National Poetry Month Spotlight: Carol Guess

As many of you know, April is National Poetry Month! To celebrate, we will be featuring a poem buy a BLP author every weekday for the rest of the month. Kicking us off is Carol Guess, who’s new poetry collection, Doll Studies: Forensics, was just published by Black Lawrence Press last month.
Fallen Medicine
The heat is coming. It hovers in honey by the side of the road. There are gradations of being alone. My skirt slit charcoal, pink beneath. Past the hem that hangs in pleats. Shoes are in the dark about it all, be-laced. God’s watching us on Google Earth. Through the pixels, the roses. The pre-war houses. The train. Coal covers everything: your tilted hat, the incident of you.
Q: What is your writing process?
A: I’m obsessed with the sentence, and with making tiny boxes out of perfect sentences arranged in rows. Writing is an extension of listening and seeing. I’m an introvert, an observer. I watch and listen and then obsessively order words into rectangles. Over time I’ve come to accept that I go through long periods of not writing, then short bursts of writing complete manuscripts, one or two poems a day. I’m okay with this. There’s no best way, just whatever works for you as an artist.
Q: Is there an exciting poet (emerging or established) whose work you just discovered this year?
A: I’m currently fascinated by Andrew Grace’s new book Sancta. I love his use of compression and unusual imagery. It’s also a very different book from his previous works, and I like that — I like watching someone evolve and take risks.
Q: If you could go on a one-week writing retreat anywhere in the world, where would you travel?
A: As my friends can tell you, I wouldn’t travel at all. The best writing retreat I can imagine would be at home, without papers to grade or office politics to fret over. I love being at home, surrounded by cats and dogs. I love stillness and silence and domestic detail.
Carol Guess is the author of ten books of poetry and prose, including Tinderbox Lawn and Doll Studies: Forensics. She is Professor of English at Western Washington University. Find her here: