Digital Book Tour: New Book by Lucia LoTempio
Fam, times are weird—so many of us have to figure out new ways of doing old things. Book launches, an established feature of our wonderful community of writers, have been particularly hard hit, and we’d love to make room for authors to share their work with the world. Our limited Digital Book Tour series will serve that end! Today, we’re sharing an excerpt and interview from Lucia LoTempio’s Hot with the Bad Things.
An Excerpt from Lucia LoTempio’s Hot with the Bad Things
excerpt from Hot with the Bad Things
The man says, Alone on a bus? That’s how a horror movie starts. But it feels more imaginable, tomorrow rather than a screen.
I should be a singed cauterization; removal to pin down this red. Hiding behind the poem is always another poem. And in that one, less blood. Or, a red more seeable and deserved. I don’t know what I deserve anymore. And it’s hard to know when everyone tells me I love myself. And I do. Really.
My friend got on the bus and the driver pleaded, Oh honey, I’d love to see your face. She tells me this belongs in a poem, but I don’t think here is what she meant. The man on TV said, Violence requires no imagination—anyone can shoot a gun. But if the end of the barrel is the furthest distance he could imagine, I’m just not sure.
Listen: if nothing goes to plan, imagine it as bad as possible.
On What the Reader Will Walk Away With
Lucia LoTempio: I want readers of Hot with the Bad Things to walk away thinking about how we talk about violence in our everyday. Whenever I finish a read-through of the book, I find myself meditating on the slipperiness of memory when it comes to trauma. Unfortunately, I’m afraid I speak to many people’s experiences of sexual violence, and I hope that readers think beyond my speaking “I.”
On What the Writer Walked Away With
Lucia LoTempio: Before I wrote Hot with the Bad Things, I supposed I knew this on some theoretical level, but writing this book really made me appreciate poetry’s ability to hold vulnerability. Writing taught me a lot about privacy, and how art can be a access point to topics that are difficult to express with other mediums. I think also the experience of writing muddied the lines of memoir for me, and solidified how freeing a lyrical form can be.
On The Book’s Biography
Lucia LoTempio: I started writing the book in grad school—it began as a singular sectioned long poem in which I addressed a past self as a “little mouse.” It was a very raw response to a murder-suicide that a man on my former college campus committed. It was a very messy poem. My professor at the time, Terrance Hayes, encouraged me to keep going—that this was bigger than one poem. From there I continued to develop Hot with the Bad Things as a behemoth book-length poem for my graduate thesis, with mentors Dawn Lundy Martin, Yona Harvey, and Lauren Russell guiding me through this process. Post-grad, I kept editing and adding and subtracting. After it was accepted by Alice James, I added one more section and it finally felt, well, final.
On The Book’s Family of Support
Lucia LoTempio: Oh wow, so many people. I genuinely love the editing process, and I am lucky to be surrounded by innovative artists and friends. Definitely, Hot with the Bad Things would not be possible without Dawn and her genius. Studying under her completely altered my approach to writing and genre and lyric, and I will forever be grateful to her. At the time of writing too, I was creating in tandem with writers (specifically Suzannah Russ Spaar, Stephanie Cawley, S. Brook Corfman, Gabrielle Ralambo-Rajerison, and Steffan Triplett) whose feedback was irreplaceable—and whose own writing was in conversation and inspiration for my own.
Lucia LoTempio is the author of Hot with the Bad Things (Alice James Books). You can find her poems in Passages North, The Journal, TYPO, Quarterly West, as part of the Academy of American Poets poem-a-day series, and elsewhere. With Suzannah Russ Spaar, she co-authored the chapbook Undone in Scarlet (Tammy). Lucia lives and writes in Pittsburgh. Drop a line: https://www.lucialotempio.com/.