In Carnival Bound (or, please unwrap me), Kara Dorris and Gwendolyn Paradice weave the freakshow into the fairy tale and let slip the spare limbs and internal attitudes of carnival mainstays. In these pages, princesses and sex workers in wheelchairs navigate the conventions of the three-ring while wet paper (wo)men and fortune-tellers in individual tents perform feats and teases for those that have the means to pay for it. Dorris and Paradice show that every circus act has a basis in the body in tandem depictions of disability that ask: What would you exchange in order to access a body? What would you access in order to exchange a body? What escapes are available at the carnival come to town—and for whom? This place blows. Let’s run away.
Buy When the Body is a Guardrail Today!
Check out my interview at the Jacksonville Courier–Sunday front page!
About When the Body is a Guardrail:
The Texas of childhood is Kara Dorris’s remembered paradise, though it might not be your walled garden. These graceful poems will introduce you to a world you did not know could be so beautiful, so heartbreaking. Here the poet asks, “are we only duty’s bit & whip,” and by the end of “When the Body is a Guardrail” you will understand the answer is “yes, and more.” Replete with cowboy churches, iron bridges, roadkill, flash floods, and guns, Dorris’s poems show us how the more ephemeral feelings can bloom in a hardscrabble world. A family (the sumptuous “we” in “we want/like the breath of air”) manages to develop a code of love and beauty across this piercing book.
Read a short interview at the Journal Courier!