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ISBN: 978-1-62557-077-2
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Categories Poetry

Infodemic

Publication Date: July 2024

Praise

In a pandemic where information is withheld, warped, and weaponized, Carol Guess’s biting, funny, musical poems and prose serve as an antidote to our cultural tendency to sugar coat, our collective amnesia, our “paradigm shift fatigue.” Infodemic digs through the dark absurdities of our shared trauma–the stunted intimacies of life through masks and Twitter and Zoom–alongside “the small messes of the heart.” In the wake of illness, divorce, heartbreak and loss, when loneliness becomes a room to live in, and the barrier between life and death feels like a trap door, Guess finds communion in her queer family, in “birds live tweeting sky” and racoons watching from the pines, in ghosts crowding her kitchen, smelling of engine oil and freshly baked bread, asking: “What does it mean to be close to another person?” With a directness almost disconcerting in its sharp ring of truth, these poems will make you sit up and listen to a speaker transformed: “The fox in my chest spins / so I don’t need a heart: / not heartless / but furred and fired up.”

–Rochelle Hurt, author of The J Girls: A Reality Show

I left my blue heart in the cat claws of this collection. This speaker who asks all the right questions: “My dude / why are you still a jerk didn’t tragedy change you?” Carol Guess’s Infodemic will make you laugh in public. It will hold you tenderly through haunted scenes of Bachelorette fantasy suites and neighborhoods that smell “like white collar crime.” I’ve never read a collection that stares so boldly at pandemic life, queer divorce, ghosts of this moment. This little fox who doesn’t bank online. Even in the face of such trauma and frustration, she jokes, “Did you know that if you marry someone and bring them coffee every morning and commit to having sex with only one person, you will both die?” Part of what distinguishes Guess is how she plays—her furiously unwavering way of writing dragons to tear off the prison gates.

–Taneum Bambrick, author of Intimacies, Received

About the Author

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.

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