Next Big Thing!: Jen Hofer

What is the working title of the book? 

The book is always books, practices on and off the page, physical manifestations of thought. A reaching toward.

My current books-in-process include:

Ah.Me.RICH.AH: Your Exchange Value, a translation of Amé.RICA. Tu valor de cambio by Uruguayan poet Virginia Lucas (to be published by Litmus Press).

Dolores Dorantes, A Bilingual Version of Books One Through Four of Dolores Dorantes by Mexican poet Dolores Dorantes (to be published by Kenning Editions). The specific titles of these books are: Poemas para niños (Poems for Kids), sexoPUROsexoVELOZ (PUREsexSWIFTsex), Septiembre (September), and Querida fábrica (Dear Factory).

Front Page News (currently out in the world in hopes of finding a publisher), one year of daily cut-up poems made from the front page of the newspaper in the place I woke each day.

Less Than One, More Than One (which I am in the midst of writing), the sequel to my 2009 book one (published by Palm Press).

Laws (to be published by Dusie Books), a sequence of (now very elderly) letters home from Mexico interspersed with horrified quatrains addressing the war in Iraq interspersed with musings on a book titled An Experiment With Time.

My most recent book is titled Shroud: A Piece of Fabric Sewn To A Piece of Paper By Way of A Map, a collaboration with Jill Magi. Jill wrote her “The Next Big Thing” piece about it.


Where did the idea come from for the book?

My books come from processes and relationships; insofar as these are made of ideas (alongside other things like inventions, curiosities, walks, meals, conversations and self-imposed limits) I suppose my books come from ideas that are in the world or ideas the world is lacking, which might be addressed by the book, though the book can never complete the idea. My books come sometimes from necessity, sometimes from will, sometimes inadvertently, and always with difficulty.


What genre does your book fall under?

My bio always begins in this way: Jen Hofer is a poet, translator, social justice interpreter, teacher, knitter, book-maker, public letter-writer, urban cyclist, and co-founder of the language justice and literary activism collaborative Antena. My books are exist in the spaces demarcated by the activities I’ve just listed, and in the spaces between them.


What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? 

The movie rendition (of any of the above) would be made by an experimental filmmaker who would have free reign to use any sorts of people, plants, animals or objects they might wish to include. There would be no actors. It’s all re-enactment.


What is the one sentence synopsis of your book? 

Catch me in an elevator and I’ll give you the elevator speech for each of my current projects.


How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? 

My books always take years – 3-10 years, usually. Life gets in the way of life, I find.


Who or what inspired you to write this book? 

For any project, book form or otherwise, I am inspired (and also somewhat paralyzed) by how many forces there are in the world that are the opposite of inspiration. Writing and the various public manifestations of that practice, including books, are not a corrective, but they can be a crucial reminder, counterpoint, dissonant harmony and instigation to think differently, be differently, and build a different world.


What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? 

I love the word pique, but that’s about all I have to say in regard to this question.


Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

About her book The Story Of My Accident Is Ours, Rachel Levitsky said: “I like to think that being published by Futurepoem is self-publishing, as well.” I’d extend this idea to publishing with small autonomous presses generally—it is a form of participatory multi-self-publishing that is community-based, externalized, non-vain (in the sense of “vanity presses”) non-monetized (or not efficiently monetized), and entirely effortful, where the effort reminds us that the how of what we do matters as much as the what.


My tagged writers for next Wednesday are:


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