Teaching Notes for Dante's Cartography:
Use in the classroom to discuss: writing about writing; lyrical writing; literary lineages; segmented narratives; internal structures; the death drive; depth collections; furtive performances of the personal; technological (mis)communication; speech acts; codes; earnest explorations of the feminine; gender (roles); Edenic landscapes; charts; mark making; the weight of witness; (im)mortality; floral motifs; (state of) being down and out; Webster’s Third; Punnett squares.
Pairs well with Suburban Folktales, Last Days of the Microsaurs, Mother Tongues
Dante's Cartography by Alyssa Quinn
Humans have been at this for such a long while. Adam and Eve after the garden, speaking past each other; Alice after Wonderland, losing definition. Scheherazade working with broken boxes; Pandora happy to have broken them. We put birds into testing tubes. We put Dante into Hell. We put pen to paper, and in so doing lose sight of our immediate exits. How are we to make our escapes? The only way out, suggests Dante’s Cartography, is through. In these six stories, Alyssa Quinn structures worlds without obvious escape—but worlds in which we examine and identify our reflected selves. Why not, after all? This is what we know how to do.
Alyssa Quinn earned her MFA at Western Washington University and is currently pursuing a creative writing PhD at the University of Utah, where she is a fiction editor for Quarterly West. Her work has appeared in Ninth Letter, The Pinch, Indiana Review, Juked, Monkeybicycle, and elsewhere. You can find her at alyssaquinn.net.