“Under those stars
that are not stars
I go toward home and I arrive

a little bit more
each day.”

Volume 34 of FOLIO has arrived! My poem “Stars That Are Not Stars” is included.

You can grab a copy here:

I’m in RHINO and now I’ve died. This poem was selected for publication as part of the Founder’s Prize contest. I’m humbled and thrilled and filled with a wicked fire for Art and Beauty, all that’s worth living for in this world.

“Notes from a Matrix Operator” RHINO
published April 1, 2019
Buy an issue at: https://rhinopoetry.org/buy/rhino-2019

New poem, folks!

“Topsy” GLASS
published February 1, 2019

Topsy was a captive Asian elephant put to death in 1903, allegedly for crushing and killing a man (in the elephant’s defense, the guy threw a lit cigar in her mouth), though she was probably put down because she had proved too unruly for her handlers. The event was filmed in Luna Park on Coney Island. She was originally going to be hanged but that was deemed too cruel so they decided electrocution would be ‘more humane.’ It was a dramatic end to a life held in unthinkable cruelty and bondage. Yes, it’s an infuriating story, and when I first read about it, I knew I wanted to bring that into a poem somehow. On the surface, “Topsy” is a narrative told from the viewpoint of a woman who has lost someone close, someone she loves obviously. But love is complicated: love can be a burden, it can be its own bondage. The loss unlocks something other than grief. It unlocks a suppressed fury, but not a fury born out of anger; rather, one born out of a sense of bewildering freedom. Like being cut loose and left screaming in the wind. This poem is an attempt to express that catharsis when we become untethered by change.

Read at: http://www.glass-poetry.com/journal/2019/february/deguzman-topsy.html

A short story for your reading pleasure! I’m really proud of this one.

“Dark Forst” SAND
published November 30, 2018

Order the print issue here (PDF to be posted later): https://www.newsstand.co.uk/sandjournal

“The island is famous for its starlit nights, secluded coves, rich corals, and, more notoriously, for its metaphysical hit men. They are known as mananambal, legendary healers who practice a pre-colonial type of medicine, and sometimes inflict illness. Hardly something for the tourist brochure, right?”

*** Author notes on the ending (SPOILER ALERT!!!):

For me, the protagonist’s journey is is about finding some sort of closure from the tragedies she’s experienced. She’s looking for some healing, quite literally, from these healers. At the same time, she holds on to some doubt about whether it’s all real, or that it actually works; it’s all wrapped up in her not wanting to let go. What I wanted for this character was an acknowledgment that she CAN believe (hence, this place is truly a holy city) even if she decides it’s all hocus pocus…that a sense of faith (in a non-religious sense) does matter anyway. This place she’s been so terrified of, that’s wrapped up in legend, doesn’t really have monsters… but it does have ghosts. And she can live with that, and in her own way, move on.

“All art is this: love, which has been poured out over enigmas —and all works of art are enigmas surrounded, adorned, enveloped by love.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

The mantra goes down better in fluorescent lights.

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms, or books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

  • from Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet"

two poems: “A Haunting” and “Shape Shift” HOBART
published September 25, 2018

This line, one my faves, carries so much emotional weight for me:
“An iceberg’s color is determined
by how it interacts with light.
What color would I be
under your absent gaze?”

Several readers have reached out, telling me that "Shape Shift," in particular, has moved them. That poem came from a very personal place and it’s endlessly fascinating how even those bespoke moments of crisis and trauma are nonetheless relatable. To me, that’s the power of poetry. We are not abstractions from each other. Yes, we are individuals and we alone must fight our own battles, but we are not alone. We are not alone.

Read the poem online at: http://www.hobartpulp.com/web_features/two-poems-6f1bda03-a749-4d2f-818a-1aae3f856a45

“How to Fix a Dancer When it Breaks” UNCANNY Magazine
published September 4, 2018

Read the poem online at: https://uncannymagazine.com/article/how-to-fix-a-dancer-when-it-breaks/

Introduction from the issue’s editor S. Qiouyi Lu:
“Even without a specific prompt for the poetry, several themes emerged in the final selections for Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction. Five poems make up the first half: “Ctenophore Soul” by Rita Chen, “core/debris/core” by Rose Lemberg, “How to Fix a Dancer When it Breaks” by Genevieve DeGuzman, “the body argonautica” by Robin M. Eames, and “All the Stars Above the Sea” by Sarah Gailey. Several poems comment on bodies, expectations for bodies, expectations for behavior as expected by certain kinds of bodies, and how there are consequences when bodies don’t conform to those expectations. “Ctenophore Soul” channels a grander feeling of something sublime, whereas “core/debris/core” carries more of a rebellious tone; “How to Fix a Dancer When it Breaks,” “the body argonautica,” and “All the Stars Above the Sea” paint shades of subtlety in the shifting emotional reactions to the difficult circumstances in which the narrators find themselves.

