Set on the margins of Seattle, beneath bridges and on the banks of waterways, in strip clubs and flooded farmland, the prose poems in Tinderbox Lawn illuminate the intersection of domesticity and bohemia, orthodoxy and passion. Each untitled block of prose constitutes a novel-in-miniature, with shadow characters and shards of plot. The intensity of Carol Guess’s poems builds through lyrical language and recurring images, capturing the moment when “the small mad heart at the center of things stalls mid-tick.”
«This is such deep, rich writing. Tinderbox Lawn feels like dreams you forgot as you walk through your day but it’s your life. I mean we never think as deeply as we live and Carol Guess tries to braid those strands and succeeds. I love being in this work.»
Eileen Myles, author of Sorry, Tree
«Tinderbox Lawn will light you on fire. The music is broken glass; the buildings in flame. Even the language is bruised ‘blue and purple.’ Richly steeped in the violence of loss, these poems are a tea ‘so sharp it cuts teacups to shards.’ And one wants to keep drinking—for the war planes and train whistles, the queer girls in dresses, for Guess’s vulnerable and unbreakable voice.»
Jen Currin, author of The Sleep of Four Cities
«Carol Guess’s poems are sexy, intuitive, angry, and hopeful. These lyrical narratives measure the impossibly small distance between love and fear. They are a reminder that we’re all vulnerable little vessels filled by the people who can break us.»
Zachary Schomburg, author of The Man Suit
Carol Guess is the author of two novels, Seeing Dell (Cleis Press, 1996) and Switch (Calyx Books,1998); a memoir, Gaslight (Odd Girls Press, 2001); and a collection of poetry, Femme’s Dictionary (Calyx Books, 2004). Forthcoming titles include a poetry collection, Love Is A Map I Must Not Set On Fire (VRZHU Press) and a novel, Homeschooling (PS Publishing). She is an associate professor of English at Western Washington University, and lives on the Washington coast with her spouse, writer Elizabeth Colen. Visit her website here.