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|
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 won a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Creative Writing (Fiction).
His second novel, Black Sheep Boy (2016), was published by Rare Bird Books. A PEN limited edition was released by Rare Bird in 2017, and a paperback edition followed in 2018. The novel-in-stories centers on a queer 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. A selection of those stories won a NEA Fellowship. Black Sheep Boy was praised by the Los Angeles Times, The Millions, and Lambda Literary, as well as by the writers Aimee Bender, Ben Loory, and Justin Torres. Stories from the novel were anthologized in Best Gay Stories 2017 and Best Gay Speculative Fiction 2017. Black Sheep Boy was featured on NPR: The Reading Life, as a Los Angeles Times Literary Pick, as a finalist for the On Top Down Under Book of the Year, and as a Book Riot Must-Read Indie Press Book. In 2017, Black Sheep Boy won the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Fiction. In 2018, Black Sheep Boy was a shortlist finalist for the Simpson Family Literary Prize, founded by Joyce Carol Oates and UC Berkeley.
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. At California State University, Northridge he won the Outstanding Creative Accomplishment Award, the Jerome Richfield Scholar Award, and an Excellence in Teaching Award.