A Life

 P. Carl is a Distinguished Artist in Residence at Emerson College in Boston. He is currently the Anschutz Fellow at Princeton University for Spring 2020. He was awarded the Berlin Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in the Fall of 2018, the Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellowship in 2017, and the Andrew W. Mellon Creative Research Residency at the University of Washington. He is the founder of the online journal HowlRound, and past dramaturg and producer for multiple theater projects over the past twenty years. His first book, Becoming a Man: The Story of a Transition will be available January 28, published by Simon & Schuster. His work has been published in the New York Times Magazine, and is forthcoming in The Boston Globe Magazine, and Lit Hub. He is currently working on the stage adaptation of Becoming a Man, commissioned by American Repertory Theater, Diane Paulus directing. He is an avid swimmer, mountain climber, dog lover and resides in Boston with his wife, the writer Lynette D’Amico.



As a trans person, I spent most of my life with my head in a book imagining other lives, other bodies, and other histories. My memoir is an amalgamation of all the books that kept me curious, kept me thinking it was worth it to keep going. Sometimes it was to dream myself a cowboy on the open prairie, sometimes a soldier with a rifle as tall as me, sometimes a priest giving other men hope of a God on the other side. But reading wasn’t just about imagining myself as man, it was about imagining, period—a way of holding myself together until the day I could feel myself as a body alive in the world.


An Incomplete List of Books that Saved Me:

 The Brothers Karamazov,  Great Expectations, Citizen: An American Lyric, The Warmth of Other Suns, Blood Meridian or The Evening Redness in the West, Sexing the Cherry, On Beauty and Being Just, The Motion of Light in Water, The Hours, A Room of One's Own and To the Lighthouse, Middlemarch, How We Became Human, Love Medicine, A Farewell to Arms, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Moby Dick, Gender Trouble, The Grapes of Warth, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream, The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, Beloved, The Savage Detectives, Go, Went, Gone, My Name is Lucy Barton, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, Against Interpretation, White Teeth, The New Jim Crow, Road Trip, Illuminations, The Lord of the Rings, Jesus’ Son, Angels in America, Bluets, Open City, The Sixth Extinction