Martin Pousson reads from his novel at Dirty Laundry Lit (2017)
|Born||April 13, 1966
Crowley, Louisiana, USA
|Occupation||Novelist, Poet, Professor|
|Literary movement||Southern literature, Cajun literature, Gay and Lesbian literature|
He was born and raised in Louisiana, in the Cajun French bayou land of Acadiana. Some of his favorite writers include Carson McCullers, Truman Capote and James Baldwin, as well as Denis Johnson and Junot Diaz.
His first novel, No Place, Louisiana (2002), was published by Riverhead Books, and it tells the story of a Cajun family, a troubled marriage, and an American dream gone wrong set in Louisiana's bayou country. The novel was praised by Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Cunningham and was acclaimed in reviews by The Advocate, Publishers Weekly, New York Daily News, The Boston Globe, and the Los Angeles Times. No Place, Louisiana was a finalist for the John Gardner Book Award in Fiction.
His first collection of poetry, Sugar (2005), was published by Suspect Thoughts Press, and it centers on the lives of outsiders, especially Cajuns, Southerners and gay men. Some of the poems also deal with racism and the AIDS epidemic. The collection was praised by Alfred Corn and Jake Shears, and it was named a finalist for the 2006 Lambda Literary Awards for Poetry. He says that this collection would not have ever been published if it were not for a friend's saved copy of the manuscript.
In 2005, he was named one of the Leading Men of the Year by Instinct magazine, alongside Jake Shears, Robert Gant, and Keith Boykin.
In 2014, he was named a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. The NEA Fellowship was awarded for his novel-in-stories titled "Black Sheep Boy."
His second novel, Black Sheep Boy (2016), was published by Rare Bird Books, and it centers on a homosexual boy, the son of a mixed-race mother and a Cajun French father, set in the bayous of Louisiana. Some of the stories involve horror, fantasy, and magic realism, featuring werewolves, skinwalkers, and voodoo healers. The book was praised by The Millions and Lambda Literary, as well as by the writers Aimee Bender and Ben Loory. It was a Los Angeles Times Literary Pick and a finalist for the On Top Down Under Book of the Year.
His stories, poems, and essays have appeared in The Advocate, Antioch Review, Cimarron Review, Eclectica Magazine, Epoch, Five Points, Gay City Anthology , Los Angeles Review of Books, The Louisiana Review, New Orleans Review, NPR: The Reading Life, Parnassus, The Rattling Wall, The Rumpus, StoryQuarterly, TriQuarterly.
He has taught at Columbia University in New York City, at Rutgers University in New Jersey and at Loyola University New Orleans. He is currently a Professor of English at California State University, Northridge, in Los Angeles. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program and the Queer Studies Program, and some of his most popular courses include Narrative Writing, Advanced Narrative Writing, Theories of Fiction, and Gay Male Writers.