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What Shall We Be?

As you probably know by now, I’m deep in the process of putting together my Frankenstein-inspired poetry collection. In fact, today I got to look at the proofs of my print book. Just let me gush for a second… It’s gonna be gorgeous!!!

Back to reality.

During my research and inspiration phase, my friend recommended I check out the book We Shall Be Monsters, which is an anthology edited by Derek Newman-Stille that came out last year to celebrate Frankenstein’s 200th birthday. The book takes a look at the different aspects of Frankenstein through various minority lenses and intersections.

I not only found the book fascinating, but I felt comforted by it. I felt seen and understood. Apparently there’s a whole lot of people out there who identify with and/are obsessed with this story.

The great thing about anthologies is they can touch on so many different things in a single book. I guess that’s the beauty of the short story. Themes and moments that stuck out to me:

  • Body modification in so many forms. People have love/hate relationships with our bodies for a variety of reasons. This anthology shows both the pain and power of body modification in equal measures.
  • New perspectives. I am a queer, polyam, recovering cutter, so I have some understanding of being the monster. But this book dives in head first, showing many different ways we cast people out and, at times, giving hope that we might one day be included.
  • Layering of stories. The great thing about Frankenstein is that everyone knows the basic story. Mad scientist, creature brought to life, death and destruction. We don’t have to take up space repeating that and instead we can build on it. In fact, one of my favorite tales in the book layered Frankenstein with Pinocchio, and then went another five steps deeper and newer. It was gorgeous.

Most of the short stories touched me on some level. And those that I wasn’t into, I could see how other people would be into them. I definitely think this is an anthology worth sharing.

I decided the book would be my first book club book last month (you can keep up to date with my book club by signing up for my mailing list here). Which means I recorded a video to share my thoughts on it. Check it out. Read the book, then share what you think here or on YouTube.

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