The Next Big Thing (Poetry)


Thanks to both Kristy Bowen and erica lewis for tagging me way back in February.  While I was initially turned off by the hideous reality that “The Next Big Thing” is also a Samsung Galaxy ad, it’s fun to circumvent that Internet traffic with poetry and fuck yous to the capitalist skies. Here’s to memes that permit poetry flagellation:


What is the working title of your book?



Where did the idea come from for the book?

The concept for huminsect originated with the construction of my MFA thesis while at Mills. That longer work was titled from granite to the oyster and sought to examine morphological and sociological relationships between myriad genera including humans, insects, plants, and sea creatures as well as the interstellar. I can also see it as an early pre-librarian attempt at taxonomic classification.

With oyster, I was also thinking about the idea of being in a constant state of becoming, an omnipresent state of transformation. (By the way, a lot of it was written right before I became pregnant.) So, it’s about discovery and growth and stagnation and working through some bad shit (i.e. it’s a work in progress).

With huminsect, my aim is to explore the relationships between humans, insects, and their interstices as well as the human/knowledge continuum. My process involves using found language derived from a source text I’ve compiled of words new to me discovered through reading. I think of that source text as an autobiographical dictionary. On some level, if we conceive of the body as a gathering place where knowledge becomes assimilated and experiences are felt, it becomes an intersection of all it touches and is touched by. I’m also curious about the indelible marks these experiences make on our skulls.

What genre does your book fall under?


Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Anemones. Birds. Bumblebees wearing bow ties, please.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

An attempt to examine the morphology of the body as a space for gathering.

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

About six months, thanks to Stephen Ratcliffe’s poem-a-day workshops.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Bugs. Brooklyn. Problem humans. Systemic relationships and failures.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s sexy.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

huminsect is forthcoming from dancing girl press in April 2013.

Published by


Melissa Eleftherion is a writer, a librarian, and a visual artist. She is the author of field guide to autobiography (The Operating System, 2018), & nine chapbooks, including the forthcoming trauma suture (above/ground press, 2020). Born & raised in Brooklyn, Melissa now lives in Mendocino County where she manages the Ukiah Library, teaches creative writing, & curates the LOBA Reading Series. Recent work is available at

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