Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Poisoned Apples Blog Tour: Interview + Giveaway


Today I'm really excited to be a part of the promotional tour for Poisoned Apples, a collection of poems written by Christine Heppermann. I have to admit to not doing so spectacularly in the one and only poetry class I took in college, but I thoroughly enjoyed what I found between the pages of this book and jumped at the opportunity (thank you, Hannah!) to ask Christine a few questions. I hope you all enjoy the interview, and don't forget to check the bottom of the post for all the details on how to win a copy!

Poisoned Apples is a collection of poems. What are one or two things readers who are perhaps a touch hesitant to tackle poetry should know about this book in order to convince them to step outside their comfort zones?

Think of the poems as mini-stories. That’s what poems are, really. One advantage of reading poetry over reading novels is that you can usually tell after only a few lines whether a particular poem appeals to you. If not, move on! There are a gazillion other models in the poetry showroom for you to test drive.

If this book had existed when you were younger, which of the poems do you think would have most resonated with your teenage self?

Many poems in the collection grew from memories of how I felt as a teenager. The one that hits closest to home, I think, is “BFF.” I was never the alpha friend, at least in my mind. I was shy and awkward and felt clueless about life much of the time, so I tended to gravitate toward friends who seemed confident. The downside was that in certain “friendships,” especially when I was a young teen, I let myself be pushed around. If someone had told me, as Jill tells the narrator in “BFF,” that she could teach me how to do my mascara so my eyes looked less squinty, I probably wouldn’t have responded, “That’s mean, you can’t say that to me.” I would have shrugged it off, maybe even been pathetically grateful.

The poems in this collection address the beauty myths perpetuated by many classic fairy tales. Is there one fairy tale in particular you most wanted write about or retell when the idea for this book popped into your head?

Before Poisoned Apples I was working on a novel-in-verse based on my favorite Grimms fairy tale, “Jorinda and Joringel.” Like “Hansel and Gretel,” it’s about a brother and sister who get lost in the woods and encounter a witch, only this witch turns Jorinda into a bird and carries her off to her castle. “Bird Girl” is a poem I initially wrote for that project—which I plan to get back to someday—and it imagines Jorinda enjoying her new body. What if she didn’t want to be rescued by Joringel (which is of course what happens in the end) and turned back into a girl? Why couldn’t she decide to stay the way she was?

If you were to write a poem about the process you went through with this book, from blank first page to published work, what would the title or first line of that poem be?

I might title that poem “Who Knew?” As in, who knew that a theme would emerge from the, I thought, random smattering of poems I started writing? Who knew they would evolve into a collection? Who knew I would find an agent and then an editor willing to take a chance on poetry? Poisoned Apples has been a series of lovely surprises for me. That could be a title, too, “Lovely Surprises,” though it’s a good bit sunnier than my usual tone!

What’s one question about Poisoned Apples you wish someone would ask you and how would you answer?

I wish someone would ask me how I came up with the idea for the poem “If Tampons Were for Guys.” Well, me, since you asked, I originally intended to write about how, before a girl gets her first period, she wonders what it will feel like and maybe even sneaks over to the feminine hygiene aisle while shopping with her mom to peruse the selection. Before writing I went to Target on a research fieldtrip. I was standing in front of all those pastel-colored boxes, thinking about marketing and how much we take it for granted. Pictures of flowers and pearls and sunsets, or whatever, for girls. How would the images change if companies decided to highlight the “men” in “menstruation?” And thus, as so often happens, my topic changed.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions Christine!

• • • • • • • • • • •

POISONED APPLES: POEMS FOR YOU, MY PRETTY


Every little girl goes through her princess phase, whether she wants to be Snow White or Cinderella, Belle or Ariel. But then we grow up. And life is not a fairy tale.

Christine Heppermann's collection of fifty poems puts the ideals of fairy tales right beside the life of the modern teenage girl. With piercing truths reminiscent of Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins, this is a powerful and provocative book for every young woman. E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars, calls it "a bloody poetic attack on the beauty myth that's caustic, funny, and heartbreaking."

Cruelties come not just from wicked stepmothers, but also from ourselves. There are expectations, pressures, judgment, and criticism. Self-doubt and self-confidence. But there are also friends, and sisters, and a whole hell of a lot of power there for the taking. In fifty poems, Christine Heppermann confronts society head on. Using fairy tale characters and tropes, Poisoned Apples explores how girls are taught to think about themselves, their bodies, and their friends. The poems range from contemporary retellings to first-person accounts set within the original tales, and from deadly funny to deadly serious. Complemented throughout with black-and-white photographs from up-and-coming artists, this is a stunning and sophisticated book to be treasured, shared, and paged through again and again.


• • • • • • • • • • •

CHRISTINE HEPPERMANN


Christine Heppermann is a writer, poet, and critic. Her book of poetry for young adults, Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty, will be published by Greenwillow Books in September, 2014. Poisoned Apples has been called "a bloody poetic attack on the beauty myth that's caustic, funny and heartbreaking" (E. Lockhart) and a "powerful and provocative exploration of body image, media, and love" (Rae Carson).

Christine's first book, City Chickens (Houghton Mifflin, 2012), is a nonfiction story about a shelter for abandoned and unwanted chickens in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In 2015 Greenwillow Books will publish the first book of the Backyard Witch Series, written by Christine and Ron Koertge. The middle-grade series follows three best friends and a mysterious visitor who appears for curious adventures just when they need her most.

