A combination of memoir, cultural critique, and manifesto, Weird Girls traces the art monster—the writer, often coded monstrous and male, single-mindedly dedicated to the work—from ancient myth to modern literature and pop culture to ask: what happens when the art monster is a woman and/or mother? And what’s the connection between creativity and monstrosity? Told in brief, thoughtful, drolly charming chapters, Weird Girls offers a groundbreaking take on art, motherhood, and of course the art monster.
Caroline Hagood’s Weird Girls is part manifesto, part homage, and part long-form essay—a tribute and a call to arms for women artists and particularly mothers to embrace what Jenny Offill calls “the art monster” in her novel, The Department of Speculation. Drawing on the monsters of her own childhood and an impressive archive of women writers, comedians, and essay theory, Hagood encourages us to embrace our inner monsters so that we can create the monstrous, specific, grotesque, witchy, and embodied work that the world so desperately needs. Her interludes on her own mothering and monstrosity are especially moving and thrilling. In this time of forced birth, right-wing religious grabs for the autonomy of marginalized people, and late capitalism, this book is a much-needed balm and call-to-arms for all of us to be our full selves.
Carley Moore, author of The Not Wives and Panpoclaypse
Caroline Hagood’s decision to embrace her ‘inner monster’ and lead a writer’s life spurs her epic literary journey exploring the figure of the so-called “weird” woman: the witch, the mother, the feminist. Hagood’s text spills gloriously from topic to topic, weaving together a hybrid narrative that rejects both genre and the idea that the mother and art monster cannot co-exist. Bold, smart, and wildly endearing, Weird Girls is a must-read for women who feel like the world can’t contain them—and for those who love them.
Patricia Grisafi, author of Breaking Down Plath
In Weird Girls, Caroline Hagood assembles the ultimate dream dinner party: a pantheon of brilliant, iconic, genre-defying, and game-changing women artists through time and across discipline. In sharp and spirited prose, Hagood discusses the lives and work of these artists as a means to interrogate gendered ideas of creative genius. Using elements of memoir, manifesto, and attentive close reading, Weird Girls is rich with insights that, in their jewel-like shimmering, light the path for discoveries of our own.
Mary-Kim Arnold, author of Litany for the Long Moment and The Fish & the Dove
on Caroline Hagood
Profoundly unique and honest…somehow executed with an astonishing lack of ego. She will break your heart with her naked sincerity; a masterful, singular writer who sheds light with every page.
Explosive…a fast and funny revisionist satire that throws off plenty of nitro along the way.
Caroline Hagood is Assistant Professor of Literature, Writing and Publishing and Director of Undergraduate Writing at St. Francis College in Brooklyn. She is the author of two poetry books, Lunatic Speaks and Making Maxine’s Baby, a book-length essay, Ways of Looking at a Woman, and a novel, Ghosts of America.