My Art Is Killing Me and Other Poems
•Amber Dawn is well-known in LGBTQ+ literary circles for her books and anthologies over the past 10 years, most notably her 2010 novel Sub Rosa (Lambda Literary Award winner); her 2018 novel Sodom Road Exit (Lambda Literary Award finalist); her 2013 memoir How Poetry Saved My Life (Vancouver Book Award winner); and her fall 2019 anthology Hustling Verse, a groundbreaking collection of poetry by sex workers. She is also renowned as a former sex worker who advocates for sex worker rights internationally.
•My Art Is Killing Me and Other Poems is her second poetry book (following 2015’s Where the words end and my body begins). Thematically, it is a counterpoint her memoir How Poetry Saved My Life in that she takes inventory of the toll that identity-based art has on artists, in her case her queer identity, her sex-worker past, and related personal traumas. Despite its calamitous title, however, the collection is her way of working through the personal costs of laying bare her demons for the sake of art.
•In Amber Dawn’s own words: “I hope this book speaks to what it means to be underrepresented and tokenized within literary communities. My Art Is Killing Me and Other Poems began as a personal/lyrical essay, however, it became clear to me that poetry can not only function as lyric essay, but also reveal something about the world around us that does not rely on resolution or summation or even consistency of voice.”
•Amber Dawn is an eloquent and compelling performer with many connections in LGBTQ+ and sex worker communities.