Donna Vorreyer’s Every Love Story Is an Apocalypse Story (Sundress Publications) doesn’t mince its truths. Beginning with a “Preamble,” this poetry volume immediately sets out to disprove the permanence of romantic love—“We all know this is a lie, know/that every paired or melded/thing returns to pieces.”—while maintaining a disquieting undercurrent of displaced hope.
A charmingly relatable collection in which love is “no quick misery” and longing is savage, the speaker becomes “no longer human”; “In your absence, I am animal.” Every Love Story Is an Apocalypse Story‘s haunting thread of romance-as-entropy permeates each poem, leaving the reader to confront the question: why fall in love, when the fallout is everlasting?
RHIANNON THORNE: I know that while the title is usually one of the last things a poet settles on for her book, it’s the first we settle on as a reader. The naming process really sets the tone for how a volume is consumed. How did you come to title this collection? Did Every Love Story Is an Apocalypse Story have other, previous titles?
DONNA VORREYER: This is not a super interesting story, but here it goes. The book had several working titles – the first was Washed With Hymns and Singing, a line from one of the poems. At that point, the book was structured differently and didn’t have the same perspective or narrative arc. It was heavily focused on poems and images that were inspired by the journals of Lewis and Clark and their natural world. (Only a few of those poems survived in the final version.)
After some major revisions, the second title, which stuck for some time, was A Brief History of Disaster. I liked that title very much, but as I lived with the manuscript and realized that the newer poems seemed to resonate as both universal and personal, it seemed too clinical, too much like a textbook title. So I turned to a few close friends who had read the manuscript draft and offered up several titles that included the word apocalypse. The top two vote-getters were the current title and Pretty Little Apocalypse, but the second one seemed to set a demographic expectation based on the television show Pretty Little Liars. So it’s not an exciting story, by any means – titles are always difficult for me, and anytime I hit on one that resonates, I’m pleased.