Hard-cover: December 2020
Paperback: January 2021
Kindle/e-book: January 2021
Audiobook: January 2021
Through its 211 interwoven poems, this double-tiered recursive crown of sonnets takes the reader on an epic journey to the heart of mankind’s would-be nemesis – herself – and back again. Does her destiny await in the unexplored depths of the cosmos, or in a toxic wasteland of her own making? Does she have the will to shape her own future, or is she a slave to her myopic wants and impulses?
Requiem takes the existential threats facing humanity – from the destruction of the environment to nuclear holocaust – as a lens through which to reflect on the fate of civilization, humanity and ultimately conscious life in the universe.
Can you tell us a little about the process of getting this book published? How did you come up with the idea and how did you start?
It was always a cross-fertilization of sorts between format and content. I had dabbled in a bit of poetry before and published a crown of sonnets back in 2019, as an experiment. I enjoyed the sonnet format, and figured it would be a fun challenge to literally take it to another level – to make a crown of crowns of sonnets. I looked around for a bit, and as far as I could tell, nobody had published anything like that before.
I cast about for a while, looking for a suitable subject. I figured it had to be something sufficiently epic – worthy of the format, if you will. Reading The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells gave me that subject. During the writing process, the subject shifted somewhat, zooming out from environmental destruction to the future of the species more generally, and how to relate as human beings to the ongoing destruction of our collective future. It may be something of a trope, yet it's something I feel strongly at the core of my being: as a parent, how do I look my children in the eyes and tell them they will likely not have what I had, and will not be able to give their children what I could give them? As it stands, I think that is a trauma we as individuals, as a civilization and as a species will need to grapple with for generations to come
What surprised you most about getting your book published?
I have self-published several titles previously: fiction, nonfiction and poetry, so I knew what to expect – and what not to expect.
Tell us a little about what you do when you aren’t writing
I try to split my time – with varying degrees of success – between being the father of two, a husband, an associate professor and teacher of software engineering, a researcher and an engineer.
As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?
To be perfectly honest, I don’t feel as though my writing life has done too much of pivoting. It’s been an interesting experience to be sure, but I take it one step at a time and see where it takes me.
Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?
Any situation where the mind is closed off from every source of distraction. For creative thinking, I can't be around other people, and I can't be around books or screens or anything else that will pull at my attention. Going for a walk by myself can work, but I actually find that taking a shower is the best way to let new ideas percolate through the mind. Unless you manage to capture those fragile strands of pure imagination that emerge in the twilight between waking and dreaming, that is.
The way I think about it, you need input – reading, talking and listening to other people – to plant new seeds in your unconscious, but then you need to close off your mind to harvest them once they have grown to fruition.
What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
That's a tough one. I think, as a self-published author, the greatest struggle is to put the book in people's hands in the first place. It's an extremely crowded scene, and I feel as though the toughest criticism is no criticism at all.
What has been your best accomplishment as a writer?
That would have to be finishing Requiem. It is by far my most ambitious project to date, and the most unique. If there are other crowns of crowns of sonnets out there that I'm simply not aware of, I would love to learn about them!
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
None at all! Way back in another lifetime, before I had kids, I used to have any number of unfinished projects running in parallel, but I lacked the discipline to finish them before moving on to the next thing that caught my imagination. These days, I'm exceedingly strict about finishing what I started before moving on, or I would never get anything done. Parallel projects are simply a luxury I can't afford at the moment.
About The Author
A software engineer by trade, Daniel Ståhl splits his time between software development, research, teaching, writing and being the father of two.
Daniel has previously published both fiction and non-fiction, with his latest forays as an author delving into strictly metered poetry. His latest book, Requiem, came into being in the intersection between the rhythmic cadence of sonnets and his despair at the sanguine apathy with which the human species approaches the prospect of its own extinction – with all of its implications for his children.
Daniel received his MSc degree from Linköping University, Sweden, and his PhD degree from the University of Groningen, Netherlands.
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