Black Lawrence Press
April 4, 2011

National Poetry Month Spotlight: Carol Guess

Seersucker Trestle

When we meet on the bridge, there’s a girl bound with twine. Suppose you have a husband. Suppose I have a wife. The girl vanishes, story we tell or were told. Fog and no sleep wrap the ferry in steam. No one comes to this trestle to dream. Birds nest in garbage, bags slouched on the shoreline. Breakable women wash leaves in a basin, sieve sandstone from bones: how we bury unknowns. Water would like us to know what it needs and it needs so much, so many girl parts. Tangled in seaweed and pickled in salt. The one who was pushed points her finger at me.

Q: Where is your favorite place to write?

A: I write alone, in quiet rooms. When that’s impossible, I scribble lines on sticky notes while walking or riding the bus.

Q: Do you remember the first poem you read that really blew your mind?

A: In high school and college we read canonical texts — I went to a “Great Books” school — so discovering Sylvia Plath’s work was like finding shards of pottery at an archaeological dig. Someone had been here before me, a woman filled with rage and passion. She taught me that my teachers were wrong: women could write, and write well. Learning that I wasn’t alone was the beginning of my education.

Q: What is the most interesting thing that has happened to you in the
last 12 months?

A: I’m currently feeding a young cat 5 times a day through a tube in her neck. Being this close to the basic elements of existence — food, water, sleep — has come to make the busy clutter of my ordinary days seem infinitely less important.

Carol Guess is the author of seven books of poetry and prose. Forthcoming collections include Doll Studies: Forensics (Black Lawrence Press), Darling Endangered (Brooklyn Arts Press), and Willful Machine (PS Publishing). Follow her here:

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