Mcsweeney's Literary Arts Fund
A finalist for the Believer Book Award
Emerson Whitney writes, "Really, I can't explain myself without making a mess." What follows is that mess-electrifying, gorgeous, defiant.
At Heaven's center, Whitney seeks to understand their relationship to their mother and grandmother, those first windows into womanhood and all its consequences. Whitney retraces a roving youth in deeply observant, psychedelic prose-all the while folding in the work of thinkers like Judith Butler, Donna Haraway, and C. Riley Snorton-to engage transness and the breathing, morphing nature of selfhood.
An expansive examination of what makes us up, Heaven wonders what role our childhood plays in who we are. Can we escape the discussion of causality? Is the story of our body just ours? With extraordinary emotional force, Whitney sways between theory and memory in order to explore these brazen questions and write this unforgettable book.
"A forceful act of writing."
-Eileen Myles, author of Chelsea Girls
"A poetic, candid, probing reckoning with childhood, the maternal, gender, and the possibilities of theory which will both speak to its time and outlast it."
-Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts
"An incisive, nuanced inquiry into gender and body."
-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Emerson Whitney is the author of the poetry title Ghost Box (Timeless Infinite Light, 2014). Emerson teaches in the BFA creative writing program at Goddard College and is the Dana and David Dornsife Teaching Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Southern California.