Paul Guest, a poet and part time teacher at West Georgia University, has won the prestigious Whiting Prize for his poetry for 2007. Guest, who earned his M.F.A. from Southern Illinois University, was one of 10 American writers who won the prize for showing “exceptional promise” as a writer. Guest, who has been paralyzed since age 12 from a bike accident, says, “Automatically they think [my work] should be sad because I am disabled,” he says. “At a reading, I think something I wrote is funny but no one laughs, or I laugh and they think, ‘He must be having an emotional fit or seizure.'”My poems are really intimate or seem intimate; I’m good at manufacturing intimacy. Then there’s irony, and my poems have different streaks of it. It would be boring to me if it wasn’t.”
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