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Winner of the 2022 Gatewood Prize, selected by Julie Carr.

Split in four sections, I FEEL FINE is a series of refrains on loss, gendered disability, community, alienation, productivity, value, and performativity. Written at the end of the author’s months-long period of being bedridden, it replicates her neurodivergence at the sentence-level, operating primarily through fragments and association rather than linear thought. With the period acting as both a disruptor and a fulcrum, I Feel Fine leans into the blurring of the distinction between mind and body, sick and well, normal and abnormal. Fundamentally playful, it layers and flattens experiences, calling out to an ever-shifting and multiple you.

“Shockingly original, haunting and strange, Olivia Muenz’s I Feel Fine fills me with a kind of longing I cannot properly name. At once novelistic and radically fragmented, achingly confessional and austerely technical, Muenz’s prose poems place me exactly where I want to be as a reader. I am at once moved by a voice and excited by a form, emotionally caught and cognitively awakened. With a syntax all their own, these poems make me sweat and make me marvel. Read them. Find poetry once again bright, new, and necessary.” —Julie Carr, 2022 Gatewood Prize judge

I Feel Fine is a book of fine feelings, a record and enactment of feeling finally and finely. Chopped. Think of the “I” as a blade, dicing experience? [...] Muenz’ work should be read within the fine tradition of modern and post-modern investigations of failure, while also being recognized as an important addition to the field of disability studies [...]. In her short, sometimes one-word sentences, urgently compelling in their staccato rhythm, Muenz makes it clear that language itself is a connective tissue disorder we all have—all we have—to communicate the fragility of presence, intimacy, attention, and life. This first full length collection by a gifted, brilliant, and brave poet offers readers a fine way to connect to our own embodiment, the body’s plentitudes and exhaustions, our swell and not so swell swellings and deflations: “We are. Fine.” Muenz writes. Uh huh. I love. This. Book.”        —Laura Mullen, author of Dark Archive

Olivia Muenz is a disabled writer and author of chapbook Where Was I Again (Essay Press, 2022). She holds an MFA in creative writing from Louisiana State University, where she earned the Robert Penn Warren Thesis Award in prose and served as an editor for New Delta Review. A ‘22 Tin House Summer Workshop participant, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in New England Review, Massachusetts Review, The Missouri Review, Gulf Coast, Black Warrior Review, Pleiades, Denver Quarterly, Michigan Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. She lives in the Hudson Valley.

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