Books
Justin Jannise

How to Be Better by Being Worse

Selected by Richard Blanco as winner of the 2019 A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize, Justin Jannise turns the self-help manual on its head in How to be Better by Being Worse.

These poems flout, subvert, question, and ignore the rules with exploratory energy. Queer experiences are celebrated—from crushing on long-dead, sad-eyed poets to drag divas dancing at Halloween parties—gender constructs are questioned, and familial transgressions are laid bare for the world.

Delightfully modulating between flippant, sincere, and back again, How to Be Better by Being Worse freely indulges in harmless wickedness as its speaker grows in self-awareness, slowly learning to let go of inherited shame while continuing to seek self-forgiveness for the harms he has caused the outside world.
45 printed pages
Original publication
2021

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