“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.
Portland Book Festival 2018, baby!
“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.”
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.
- 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.
“Mandala” STONECOAST REVIEW
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.
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.
“Canary Song” CIDER PRESS REVIEW
published April 1, 2018
A poem about the inevitability of our bodily mortality and how we come to terms with that with stubborn hope but also resignation–I love the tension of that.
“When the doctor answers,
I listen for the clang. For
the beating of drums. For
a canary song cannonade. For
the loudest of blows.”
Hot off the press. “Cosmonaut’s Lament” will be in issue 10 of LONTAR any minute now. This final double-sized issue presents speculative writing from and about Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Korea and Vietnam. “Cosmonaut’s Lament” also received 2nd place in the 2017 Oregon Poetry Association New Poets Contest.
It’s only available in print. Grab a copy at: https://lontarjournal.com/issues/issue-10/
“The Queen’s School for Girls” STRANGE HORIZONS (selected by A.J. Odasso)
published April 9, 2018
Listen to a podcast and learn how this poem came to be with me, Ciro Faienza, and A.J. Odasso: http://strangehorizons.com/podcasts/podcast-the-queens-school-for-girls/
Review on Quick Sips: http://quicksipreviews.blogspot.com/2018/04/quick-sips-strange-horizons-04022018.html
“Alternate” ITHACA LIT
published April 8, 2018, spring issue
Alternate: as in, runner-up, substitute; as in, another chance (in) another life. As in, good-bye. Some people cry into their pillows. I crack my knuckles on some verse. This one was selected as one of six finalists for the 2017 Lauren K. Alleyne Difficult Fruit Poetry Prize.
“Rebellion” ABYSS & APEX
published April 2018
A sci-fi poem. Exploring the pathos of overthrowing our human overlords. I was inspired, in part, by the story of the Olympians defeating Cronus and the Titans.