Arkansas Author: Carolyn Guinzio
Lives in: Fayetteville
Books: Three full-length poetry collections:
West Pullman (Bordighera, 2005)
Quarry (Parlor Press, 2008)
& (Red Hen, coming in 2012)
What are your books about?
My first book, West Pullman, revolves around the neighborhood of the title, on the south side of Chicago. One sequence in the book is about the birds on Laysan, an island in the North Pacific. Themes of impermanence, disappearance and extinction are what link these two seemingly disparate ideas. Having lived most of my life in Chicago, it was gone to me as a home, and it is full of neighborhoods that are constantly changing. I’ve also always been interested in birds, especially the birds on tiny ecosystems that are drastically affected by something as small as a seed falling off someone’s boot. Even the smallest, plainest things have significance and make in impact.
West Pullman won the 2004 Bordighera Poetry Prize and was published in an English/Italian edition in 2005.
In Quarry, the perspective moves out quite a bit. Quarry can mean prey, it can mean a rock mine. In a sense the earth itself is a quarry, a rock we mine for our lives. Our relationship to, and interactions with, the natural world are further explored in this book. The opening sequence is derived from a 1955 edition of The Week-End Book, an all-purpose manual for English city dwellers to take with the on visits to the country.
Quarry was a 2007 selection for the Free Verse Editions Series on Parlor Press and appeared in 2008.
My forthcoming third book, &, opens with a search party, suspended between the missing and the found. This book dwells in the tension between two things, known and unknown. It explores how the nature of what we suspect and what we know well is always in flux. The ending sequence revolves around hours spent at the side of the dying, for whom the known is ending.
Judge Alice Quinn selected & for the To The Lighthouse/A Room Of Her Own Poetry
Prize. The book will appear on Red Hen Press in 2012.
What inspires you to write?
I don’t write autobiographically at all, but my work is very much informed by the details of my life. I live in the Arkansas Ozarks with my husband and two children, and these are the central facts from which all my work springs, though none of that is explicit in the work. Arkansas has graduated from being “where I live” to “where my children are growing up,” which is something altogether more important.
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