Thursday, April 16, 2015

New work in The Mondegreen

Issue 2 of The Mondegreen lives here, and it's full of fabulous writing. I've got a new single-author story, "Ash," that's part of a larger collaborative project -- big announcement coming very soon! Think short stories. Think jellyfish. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, Kate McKinnon's Justin Bieber imitation (transformation? improvement?) made my day. I'm mulling over a new Queer Studies class for next year. This definitely seems like a good starting point for a course on butch/femme lesbian culture, past and present, all tangled up in overlapping paradigms of queer female gender and sexual styles. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Genre and the Queer Imagination

I'm excited to teach a graduate class this quarter. Western Washington University has a new MFA program in Creative Writing with an emphasis on hybrid genres. 

My work blurs boundaries because I find pleasure in movement, in change, in mutability. If I believed in a god, it would take the form of an animal, and its name would be Imagination. What a gift to be able to fantasize, invent, daydream. There's nothing childish about this play, nothing conventional about this pleasure. Imagination is the ultimate threat to authority. It's the basis of activism, social change, art, and love.

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English 506: Multigenre Writing 
Genre and the Queer Imagination

In this writing workshop, we'll read and imitate texts by contemporary American queer writers whose work challenges assimilationist paradigms of GLBT identity. Our starting point will be The Gentrification of the Mind, Sarah Schulman's nonfiction account of the gentrification of the queer imagination. Literary texts include Cool for You (Eileen Myles), Reading Emily Dickinson in Icelandic (Eva Heisler), The Rest of Love (Carl Phillips), and The Spectral Wilderness (Oliver Bendorf). Students will write short fiction, nonfiction, and poetry pieces for weekly workshops. The final project will be a collection of hybrid pieces organized into a chapbook or single long piece.  

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I'm the luckiest teacher

Such a wonderful English 202 class! Thanks for a great quarter and crazy chair sculptures!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Pre-Order With Animal

My new book With Animal is now available for pre-order! Co-written with Kelly Magee, this short story collection will be released by Black Lawrence Press in May 2015, featuring cover art by Todd Horton and book design by Amy FreelsYou can pre-order the book directly from the publisher right here right now. I'm happy to send a comp copy if you plan to review or teach the book. Kelly and I are available for interviews and classroom visits via email, phone, or Skype. We hope our feral creature pleases you. 

Todd Horton "Together"
Hybrid twins: one human, one horse. A man pregnant with a kangaroo, a woman raising a baby dragon. A twenty-first century Virgin Mary reimagined as a queer single mother giving birth in a petting zoo. In this collaborative short story collection, Carol Guess and Kelly Magee magically and playfully subvert assumptions about gender, sexuality, parenting, and family. These lyrical fictions bare teeth and spare no claw. They’ll leave you questioning the lines between human and animal, parent and child, love and dominion.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Slate: Overlooked Books of 2014

When is it nice to be overlooked? When being overlooked means you make it onto Slate's "Overlooked Books" list for 2014. It's such an honor to be reviewed by Stephen Burt, who captures the mood of How to Feel Confident With Your Special Talents, my prose poetry collaboration with Daniela Olszewska:

Presented as prose poems (which might be why you haven’t heard of it), this fizzy, sparkly, sometimes sarcastic collection is also a set of very funny, Twitter-worthy jokes about the way we live now, disguised as page after page of bizarre instructions for all-too-common situations: “How to Reset Your Password,” for example. (“Remember that computer generated passwords make you look fat.”) Some titles are wry poems in themselves: “How to Choose a Wedding Cake, or How to Practice Non-Attachment.” Others introduce sad, wise advice: “The real you should always be present at birthdays.” Guess and Olszewska’s step-by-step directions, invitations, triple meanings, and ironic affirmations also tell exasperated moderns how playing with language can help us face illness, fight sexism, or just get through a tough day: “Let’s go about whistleblowing while we work.”  --Stephen Burt

And while you're reading poetry, be sure to read Stephen's essay on the brilliant poetry anthology Troubling the Line, an essay housed in the Los Angeles Review of Books under the title "The Body of the Poem: On Transgender Poetry."

Finally, I've been watching Orphan Black and I'm in love. I've always wanted to be different people (of course, as a fiction writer I am different people, at least on the page). The show says so much about identification, sexuality, and desire; about bonds between women and the bullying that divides them; about heteronormative violence, the politics of birth//control, and Big Pharma; about the distinction between reproduction as a form of creativity and reproduction as a form of misogyny; and about anti-assimilationist queer community outside the boundaries of post-DOMA picket fences. It's literally a show about kinship and figuratively a show about identity theft. Hello Helena. I heart your crazy feral claws. 


Friday, November 21, 2014

Stars

All my students are shining stars. This quarter there's so much talent in our classroom that I'm awestruck each and every day. I asked my students if I could blog about their binders -- an art project where they create binders or boxes or discs or websites or videos reflecting their artistic ambitions, struggles, and accomplishments. Every single project was brilliant! Here are a few glimpses of the energy in our room. I wish I could share every project on this page. 


Thursday, November 6, 2014

How To Review How To

How do you review a book that riffs off an online instruction manual? Ask Kelsie Hahn, whose charmingly witty review of How To Feel Confident with Your Special Talents is up right now at Heavy Feather Review.  Also, my walk looked like this today: