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I’m going to start with some grief thoughts. If you’d like to skip ahead to the literary wonderfulness happening all around us, start reading after the section break and bold words further down! I toyed around with putting the grief shit at the end, but in my experience, literature pulls me out of myself as an individual. So let’s start with the grief. (Content warning for brief mentions of suicide.)
And I want to start with a question.
When am I not grieving?
Hopefully sometimes. I’m not grieving when I’m writing this newsletter. I’m not grieving when I’m laughing too loud with mis amigues and my partner. I’m not grieving when I’m writing for work, thankfully. When things are quiet in my environment, though, that shit seeps in. It’s been really hard to dig myself out of it over the last couple of weeks. I just feel so heavy and, frankly, sad. Being sad sucks!!!
My third dead dad-iversary was last Friday, and I’m having a hard time coping with… time. Three years feels wrong. It feels wrong to have accomplished so much. I keep having the same revelation that perhaps is common for people surviving a suicide. To me, I don’t think I’ll ever find peace with the way my dad died. Deep deep down, I will never stop blaming myself. I know it wasn’t my fault. I know he was struggling even before I was born a quarter of a century ago. I know. But just because I know, doesn’t change how I feel. If feelings were logical I wouldn’t be in therapy. I probably wouldn’t be a writer? But all that to say, one of the hardest things to accept is that I will never accept what happened.
If you’re confused, that’s fine. So am I. It’s messy, confusing, and complicated. Contradictory. My therapist and I talked about how capitalism and colonialism encourage people to just, not grieve. Because capitalism sees humans as expendable. In reality, we need each other. We need other people. We don’t have to carry grief alone. I especially don’t want to carry it alone. I saw what carrying his shit alone did to my dad. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but I wouldn’t wish what happened to him on anyone. I wouldn’t wish this grieving experience on my worst enemy.
In lighter news,
I have been trying that self-compassion stuff. This past Sunday, my self-compassionate grieving took the form of building a bookshelf while listening to an Open Mouth Literary reading on Zoom. A friend called it my butchshelf. I am now working on making a cute sign that says butchshelf, because I’m a crafty DIYke.
For your reading pleasure:
I have a poem in the latest issue of Honey Literary alongside some truly incredible writers. The whole issue is a treat. I’m quite proud of “Puberty II.” (Content warnings for dysphoria, periods, self harm)
underblong issue 7 recently came out. I’m a long time enjoyer of this lit mag. It was the first one I remember reading in college that I actually resonated with. This issue is full of great poems, like “Testosterone at 10pm” and “summer bb”
The summer issue of Full House Literary is also out. I love all the different options to experience the issue. Check out “A Disappointed Mother Is A Haunted House,” a haunting piece I’ve had the privilege to hear Diamond read IRL a couple of times. I’m also a fan of this piece from CM Green, After “Transcendental Youth.” If Miles and I weren’t Sealey Challenging I’d have read the whole issue by now
If the above dead dad talks weren’t enough, fear not. Check out my review of Samantha Irby’s work blended with a personal essay at fifth wheel press.
Some submission opportunities:
- is open for submissions!!!! Until November 30th!!!! I am so very hungry for your poetry!!!!! And also for subscribers over on our newsletter!!!! Check out the site and our last post for more info on submission guidelines.
The transfeminine cyberpunk anthology Embodied Exegesis is open for submissions until October 15. Check out the call for subs from Neon Hemlock here!
While writing this newsletter, I saw the below pop-up call from kith books.
Sealey Challenge updates:
If you’re curious, here’s my first week rundown.
We have stuck with the challenge every day thus far! I love our little routine! Do y’all think my partner would agree to doing this every day even after August?Here are the highlights from the 8th through 14th:
Mid/South Sonnets from Belle Point Press - I’m in this anthology!! With some amazing poets/friends!! I got my cute lil contributor copies and Miles wanted to read it. Reading that many sonnets in a row made me want to read more sonnets?? If 18 year old me could hear me now.
Boyish: Poems by Brody Parrish Craig - this book!!! the lyricism is gorgeous. Craig’s work queers all southern religious expectations in these poems. I highly suggest reading them aloud. (Craig is also in Mid/South Sonnets FYI!!)
Black Movie by Danez Smith - this one is a reread. Many of the poems to my knowledge are in Smith’s full-length, Don’t Call Us Dead. Black Movie shows the power of chapbooks as a medium. They write grief and solidarity in an inventive and moving way. I’m convinced Smith is *the* poet of our current era. Somehow, after writing about their work throughout my MFA, I still have more to say! But perhaps I’ll save the rest for a different newsletter.
Capable Monsters by Marlin M. Jenkins - also a reread, that I have wanted my partner to read for forever!! this chapbook uses Pokémon and the Pokédex to write about boyhood, Blackness, and queerness. I absolutely love this collection.
From the bottom of my sad little heart, thank you for reading this far. Up next on trans poetica, I have a review of a novel and a review of a poetry collection in the works, plus more Sealey Challenge updates. Hasta then!
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just came up with that one myself *sunglasses emoji*
Miles reads this newsletter, so let me say on the record, I’m definitely not joking. Poetry 24/7!!!!!
full disclosure— I didn’t love everything I read, but I’m not going to use this space to shit talk poetry I don’t like when I don’t have the energy for a well-written critique