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Photo of Kathleen Aguero
photo credit: Debi Milligan

The Next Big Thing

What is the title of your book?

After That

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Among other issues, After That explores my mother’s decline from Alzheimers and contains a sequence of poems imagining the life of “girl sleuth” Nancy Drew should she ever age.

What genre does the book fall under?


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

I worked on the poems in this collection over a period of about five years. The poems in the Nancy Drew section came most quickly and were published as a chapbook. The others weren’t written as a conscious sequence. They accumulated over time.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Several different sources prompted the poems in this book. For several years I taught a children’s literature course. I was browsing through books in the Nancy Drew mystery series while preparing for the course when the first poem of the sequence, “To Nancy on Her 50th Birthday” came to me. It’s very much a “found poem” composed of book titles. The “Fastenings” sequence got its start in a writing exercise I gave to a workshop I was teaching at the Chautauqua Institute, and the other poems have to do with things going on in my life at the time.

What else do you want to tell us about the writing of this book?

As I attempted to put a collection of poems together, I was surprised by how thematically unified they are despite the seemingly different subjects and tones. The poems look at similar subjects from varying perspectives.


Denise Bergman ( tagged me for this interview. Her most recent book, The Telling, (Cervena Barva Press) is a book length poem examining the story of a woman who believed that as a child she accidently killed her mother while they were fleeing for their lives. It’s a marvelous and innovative book.

I’m tagging Alison Stone ( whose second collection, Dangerous Enough, just came out with Presa Press, and Jennifer Jean ( whose latest collection, The Fool, is published by Big Table Publishing. Both books are filled with urgent, energetic work.



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