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A genuinely shocking transformation: Alex Carrigan

It’s been about five years since my story “How I Lost My Virginity in a Lobster Trap” appeared in Stories About Penises, and it’s genuinely shocking how much has changed since then. Since the last time I appeared on the Guts Publishing blog, I’ve been hard at work on a variety of projects. For the most part, I’m still working on book reviews, and Please Welcome to the Stage… has hit some development snags, but a lot about my writing has changed.

In March 2022, I managed to publish my first chapbook of poetry with Alien Buddha Press. May All Our Pain Be Champagne is a collection of 16 centos created entirely from the Twitter accounts of various figures across the Real Housewives television franchise. It was a project I worked on over the winter where I poured over hundreds of accounts and thousands of tweets to make this absurd collection of realness from the unreal. The collection was also a finalist for Perennial Press’s First Chapbook contest in 2022.

The response and joy I had creating that lead to me wanting to push the concept further, and that lead me to a reality TV franchise that had a more active base of alumni on Twitter: Drag Race. In June 2023, my first full-length collection, Now Let’s Get Brunch was published with Querencia Press, creating poems from the accounts of 40 queens across the international franchise. It was a very audacious project, but I’ve gotten some hilarious reactions as people read poems where these queens discuss mental health, toxic fandoms, queer joy, and popular media in as many characters as Twitter would allow.

The publication of these two books has also shifted me more towards writing poetry than prose. I’ve been writing and consistently publishing poetry in print and online since late 2021, including in publications like South Florida Poetry Journal, Sage Cigarettes, The Broadkill Review, Fifth Wheel Press, Cutbow Quarterly, and more. I’ve since received one Best of the Net Nomination in 2022 (for one of my drag queen centos in Sage Cigarettes) and Pushcart Nominations in 2022 and 2023 in Bell Press for my poem "Four Women Laying Domino Trains" and in Broadkill Review for my poem "No Images for Infinity."

Going forward in 2024, I’m continuing to write more and send work for publication. I’ve been doing monthly writing challenges a few times a year now, where I write a poem a day for a month based on specific challenges. I’ve done ekphrastic poetry written after reading a poetry collection from cover-to-cover, duplex poems based off a line from another poet, and more. I’m also looking to create a collection of original poetry that I’m still in the early stages of, but that I’ll hopefully see published in the coming years. I also recently was one of eight poets in Alexandria, VA to have their poetry featured on the DASH buses and trolleys, so I’m excited to see my poetry in the wild from April-August this year.

If you would like to follow my work, I would recommend you see my archive of works on my author website or follow me on Twitter @carriganak. I hope to continue pursuing poetry and attempting unique writing challenges, and I hope you follow me as I do so.

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Alex Carrigan (he/him) is a Pushcart-nominated editor, poet, and critic from Alexandria, VA. He is the author of Now Let’s Get Brunch: A Collection of RuPaul’s Drag Race Twitter Poetry (Querencia Press, 2023) and May All Our Pain Be Champagne: A Collection of Real Housewives Twitter Poetry (Alien Buddha Press, 2022).

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