This week’s other featured books, “Marion Hatley,” by Beth Castrodale and “Time Flash: Another Me,” by Lana Ayers, can be found by scrolling down below this post, or by clicking the author’s name on our Authors page.
THE BOOK: Ghosty Boo
PUBLISHED IN: 2016
THE AUTHOR: Kate Litterer
THE EDITOR: Nicolette Wong
THE PUBLISHER: A-Minor Press
SUMMARY: While Ghosty Boo is broken into five sections, it is meant to be read as one complex performance of communication between a young ghost and her older surviving self. They consider the interconnections between seeming disparate experiences with femininity, violence, curiosity, farm machinery, innocence and violation, the protection we seek in animal allies, sex and desire, and family.
THE BACK STORY: I wrote Ghosty Boo the summer after I finished my MFA. I had recently discovered gurlesque poets (think Danielle Pafunda, Lara Glenum, Chelsey Minnis) and was mega-inspired by their confidence to say what they needed to say by roughing up the style we normally associated with narrative poetry. During my MFA, I had written and workshopped poems about violence and systemic traumas, but it wasn’t until I finished that I felt 100% confident writing in the first person and getting spooky and funny in my poetry.
WHY THIS TITLE: Ghosty Boo is the rowdy, dark, little girl ghost of my own curious childhood. Growing up on an isolated farm in the middle of nowhere, sometimes in traumatic and neglectful situations, I was drawn to storytelling as a coping mechanism for both loneliness and keeping my chin up. This book gives the character Ghosty Boo an opportunity to finally speak through her childlike (albeit muddied and grotesque) lens by conversing back and forth with my present, adult voice.
WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: From my interview with Sonya Vatomsky (https://cosmonautsavenue.com/interview-kate-litterer/) : “I think there’s something really visceral that you can tap into when you ask a reader to observe the way a child would feel in a certain situation, knowing that the poet is translating for the child. I think poets writing about childhood are doing a sort of magic and showing respect by giving voice to what a child couldn’t say or broadcast in childhood’s powerlessness…My hope is that women and queers with trauma will be able to feel themselves seen and their experiences named in my book. I wonder if the spooky fantasy nature of the book will pull the reader into the world of the book, with an understanding that the characters are fantasy but also originated from the factual ways that people do hurt one another…I hope it makes people with trauma laugh and people without trauma listen.”
“Ghosty Boo lives inside of a book by Kate Litterer who lives with “a hard job to hurt out of revolted love.” Poetry is always asking us what is it we’re willing to do, and when we take into our own private worlds what’s sincere and true, fierce and relentlessly unforgiving are we able to ever feel safe again? Ghosty Boo has an answer for that.” — Dara Wier, author of You Good Thing
“It is love that drives this poetry, a love that lets the intelligence of the neglected glimmer and beat and breathe and crackle. Ghosty Boo circles through the magic and myth of a child raising her hand in the air, hoping a bird will land there. Here, Litterer stands up and offers us a talisman for walking in trauma, offers us talons.” — Kelin Loe, author of These Are the Gloria Stories
“This is a sometimes harrowing, sometimes raunchy, and always gripping book that chronicles abuse, neglect, and trauma. Don’t open the cover expecting poetic transcendence. Ghosty Boo is that rare book of unmitigated frankness. It casts a cold eye on the world and on the self and in so doing creates a memorable, puissant darkness.” – — Lynn Emanuel, author of The Nerve of It: Poems New and Selected
AUTHOR PROFILE: Kate is a poet, scholar, researcher, blogger, and writing consultant. She earned both an MFA degree in poetry (2013) and an MA degree in Rhetoric and Composition (2015) from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she is currently pursuing a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition and a Graduate Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies. Her dissertation focuses on the work of pioneer lesbian writer, Lisa Ben. Kate’s article about Ben was published in the Journal of Lesbian Studies in 2017. In addition to her scholarly research and poetry, she runs a blog called The Tending Year (www.thetendingyear.com), which aims to make self development and productivity accessible and applicable. To read more of Kate’s work, check out www.katelitterer.com/publications.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: I am fascinated with the way metaphor allows us to interpret and name our experiences in ways we may not otherwise have been able to. I am more and more drawn to seeing and using metaphor in cross-genre and cross-medium work, including art and healing practices.
SAMPLE CHAPTER: (Provide link). https://aminormagazine.com/2015/09/28/featured-excerpt-six-from-ghosty-boo/ and http://www.spoke2soonjournal.com/issue-27/#/from-ghosty-boo-by-kate-litterer/ (Spoke 2 Soon includes a recording)
WHERE TO BUY IT: Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Ghosty-Boo-Kate-Litterer/dp/0692507426/)
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: firstname.lastname@example.org