About the Book
Joyless Kingdom: Poems, Prose, and Dispatches From the Plague was written under duress throughout the COVID-19 lockdown.
About the Author
Shane Cashman’s writing has been featured in The Atlantic, BBC Travel, Penthouse, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Atlas Obscura, Pitchfork, and VICE. In 2011, he was the recipient of the Elizabeth McCormack/Inkwell MAW Student & Alumni Award in poetry. In 2015, he won the PEN Center USA short story contest. He is also a Glimmer Train short fiction finalist. His nonfiction has been selected as an editor’s pick at Longreads.com. Shane holds an MFA from Manhattanville College. He is a professor of narrative studies, poetry, and English at SUNY Orange and Manhattanville College.
Qn 1: Can you tell us more about your book What is it about?
I started writing this book when the Covid-19 lockdown began in New York. To be honest, it began as a suicide note––writing it became the healthiest way to destroy the parts about myself I fear and loathe the most. I can’t say it fixed everything, but it made a temporary clearing in my soul amongst the personal and international hysterias of 2020,
Qn 2: Who do you think would be interested in this book, is it directed at any particular market?
I wrote this book for anyone who has experienced fear, love, depression, anxiety, confusion, and hysteria during COVID-19––or just life in general.
Qn 3: Out of all the books in the world, and all the authors, which are your favourite and why?
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka because the idea of waking up as a giant bug seems like the truest representation of this upside down reality. Sometimes the absurd is more real than what we all agree on as “real.”
Qn 4: What guidance would you offer to someone new, or trying to enhance their writing?
Start by making a vomit draft. Puke out anything that comes to mind onto the page. Do not fear rules. Do not stop writing––let it all spill out of you as ugly and beautiful as it flows. Look at something else. Art. Listen to music. Take a walk. Return to the page. Then you can start to pluck out the gems. Whatever moves you. Whatever resonates with the tuning fork in your heart-brain-gut. Read it aloud. Revise. Collage. Butcher. Remedy. Read aloud some more. Then throw it out into the world and start over.
Qn 5: Where can our readers find out more about you, do you have a website, or a way to be contacted?
Readers can keep up with my work at www.shanecashman.com and on instagram @shanecashman