My Body is a Book of Rules (2014)
WGS Studies. Cultural Studies. Creative Nonfiction. Memoir.
Adopted at: The Ohio State University, Susquehanna University, DePaul University, University of Minnesota
As Elissa Washuta makes the transition from college kid to independent adult, she finds herself overwhelmed by the calamities piling up in her brain. When her mood-stabilizing medications aren’t threatening her life, they’re shoving her from depression to mania and back in the space of an hour. Her crisis of American Indian identity bleeds into other areas of self-doubt; mental illness, sexual trauma, ethnic identity, and independence become intertwined. . . read more
a slice from the cake made of air (2016)
WGS Studies. LGBTQIA+ Studies. Black & African American Studies. Race & Cultural Studies. Poetry.
A slice from the cake made of air processes the physical and mental trauma of abortion coupled with the desires for sexual and emotional love against a backdrop of contemporary culture with all the sexualization that comes with race, gender, and landscape. From front to back the book is wound through with a single poem whose language is permuted, translated, and retranslated (from English to English) as it cycles around abortion, both asking what artifact / do I resemble and stating small love / small / you failed it / in person. The poems directly confront the sexual self (This isn’t a real orgasm, a real patellar fatigue) and take up the thesis abstract as a malleable form for interrogating the inevitable intersections and overlaps of brains and bodies. Sexy and volatile, a slice from the cake made of air winds over and through itself, with no conclusions or solutions for the mess of living in the world. . . read more
WGS Studies. Transgender Studies. LGBTQIA+ Studies. Memoir.
SELF-ish is a narrative drawn from an international life, beginning with some early glimpses out at the world by a girl in a boy’s body. Chloe Schwenke was raised as Stephen in a Marine Corps family, and was sent off at age fourteen to “man-up” at a military academy. Later—and still embodied as a man—she ventured abroad to work in some of the roughest regions of Africa, the Gaza Strip, Turkey, and many other locales. Her far-flung global journey was matched in intensity by an inner identity and spiritual struggle and the associated ravages of depression, before she came to the revelation of being a transgender woman. . . read more
WGS Studies. Creative Nonfiction.
Chelsey Clammer poetically weaves personal stories into the narratives of different–yet connecting–fields of study. Through this, she explores experiences of trauma, mental illnesses, and the rhythmic and oscillating desires for solitude and connection. Using math to figure out the problem of an alcoholic father, weather to re-consider trauma, the history of sexism and the facts of its lingual effects, anatomy as a way to process memories, and even grammar to question our identities, these “facts” don’t work as metaphors, but frameworks and forms that naturally circle around one another. Each essay in Circadian stands as a witness to the brilliant and destructive cycles that create our lives. . . read more
Question Authority (2018)
WGS Studies. Creative Writing. Fiction.
Nora Buchbinder—formerly rich and now broke—would be the last woman in Brooklyn to claim #MeToo, but when a work assignment reunites her with her childhood best friend, Beth, she finds herself in a hall of mirrors. Was their eighth grade teacher Beth’s lover or her rapist? Where were the grown-ups? What should justice look like, after so much time has passed? And what can Nora do, now? Nora’s memories, and Beth’s, and those of their classmates, their former teacher, and members of his family, bring to light some of the ways we absorb and manage unbearable behavior. From denial to reinvention, self-pity to self-righteousness, endless questioning to intransigent certainty, readers will recognize the ripples sent into the lives of others by one broken man. . . read more
52 Men (2015)
WGS Studies. Creative Writing. Fiction.
In contemporary literary miniatures from a few lines to a few pages, Manhattan-raised Elise McKnight describes the men in her life who gradually reveal her: high-profile cultural leaders, writers and celebrities, as well as the down-to-earth waiter, student, and police officer. Fifty-two strange, romantic, and sexual interludes and relationships spark to life and disappear in the wind, leaving us to wonder: What is Elise’s power? What does she want and will she ever get it? Does she have a secret, and if so, what is it? . . . read more