"The second set of poems, “Convalescence” by Alicia Cole, “hypothesis for apocalypse” by Khairani Barokka, “Spatiotemporal Discontinuity” by Bogi Takács, and “You Wanted Me to Fly” by Julia Watts Belser echo similar ambivalence but also agency over bodies. Ultimately, it is the agency over the narrators’ selves and narratives that drew me to all the pieces that I selected for Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction—there is not only a sense of self in a narrative that reads as highly intimate in each piece, but also an echo of a larger experience, a sliver of something that makes up a whole. In ordering the pieces for the table of contents, I wanted to pair poems together that seemed to be echoing each other, too: “Ctenophore Soul” and “core/debris/core” in revealing bodies; “How to Fix a Dancer When it Breaks” and “the body argonautica” in exploring imagery of healing, whether the healing is considered positive or not; “Convalescence” and “hypothesis for apocalypse” with their strong roots in such vivid red imagery; and “Spatiotemporal Discontinuity” and “You Wanted Me to Fly” with both of them hearkening to flying imagery.”

See the issue: https://uncannymagazine.com/issues/uncanny-magazine-issue-twenty-four/

Submitting my work to contests can sometimes feel futile, a shot in the dark in a very long night. But I keep sending up the light. I keep waiting for the fireworks.

The Almosts…

  • finalist, Puerto del Sol 2018 Poetry Contest (judge: Farid Matuk)
  • runner-up, Submittable 2018 Eliza So Fellowship (judge: Sun Yung Shin)
  • finalist, River Styx 2018 International Poetry Contest (judge: Maggie Smith)
  • finalist, Atticus Review 2018 Winter Poetry Contest (judge: Aimee Nezhukumatathil)
  • finalist, Split This Rock 2018 Sonia Sanchez-Langston Hughes Poetry Prize (judge: Sonia Sanchez)
  • finalist, Ithaca Lit 2017 Difficult Fruit Poetry Prize (judge: Rachel Eliza Griffiths, offered publication)

“Night Terrors” ROGUE AGENT
published August 1, 2018

So I’ve had these insane night terrors where I’ve screamed out loud in bed, absolutely in the grip of a nightmare that wouldn’t let me go, even as I’d seemingly woken up. Damn, those were visceral and real, so real, it made me question the nature of my reality. It involved an unforgettable, physical sense of dislocation from the world around me, my own body. Of course I had to write about it.

For this poem, the night terrors experienced by the speaker are those of world-shifting loss. A loss so profound that she wishes for the return of that loved one, even if it means in a form that’s monstrous, uncanny, claws clattering on the floorboards. Because that vacuum, that hole, the empty spot on the bed, is worse.

“Look how the light makes itself threadbare
behind the finger fronds of my hand.

Look at these palms stained ink black.
Hamsa on my cheek, hellion breath.”

Read online: http://www.rogueagentjournal.com/gdeguzman

two poems: “World Without End” and “These Stone Hearts” NICE CAGE
published July 15, 2018

Read the poems here: http://nicecage.com/issues/006/deguzman.html.

So excited to be a part of this new journal. The editors reached out to me and amazingly I had just the poems for their issue “Climate Change And/Or Die” rattling around.

These poems take place on some otherworldly realm of dystopian destruction and reckoning. I don’t usually go full-tilt on my speculative verse, but these landed in my brain and made indelible crop circles. I couldn’t ignore them. (I think I might have just finished watching BLADE RUNNER 2049.) In any case, these are weird, oddball babies. I’m glad they found a home at NICE CAGE.

“In other words, how do you overcome those sharp edges of pain and resentment that only arise in family relationships?”

I talk about how “How to Fold a Paper Crane” came about in my Author Note in THE TOWN CRIER.

Read at: http://towncrier.puritan-magazine.com/author-notes/genevieve-deguzman/

published June 26, 2018

Check out the issue here: http://www.stonecoastreview.org/issue-9-contributors/. You can grab a copy at Kelly’s Books to Go (https://kellysbookstogo.com/stonecoast-review/).

I grew up in Southern California and watched the news about the raging wildfires in late 2017 with a kind of frozen horror. The Thomas Fire that burned through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and through Los Padres National Forest has since become California’s largest wildfire on record, burning a staggering 281,893 acres during its stoic march through the hillsides. A story caught my eye in late January recounting efforts by wildlife officials to treat two black bears with terrible burns. They used a novel approach that involved putting sterilized tilapia fish skin on the burns. The collagen in the skin accelerates healing. Vets sewed on the fish skins and then wrapped the area with corn husks and rice skin. Two bears, one of them pregnant, underwent the procedure on their paws and have since been released.

