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.