Only 5 left in stock

ISBN: 978-1-62557-904-1
Categories Poetry

How to Feel Confident with Your Special Talents

Publication Date: June 2014


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


These prose poems are the best kind of revolution: sly and funny, subversive and wise.

–Sarah McCarry, author of All Our Pretty Songs

Like everyone else, I am desperate to get it right, to know how to dress for the Ouija board or how to stop being in love with people I’ll never meet. The volume of what we don’t know, what we need to know NOW could drown a lonely surfer, but Guess & Olszewska have the skills and the code that will bring us back to life. They comb, channel, and distill the ether. They answer the questions beating so secretly in our chests, we didn’t know to ask them. They build a stunning pedagogy of the surfpressed. I would like to live in the world where these were the answers and allegories Googling provided. Let’s put on a dramatic amount of make-up, set a small fire for the smell of singed crosshair, and tell the birds nesting in the eaves that it’s over. This book emits a peculiar, beguiling, electric calm.

–Danielle Pafunda, author of Manhater and Iatrogenic: Their Testimonies

In their delightful How to Feel Comfortable with Your Special Talents, Carol Guess and Daniela Olszewska capture both the paralyzing anxiety of not knowing what to do or how to do it and the vertiginous thrill of being immersed in a limitless stream of instruction and advice. Zany and pointed, these stunning variations on the imperative mood revel in an infectious spirit of everyday daredevilry.

–Kathleen Rooney, author of Robinson Alone

About the Authors

Carol Guess

Carol Guess is the author of numerous books of poetry and prose. Recent Black Lawrence Press titles include Doll Studies: Forensics and With Animal (in collaboration with Kelly Magee). Forthcoming books include a short story collection, Sleep Tight Satellite (Tupelo Press), and a hybrid collaboration with Rochelle Hurt, Book of Non (Broadstone Books). A frequent collaborator, she writes across genres and illuminates historically marginalized material. In 2014 she was awarded the Philolexian Award for Distinguished Literary Achievement by Columbia University. She is Professor of English at Western Washington University, where she teaches Queer Literature and Creative Writing.

Visit Author Page

Daniela Olszewska

Daniela Olszewska is the author of three full-length collections of poetry: cloudfang : : cakedirt (Horse Less Press, 2012), True Confessions of An Escapee From The Capra Facility For Wayward Girls (Spittoon Press, 2013), and Citizen J (Artifice Books, 2013). With Carol Guess, she is the co-author of How To Feel Confident With Your Special Talents (Black Lawrence Press, 2014) and Human-Ghost Hybrid Project (Black Lawrence Press, forthcoming).

Visit Author Page