The fish skin covered paws made me think of chimeras and something mythic and eternal, but it also had a temporary quality to it: the bandages would eventually wear out; the bear would be released and move on. This poem is an attempt to capture all those disparate elements.

“How to Fold a Paper Crane” THE PURITAN
published June 12, 2018

The crane is emblematic of origami, the first creature one makes in origami 101. Also, a crane is an animal always ready to fly. It is a creature of trademark stillness but also of movement. And that to me felt somewhat emblematic of the poem’s themes of regret and forgiveness, of the burdens of past mistakes.

Read in the spring issue: http://puritan-magazine.com/how-to-fold-a-paper-crane/

And the winners are … Paul Tran and Sheree Winslow. Read the full announcement here: https://blog.submittable.com/2018/06/2018-eliza-so-fellowship-winners/

Yes, I came close, as an “official runner-up” (along with two others). It’s always bittersweet to find out you didn’t get that fellowship. This award would have been an amazing opportunity. (Ahem, a residency in Vegas! Partnerships with The Writer’s Block and Plympton!) But even if I didn’t nab the win, I’m so thrilled to have titillated the jury over at Submittable. I’m forever grateful for the opportunity, and there’s always next year!

“Jet Propulsion Laboratories, Pasadena” REED MAGAZINE
published May 7, 2018

This poem came to me after reading about NASA’s Cassini mission (Oct 15, 1997 – Sep 15, 2017) and its dramatic end– a forced crash into Saturn. The countdown to its descent was oddly immediate and poignant. I’ve never been moved before by a space mission, even when Voyager left our solar system to head out into the great beyond. There was just something especially raw about this craft being programmed to go down, to commit suicide essentially.

The 151st edition of Reed Magazine is dedicated to California and everything it represents.

It’s only available in print. Order a copy at: https://www.reedmag.org/product-page/reed-151

About the issue: A land of superlatives, California conjures both a place to live and a way of life, a state and a state of mind. These pages honor the beauty, heritage, and diversity of the Golden State with nonfiction by Pulitzer Prize-winner William Finnegan and acclaimed travel writer and editor Don George and fiction by PEN/Faulkner winner T.C. Boyle and National Book Award-winner Ursula K. Le Guin. These established voices are joined by new and emerging writers and artists whose multifarious styles epitomize the life and legacy of the nation’s sunset coast. While no single volume could capture the diverse culture, geography, and spirit of a land as vast and varied as California, this year’s Reed Magazine samples the ethos of a state forever on the frontier of innovation and discourse.

“Mapmakers” FOLIO
published May 7, 2018

I started this poem in 1997, back when I was in college, and it has morphed and evolved and mutated into this dual-voice poem I’m so proud of.

This year’s issue of FOLIO (volume 33) is focused on the theme of crossroads and intersections, places where “two paths, two ideas, meet, converge, collide, or divide.”

It’s only available in print. Order a copy at: https://foliolitjournal.submittable.com/submit/114264/subscription-only-folio-volume-33-2018-single-issue-purchase-preorder

About this issue: In keeping with Folio tradition, 33 features award-winning pieces selected by members of our own American University faculty. As a nonfiction reader for Folio, I can attest to the longing and loveliness of “Istanbul Gone,” by Jesse O’Reilly-Conlin, the winning essay selected by Richard McCann. The issue also features Kyle Dargan’s poetry selection, JoHannah Ash’s fiercely beautiful “Refrigerator Theory,” and Dolen Perkins-Valdez’s fiction selection, the heartwrenching “Tespih ve Doğan” by Gwen Goodkin.

The issue also features stellar contributions from: JoHannah Ash, Roger Camp, Genevieve DeGuzman, Jaydn DeWald, Jonathan Duckworth, Robert Evory, Gwen Goodkin, Emily Greenberg, Ryan J. House, Cindy King, Arielle Korman, Dana Kroos, Rosa Lane, Dana Mich, Norman “Buzz” Minnick, Mark Neely, Toti O’Brien, Jesse O’Reilly-Conlin, Ricardo Pau-Llosa, G.B. Ryan, David Starkey, Daryl Sznyter, Ursula Villarreal-Moura, Adam Webster, Anni Wilson, and Charles Wuest.

There are also two delightful craft interviews in this issue. Folio Editor-in-Chief AR Castellano talked with Elena Passarello about her gorgeous essay collection on famous animals, Animals Strike Curious Poses. They talk about the concept of a native art language, the glories of over-researching, and how writing an essay is like building a ship in a bottle. Creative Nonfiction Editor Lilah Katcher spoke with Carmen Maria Machado, author of the genre-breaking Her Body and Other Parties, about the secret perks of online publication, books that evolve with their readers, the crafting of narrative voice, and how organizing a short story collection is like making a mixtape.