Härte by Sade LaNay
(Downstate Legacies, 2018)
The poetry in Härte is a linguistic, sonic journey through translation and meta-translation, encapsulating the coiled, snarled, ouroboros of the violence of language. The stanzas and lines subvert, ring/single-out, punch through the tercet form. I am gutted by this book and Sade LaNay’s brilliance.
water & power by Steven Dunn
(Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2018)
Dunn’s novels have had a profound influence on me and continue to shape who I am as a writer and thinker. Steven Dunn is one of the most important writers of this contemporary moment in the United States. water & power’s commentary on the military industrial complex at-large innovates and elevates the military/war genre, and his novels continue to define what a 21st-century experimental novel can and should do. No one does it like Steven Dunn is doing it.
Juliet the Maniac by Juliet Escoria
(Melville House, 2019)
Speaking of experimental novels, I am a huge fan of Juliet Escoria and the expansive wildness of Juliet the Maniac. The rendering of teenage girlhood through the depths of addiction and mental illness is heartbreaking and exquisite.
Writers Who Love Too Much: New Narrative 1977-1997,
edited by Dodie Bellamy and Kevin Killian
(Nightboat Books, 2017)
Dodie Bellamy! Kevin Killian! Such beloved writers. I only wish to add to the chorus of people who loved Kevin (and who love Dodie). Kevin’s kindness, generosity, and genius is unprecedented. His work changed my life! And I am but the tiniest drop. New Narrative changed my life! And continues to. This anthology is an example of the raw guts, the vital copulation with genitals gnashing, the mouth wide open, the heart chakra of New Narrative. Thank you Kevin Killian, Dodie Bellamy, and every writer of New Narrative.
Butch Heroes by Ria Brodell
(The MIT Press, 2018)
These days I am thinking through the ideas of stakes and stakeholders in narrative: of ownership of narrative: of what constitutes as appropriation, colonization, exploitation (“daring” to tell someone else’s story) in narrative: of whose stories get told and whose stories get silenced: of is a story yours to tell: and when does it become yours to tell: the exploration of is simply having empathy enough to tell someone else’s story that isn’t your own: of can you do a narrative justice in a way that isn’t harmful with only empathy: of #ownvoices.
In line with this thinking, and as a queer, femme woman who reveres, adores, idolizes, and loves masculines, Butch Heroes is a necessary, timely, moving, and gorgeous book. A documentary text that pairs paintings and biography, it illuminates and honors the violence, persecution, and perseverance of 28 masculines throughout history in redemption, reclamation, and remembrance.