Christine was a columnist and reviewer for The Horn Book Magazine from 1996 until 2013. Her poems are published in 5AM, The Magazine of Contemporary Poetry; Poems and Plays; Kite Tales; Nerve Cowboy; The Mas Tequila Review; and The Horn Book Magazine. Her reviews of children's and young adult books have appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines. She has an MA in Children’s Literature from Simmons College and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University.


• • • • • • • • • • •

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the amazing team at Harper/Greenwillow, I have one finished copy of Poisoned Apples to give away on the blog today. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US/Canada.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sept. 21 - Andye @ ReadingTeen.net - Guest Post
Sept. 22 - Liza @ WhoRU Blog - Review
Sept. 23 - Jenny @ Supernatural Snark - Interview / Steph & Meg @ Cuddlebuggery - Joint Review
Sept. 24 - Hannah @ The Irish Banana Review - Review
Sept. 25 - Stephanie @ No BS Book Reviews - Interview
Sept. 26 - Katie @ MundieMoms - Review
Sept. 27 - Mary @ The Book Swarm - Guest Post & Review

44 comments:

  1. I love the whole idea of this book and that cover is pretty fantastic!

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  2. Poetry has become something that I dont like as much as I used to, all my high school English teachers, and professors made us analyze the symbolism of poems. But I still enjoy some good Edgar Allen Poe.

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  4. It's poetry for me. My favorite is Elizabeth Barrett's How Do I Love Thee, Let Me Count the Wave.

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  5. Favorite poem was the one I did for a poetry performance in front of the whole school... These Poems, She Said by Robert Bringhurst

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  6. I really like the sound of this book Jenny, although I haven't been a huge fan of poetry (blame this on a certain book I was forced to study during college) I really am eager to give this book a go, Thank you for putting it on my radar! :)

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  7. I'm not that much into poetry I confess but maybe I should see that like you said like mini stories. Thanks for the discovery, it's a wonderful cover.

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  8. Hmmmmm, I've had my highs and lows with poetry but I love the sound of this book and I'm thinking at the very least I'm adding it to the wish list!
    Great interview Jenny!

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  9. I'm a little wary about this because it's a poetry book and I've honestly never found poetry appealing but everyone has been talking about great it is. Thanks for sharing the interview, Jenny. :)

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  10. I'm completely curious about this book-so thank you for the wonderful interview. I'm not a big fan of poetry, but the subjects Poisoned Apple have really caught my attention. Thanks Jenny and Christine :)

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  11. Okay you've sold me on this book. This one seems far out of my comfort zone (I mean...poetry?) LOL but I'm intrigued and want to give it a try! Thanks for this :)

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  12. I'm actually a huge poetry fan and I regret not getting a review copy when I had a chance. I tend to be a bit picky, but this sounds like something I'd really, really love. The themes and especially the feminist undertones I can pretty much sense from here are making me very curious. I'll have to get a copy asap.

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  13. I featured this one during Friday Forecast because I thought it looked and sounded outstanding. That whole question and answer about men and tampoons was too funny. Thanks for sharing, I am definitely going to hunt this one down.

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  14. I'm definitely on the fence about a book about poetry BUT I love verse novels and poetry was important to me as a teen. So this might be poetry that resonates with me. I think it's the super deep stuff that kind of goes over my head.

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  15. My favorite poet overall is Edgar Allan Poe, but my favorite individual poem is "Death Fugue" from Paul Celan

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  16. My favorite poet would have to be Edgar Allan Poe, but I think my favorite poem might be "The Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll.

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  17. It's just a little book but it's so powerful!

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  18. I actually don't remember reading a poem! But I surely did, at school and enjoyed it, but it was short and we did not spend much time on it. That's why I would love to win this :D and I'm so in love with the cover *.* Fantastic post, Jenny!

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  19. the Raven :) thanks for sharing!

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  20. This might sound lame, but my favorite poet is a special 'guy friend' of mine. The poetry he writes is ... dirty limericks for me. Does that count? lol. I've always loved reading poetry though, and always admired people who could do it so well.

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  21. Ol Poe, of course. Always Mr. Poe. I don't have a favorite poem, just a fave... well, most of them!

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  22. I've seen this cover around and I had no idea it was poetry! It sounds very cool and I'm definitely going to check it out. I think a lot of us can definitely relate to the BFF poem. Lovely interview, thanks for sharing!

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  23. Of course, Edgar Allan Poe is an obvious choice, but I love poetry. I think there are so many different ways to write a poem and tell a story that it's like asking what book you love most. I can never answer that question.

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  24. I don't typically read poetry but like the idea of this one. And it has such a pretty cover!

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  25. Robert Frost, Poe, Dickenson, I like them all...

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  26. I read this and was surprise of how well the poems not only matched fairytales but what lies girls are told today.

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  27. I like Poe, Jeremy Martin (a friend of mine), E. E. Cummings and Emily Dickinson.

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  28. Here is my favorite poem:

    Invictus

    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll.
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.
    William Ernest Henley

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  29. I don't really have a favorite poet. Maybe ellen hopkins? I'm not overly fond of poetry, although I do like a good novel in verse every now and then.

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  30. don't have a fav; not a poetry fan

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