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Quinn Carver Johnson in Conversation

PEN Tulsa and Magic City Books welcomes Tulsa poet Quinn Carver Johnson to the Algonquin Room at Magic City Books for a book launch event to celebrate their debut poetry collection, The Perfect Bastard, on Thursday, September 28. At this free event, Quinn will read selections from the book and will be joined in conversation by Karl Jones. A book signing will follow the program.

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QUINN CARVER JOHNSON (they/them) was the editor-in-chief of the Aonian, Hendrix College’s literary magazine. Their work has appeared in Rappahannock Review, Right Hand Pointing, Cimmaron Review, Red Earth Review, and elsewhere. Carver Johnson currently lives in Tulsa and hosts the People’s Poetry reading series.

KARL JONES is a writer, editor, performer, and visual artist. Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, he now lives in Brooklyn, New York, making performance and visual work while writing and editing children’s literature for Penguin Random House. He has appeared at NYC venues such as Dixon Place, Roseland Ballroom, Magnet Theatre, The Tank, THNK 1994 Museum, House of Yes, and the Pyramid Club, as well as cultural institutions throughout the United States, including the Hirshhorn Museum (DC), the San Francisco LGBT Center (SF), and the Walters Art Museum (Baltimore). Before living in Brooklyn, he curated and performed at nightlife and museum events in the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore region, working with artists and musicians, including Taylor Mac, Erin Markey, Ellen Cherry, Dynasty Handbag, and Leslie Hall. His most recent project, the Karl Marks Children’s Hour, is a community art-making project featuring collaborative crafting and interactive storytelling.

About The Perfect Bastard

An innovative poetic interrogation of wrestling, queerness, and staying true to oneself

Quinn Carver Johnson’s debut collection, The Perfect Bastard, follows its titular protagonist, a nonbinary and queer professional wrestler, as they travel across Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri, working for a booker known as the Puppeteer. Inspired by their idol Adrian Street, the Perfect Bastard strives to positively represent queerness and resist the Puppeteer’s stereotypical and demeaning kayfabe. In the ring, they face off against the likes of champion Jack Holiday and the First Crusher, but their most important battles, against the Puppeteer, take place behind the scenes. They must choose between person and persona, authenticity and humiliating hype, if they want to succeed in the industry.

When offered success on the grandest scale–the championship belt–in exchange for mocking their own queerness, The Perfect Bastard questions their path: Will they betray their identity to achieve their dream, or will they walk away from the world of professional wrestling–a world that refuses to make a genuine, healthy space for them?

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