Sunday, October 26, 2014

Forthcoming books and an update

I've neglected you, Dear Reader. Please accept my apology. I've been contemplating the origins of candy cigarettes and staring at paintings like this:
and this:

and this:
-- paintings by Terry Leness, a Seattle-based artist whose work captures the melancholy streets of post-suburban, pre-yuppie Ballard, where I lived for several years. I'm haunted by houses that haven't lost hope but have lost the feeling of home, which white America often associates with material possessions and structured leisure time ("vacations," "shopping," "roadside attractions"). I'm grateful to Terry for allowing me to use "Red Stripe" on the cover of Instructions for Staging, my second collaboration with Kristina Marie Darling. Here's a description of the book, out any day now from Patasola Press:
This second collaborative book by Kristina Marie Darling and Carol Guess depicts the ruins of what once was a marriage.  A husband and wife divide what had always been shared, and prepare to sell their house---haunted by past affairs, strange artifacts, and snowy owls---to unsuspecting buyers.  As the narrative unfolds, Darling and Guess make use of a wide range of literary forms, which include flash fictions, footnotes, and self-erasures, creating a hybrid text that is both polyphonic and thematically unified.  Wildly imaginative and lively in its descriptions, Instructions for Staging asks the reader to consider exactly what betrayals their realtor is capable of, who would ever fake a business trip to Wichita, and what you will find in a room you once thought was empty.
In addition to Instructions for Staging, you can look forward to two collaborative books co-written with Kelly Magee. The first, With Animal, is a short story collection forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in 2015 with cover art by Todd Horton. The second, The Reckless Remainder, is a prose poetry collection forthcoming from Noctuary Press in 2016, with cover art by Corinne Botz.
Todd Horton, "Together"
Meanwhile, I've started two new projects, inspired by trees, Steven Wise, Choir of Young Believers, and Thom Yorke. The first is a short story collection co-written with Elizabeth J. Colen. After writing the initial story, I could see the collection laid out like a map of lined streets. Other than interlinked characters, the only connection is a pack of candy cigarettes, but sometimes that's enough, isn't it? And I've also just started a single author poetry collection inspired by Terry Leness's strange motels and the eerie architecture here in Bellingham. Also, the rain is back. I like it best -- everyone's quiet and private.  Everyone goes indoors and stops messing with lawn mowers and leaf blowers. Their secrets grow inside and the hot summer sun that makes everyone interested in "having fun" and "parties" draws a circle around itself. Fades out over the water. It's gray and blue and steel here, the colors of my Swedish people, something I know by blood. And this is the season when I miss my father the most. I go looking for lost things in new work and sometimes I find them.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

American Microreviews: An Interview

Thanks to Kristina Marie Darling for interviewing me about F IN at American Microreviews. You can read our Q&A here
Today I'm sitting with two dogs and a laptop, trying to remember how to use line breaks, and counting words for a new project that involves both line breaks and word restraints (gasp!). To that end I've read Joe Massey's "Listening to Joseph Ceravolo's Home Recordings" about 25 times today, and I just might read it again right now: 

LISTENING TO JOSEPH CERAVOLO'S HOME RECORDINGS

In the room
of a memory

of a room.
Static

brackets each
syllable.

Afternoon
effaces the floor

while the
pills take

effect.
All I will

amount to:
the hours

these walls
enclose

as song.

* * *
Joseph Massey. Poem from Areas of Fog (Shearsman Books, 2009). Reprinted with the permission of the author. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

New Book! How To Feel Confident With Your Special Talents

It's here! Daniela Olszewska and I are proud to announce our book baby: a collection of poems based on wikiHow entries. How to Feel Confident with Your Special Talents is available from Black Lawrence Press, with a beautiful cover by Corinne May Botz. As always, I'm happy to give readings and interviews; send out review copies; and correspond with students if you choose to assign my book in your classroom. Daniela and I had a great time reading in Palo Alto, and we'd love to hear from the authors of the original wikiHow entries if you stumble on our work. 

In these miniature mock instruction manuals, lyric poetry meets wiki, 
generating wickedly funny prose poems based on the website wikiHow.

New Short Fiction & Interview

I'm delighted to be included in the most recent issue of The Ilanot Review, which focuses on the theme of conflict. Here's my collaborative short story, "Damage Control," co-written with Kelly Magee. 
I'm also happy to be featured on the Indiana Review blog. Here's an interview about writing and publishing conducted by Joy Travis, which also serves as a reminder that I'm judging Indiana Review's Half-K Prize. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Video: wikiHow Reading @ wikiHaus!

When Daniela Olszewska and I began writing our wikiHow poems a few years ago, we never expected to be invited to wikiHow Headquarters to read from our work.
But the folks at wikiHow were curious about How to Feel Confident with Your Special Talents, and of course, we were excited to meet the people who write, edit, program, design, and envision all of the fascinating articles that make up this ever-changing encyclopedia of knowledge and culture. Yesterday we met up in Palo Alto, where Daniela slurped soup in a vegan cafe, and we decided which poems to share with the crew. Check out our reading on YouTube, here.
While we were snapping photos of the house that houses headquarters, we spotted Kermit the Dog. 
Then we ate pizza, and Jack introduced us. A very good time was had by all. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

New Story: With Hippo

Kelly Magee and I have a new short story, "With Hippo," in the latest edition of Storm Cellar. Enjoy!

Seattle Action for Elephants!

On Friday, July 25th there will be a request for summary judgment for the lawsuit Fortgang v. Woodland Park Zoo. This lawsuit is an attempt by Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants to hold the Seattle Zoo accountable for providing basic financial and animal welfare information about its treatment of the elephants in its care. Animal advocates are welcome to attend this public event. Let's fill the courtroom with elephant advocates!
What: Request for summary judgment for Fortgang v. Woodland Park Zoo
When: Friday, July 25th, 2014 at 1:30pm
Where: King County Superior Court. 516 Third Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104
Honorable Judge Jean Rietschel’s courtroom.