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With Animal

Publication Date: May 2015


Participating in the 2024 PopSugar reading challenge? Read With Animal  for prompt number 23: a book that features dragons.


“Enter into the unexpected-human progeny not as Homo sapiens but as a dragon, a school of fish, a foal, a clutch of rattlesnakes, a spider. The mothers wrestle with the surprise births of furred, finned and winged offspring, and then worry: how will my baby fit in at school? what happens when she literally leaves the nest? Part parenting manual, part cautionary tale, Guess and Magee provide a smorgasbord of genetic tales and travails. Each piece takes you into startling worlds of brilliant imaginations set loose.”

-Sara Greenslit, DVM, author of As If a Bird Flew By Me

Wondrous and wonderful; a virtual feast of imagination, humor, and heart. The rare example of a short story collection that grows and builds upon itself til it becomes a ladder to something somewhere else.”

-Ben Loory, author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day

In allusive and poetic prose, Carol Guess and Kelly Magee take their readers into a world where human parents give birth to animal babies. Yet the underlying concern of With Animal is wholly human: how do we come to love, and how do we know when to hold on to it or let it go? These crystalline narratives explore ideas of instinct, caregiving, desire, and need, boldly facing the darkest secrets of parenthood as well as the greatest joys-and unearthing the complex moment when the two meet.”

-Kristiana Kahakauwila, author of This is Paradise

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.

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Kelly Magee

Kelly Magee is the author of Body Language (UNT Press 2006), winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize, With Animal (Black Lawrence Press 2015), co-written with Carol Guess, and The Neighborhood (Gold Wake Press, 2016), as well as several collaborative books of prose and poetry. Her work has appeared in Gulf Coast, Crazyhorse, Kenyon Review, Indiana Review, Booth, Barrelhouse, and others. She teaches in the undergraduate and MFA programs at Western Washington University and can be found at kellyelizabethmagee.com.

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