Carol Guess is one of my favorite hybrid genre writers. I’ve been somewhat familiar with her prose poetry for a couple of years, having first discovered her collection Tinderbox Lawn at an AWP book fair. (The person working the Rose Metal Press table called it cross-genre and I was sold.)
Doll Studies: Forensics is a collection Guess published earlier this year through Black Lawrence Press, and it is delightfully strange. The book is actually based on another book, a collection of photography by Corinne May Botz titled The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death. In that book, Botz documents the work of forensic pathologist Frances Glessner Lee, who recreated real crime scenes in miniature. (You can look through some of Botz’s Nutshell photographs in the gallery here on her website.) I’m fascinated by Lee’s dioramas, and observing how Guess linguistically reconstructs them proved fascinating as well.
I wrote a review of Guess’s collection, and it was published on HTMLGIANT today; you can read it here (and then go check out the book)!
By the way, there’s also a film about Glessner Lee’s crime scene dioramas (narrated by John Waters, oddly enough); here’s the trailer.