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The Traveling Queen by Michael Collins

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On Writing and the Author:

Today we’re looking at Michael Collins and his latest release, a wonderful glimpse into a collection of poems that covers a broad expanse of themes. Michael Collins takes us on an emotional journey from death, to slavery, to God.

Born in Jamaica, Michael Collins teaches English at Texas A&M. He has authored literary criticism, crative nonfiction journalism and fiction in publications such as PMLA, Callalo, and Singapore’s The Strait Times.

What Michael Collins does:

I am an Associate Professor of English at Texas A & M University.

Why Michael Collins likes it:

I like writing because I like to watch an inventive piece of prose or poetry put a language through its paces. Inventive writing shows what a language can do, just as a great athletic performance shows us what the human body (and human will and imagination) can do. I find putting the English language through its paces to be fun and enlightening--and I hope those who read my work will find my efforts to be fun and enlightening too.

Inspiration comes from:

I have been inspired by writers ranging from Homer to Joyce to Ralph Ellison, and, more recently, contemporaries like Yusef Komunyakaa.

If not writing, then what? I often look back and regret that I did not go to law school.

Tell us about your latest release? What brought about its creation? How long did it take to complete?

There are poems in my new book that were written less than a year ago, and poems that were written decades ago. This length of time is mostly a reflection of the difficulty of publishing poems like mine in a poetry publishing industry whose editors' aesthetic standards are often different from mine. As for the creation of the poems themselves, they are a result of my desire to figure out why people do the things they do. That is to say, they are a result of my efforts to use language as a lens for looking into people's souls.

What's the next project?

I have several projects on the burner: another book of poems, a novel that I published a piece of 20 or so years ago but have never had the time to complete, and several works of literary criticism that take the next steps beyond my 2012 book Understanding Etheridge Knight. Which one gets completed and published first depends mostly on 1) the state of my bank account and of my ability to get time to write, and 2) how my ideas and aesthetics line up with those of the people who run the subsets of the publishing industry.

Where can you find The Traveling Queen? Amazon

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