Thursday, February 17, 2011

Interview @ The Rejectionist

One of the best parts of teaching takes place
in the future, when students go on to become
artists, writers, and teachers who inspire others,
especially me! That's the case with The Rejectionist,
whose wit, intelligence, syntax, and politics continue
to thrill me. If you aren't reading The Rejectionist
regularly, you should be. Here's our interview:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Art of Compression

Check out this nifty new journal, as well as its
accompanying press, Matter Press:
photo: Diem Chau
In my graduate fiction workshop, we've been talking
about the power of hybrid work to encompass
the best traits of each genre. I like the phrase
"compressed creative arts" so much; finally
an aesthetic I can call my own! Not fiction, not nonfiction,
not poetry -- just tiny things. And when I google
"tiny things" I come up with this fabulous blog:
and from there to Diem Chau's art:
photo: Diem Chau

and now I'm back to dolls and miniatures,
the subject of my forthcoming book Doll Studies:
Forensics. My grad class is also exploring dance
as a trigger for writing, so I've been reflecting on
ways my background in dance (ballet) might have
influenced me as a writer. I know that compression
is absolutely central to my aesthetic, and that I actually
feel it in my body when I write. Pulling in and up,
like dancing on pointe. Maybe if I were a marathon
runner I'd be writing long, loopy novels. And of course,
these days I'm not dancing, but I do spend lots of time
in a very hot room, practicing Bikram yoga. Central
to this practice (contrary to popular thought on yoga)
is compression, not stretching. Take rabbit pose:
photo: Bikram Yoga White Rock
or standing head to knee:
photo: Bikram Yoga White Rock
I wonder sometimes, when I'm sweating in hundred degree heat,
how much of an influence a practice based on contraction
and release, based on compressing the body (rather than
stretching) has had on my obsession with prose blocks.
In other news, I recommend livestream Al Jazeera
and Rachel Maddow for updates on the Egyptian revolution:
image: Al Jazeera
Finally, because laughter is the best form of decompression,
here's "Julie & Brandy in your box office." Love them!
photo:Julie Goldman & Brandy Howard

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snowed out

Disappointing news: I'm snowed out of AWP.
My flights through Chicago were canceled, so
I'm home, reading my conference paper to my cat.
Safe travels to you all, and please feel free to email
me if you've got questions about any of my books
or my panel presentation topic. I'm always happy
to chat on email: carolannguess (at) gmail (dot) com
Maybe it's time for AWP to schedule a conference
in a warmer location. Seattle or Portland anyone?