Actor Amber Tamblyn talks about her remarkable new collection of poetry, Bang Ditto.
How many years of writing are reflected in this collection?
This book was four years in the making. I went through a lot of changes during the process of completing this work, some heavy breakups, disappointments, and personal awakenings.
What is your writing process?
I do carry a notebook but don’t write in it as often as I type my thoughts out on a computer. My handwriting is very distracting to me: I have a hard time focusing. It’s much easier for me to make changes or move ideas around when I’m working on a computer. Many of these poems were initially written on my phone while I was working! I write about things I see or feel—poems based on situations I’ve been through or have seen others go through. This book is my observations about the world I live in: Hollywood, friends, family, and lovers.
Who are the biggest poetic influences on this collection of writing?
Jeffrey McDaniel, Jack Hirschman, Diane Di Prima, Derrick Brown, Mindy Nettifee, Beau Sia: some of these poets inspired this book by being in my life and sharing their words, others provided inspiration when I read their words.
Why did you decide to work with an independent press rather than a large publisher?
I wanted to work with Manic D because they have published some of my all-time favorite writers, including Jeffrey McDaniel and Beth Lisick. I also didn’t like the non-hands-on vibe of a larger publisher. But the main reason was the chance to work with Manic D’s editor, Jennifer Joseph.
What are some of the other poetry projects that you’re involved with currently?
Since 2006, I’ve run an annual poetry event in Los Angeles called “The Drums Inside Your Chest” which showcases six poets from across the country representing different generations and styles of performance. This year will be our third event (thedrumsinsideyourchest.com).
In 2007, I co-founded a non-profit organization, Write Now Poetry Society, with author Mindy Nettifee. Write Now works to identify, inspire, record and publish great poets; support poetry communities; produce poetry shows; increase poetry audiences; and strengthen poetry organizations nationwide (writenowpoets.org).