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Out Now: like a dog

Published onFeb 29, 2024
Out Now: like a dog

About the Book

“like a dog is a radical and visionary book that moves us to claim the parts of ourselves that we’ve been shamed, bullied, or educated into shutting out. Lauren Samblanet strips all that bullshit away and writes freely from the body, which makes this book become a gushing, honest, messy, healing, intellectual body.” — Steven Dunn, author of water & power

Taking its cues from the New Narrative writing movement, like a dog considers how sexual identity is morphed, hidden, and denied by cultural forces like film, pornography, rape culture, and sexual semiotics. The speaker of like a dog writes about her sexuality, sexual trauma, and relationships in the epistolary form to explore how the personal becomes collective and how overt sexuality is necessary for questioning dominant ideologies. The intimacy (or perhaps voyeurism) that is opened through the epistolary form is balanced with commentary on the films of Lars von Trier, primarily Nymphomaniac, as a way to move away from the speaker’s experiences and into the larger social forces that seek to define us.

Amidst these letters are images from a handwritten journal where blood, hair, vaginal fluids, and other bodily residues are used to direct the shape and content of the writing surrounding them. The tactility of the journal delivers the reader to the body, not as an intellectualized object, but as the physical, messy, oozing force that it is.

Neither fiction nor nonfiction, and inhabiting a realm between gossip and scholarly film analysis, like a dog exists in a liminal zone that offers the speaker a site to rip away the layers of cultural conditioning surrounding sexuality and relationships, and to peek at what lies beneath. This interrogation of identity may not lead to answers but the speaker of like a dog is able to finally hear her own voice and to begin the work of rebuilding an identity that blooms from within.

“like a dog offers intimacy so radical it’s beyond genre. it’s an epistolary sequence, a somatic notebook ritual, a poetics, a feminist politics, a friendship network, an auto-theory, a sexual history, and a hole made by “my relationship to this body i was born into, this body labeled as female, this body that is oppressed, fucked and filled.” it’s also one of the most risky and brilliant representations of post-traumatic stress disorder I’ve ever read, one that acknowledges, as too few do, that ptsd is a life-long disease. the unstinting trust samblanet extends to her creative process, her language, and her readers at once tutors, bruises, and humbles us. an antidote to the dissociation sexual violence leaves behind, like a dog is writing that changes what it means to heal.” — b., author of poem bitten by a man

About the Author

lauren samblanet is a hybrid writer who cross-pollinates with other forms of making & other makers of forms. some of her writing has been published in a shadow map: an anthology by survivors of sexual assault, fence, dreginald, entropy, dream pop press, passages north, bedfellows, and the tiny. like a dog is her first book. she offers workshops through reinventing creative processes, which helps makers build more embodied, pleasurable, and emotionally safe creative practices.

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