and/or considering working on a collaborative project?
Linda: It’s very important when doing a collaborative project with another creative person that each person enjoy and respect each other’s work and each other, as well as the ability to take feedback, without ego.Writing poetry should include reading poetry, all types, all genres, and all forms. When creating work, it’s fine to break the rules, but you have to know the rules first. It doesn’t hurt to try some different forms, you never know when some shape/rhythm will appeal/influence your work in a good way. As in any kind of writing:
1-write a piece as well as you can (include getting separate edit/reader feedback, if you can)
2-find an appropriate market & submit
3-write another piece; start at (1) again…
Back of the book summary:
Bram Stoker Award® winners Linda D. Addison and Alessandro Manzetti use their unique voices to create a dark, surrealistic poetry collection exploring the many ways shattered bodies, minds, and souls endure. They created poems of visionary imagery encompassing death, gods, goddesses and shadowy, Kafkaesque futures by inspiring each other, along with inspiration from others (Allen Ginsberg, Pablo Neruda, Phillis Wheatley, etc.).
Construction of The Place started with the first bitten apple dropped in the Garden. The foundation defined by the crushed, forgotten, and rejected. Filled with timeless space, its walls weep with the blood of brutality, the tears of the innocent, and predatory desire. Enter and let it whisper dark secrets to you.
“Addison and Manzetti … collaborations are seamless. Powerful stuff, indeed. You will find yourself re-visiting the pieces in this book, each time discovering something new.”
—Thomas Monteleone, author of FEARFUL SYMMETRIES and recipient of the HWA Lifetime Achievement Award.
“There is no book of poetry quite like THE PLACE OF BROKEN THINGS! Linda Addison and Alessandro Manzetti spin dark magic! Highly recommended!”
—Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of V-WARS and GLIMPSE
“This book is totally alive. Addison and Manzetti have written a volume in which literally every line is worthy of being that book’s title.”
—Josh Malerman, bestselling author of BIRD BOX
“The Place of Broken Things is a dark delight of a collection. Each piece embraces flavorful language that sticks on your tongue as you read along and digest the poems. Highly recommend this collection to all fans of darkness and the macabre!”
—Sarah Tantlinger, Bram Stoker Award-winng author of The Devil’s Dreamland
Linda D. Addison, award-winning author of four collections, including How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend, and recipient of the 2018 HWA Lifetime Achievement Award. Her site: www.lindaaddisonpoet.com.
Alessandro Manzetti, award-winning author of five poetry collections, including Eden Undeground and No Mercy and works of fiction, among which the novels Naraka and Shanti. His site: www.battiago.com