j/j hastain

Recent Books

Sapphopunk: how Sappho almost became a stone femme, a fiction in honor of otherness, an experiment in dignity, or Sappho’s queer biography (Spuyten Duyvil, 2015)


Luci: a Forbidden Soteriology (BRB), 2015

Luci at SPD

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Non-Novels: The New Elementals Project, 2015 (Spuyten Duyvil)

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j/j hastain, in xir work, insists on everything, all at once. It is a literature that imagines a trans-identification not just beyond genders but also beyond cultures and stories and literary traditions. What comes out of this is ornate, mythic, full of vivid color, and transcendent.                   Juliana Spahr

 

This hybrid is truly experimental and would please Harraway in its wit, inventiveness, political astuteness. Its Non-Novel novelty seems natural. It is reoccurringly brilliant.               Lori Anderson Moseman

 

This is a Trans-book. an interstice book, a book of motion-pains and paying attention and the sacred bedevilment of material-historical being. The form of the book, like the form of the lover-beloved, (the s’object/the text-reader/the I-Thou), moves between lyric and epic; also between essay and verse. If the ghosts of Barthes, Kierkegaard, Buber, and Acker all kissed each other at once, their perplexed animate spit would be hastain, and it would write of the self made other so it could be loved too.              Anna Joy Springer

 

j/j seeks. Slips. Moves through becoming in ways that are fraught with uncertainties while filled with desire and longing. “In a city without seasons, in a city of seams,” pronouns sink, fade, disappear, only to be found in spaces where they still wait to be found. But even if pronouns are found they cannot be named. Each pronoun can only be provisional. Even the “we” of the “I” is a provisional naming of desire.           doug rice

 

Between gender and desire, between seeing and saying, between the body and language, there opens a space of reimagination. j/j hastain’s Female He remakes a reader by and through a corporeal act; to read is to be becoming, a radical and revolutionary sentiment.                      Lidia Yuknavitch

 

 

In Steaming Cleave j/j hastain reminds us that “starlight is not a line but a blended length.” The world the poet here creates is likewise what is shared between bodies, between bodies and the full liquid world around them, and what death shares with us. You will find herein a sensation akin to H.D.’s oceanic womb-mind, where every part of living and dying pulses toward enlightenment.                    Eleni Seikilianos


Identity Collages, Spuyten Duyvil, 2014

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Graphomania: a Fabulist Noir, Spuyten Duyvil, 2014

Graphomania: a Fabulist Noir


herCoverher (Lummox Press, 2013)

One of poetry’s most bedeviling challenges is to render the ineffable into language. The bolder poets face the difficulty of not only writing about complex subjects but of writing about those liminal spaces in topics where language does not yet exist.  j/j hastain has succeeded here as few yet have in being able to give voice to the unfolding/enfolding complexities of gender and identity. The poems in  her stretch from a purely lyrical explication of a personal situation to the breathless urgency of an unfolding manifesto.  I am reminded in this work of the powerful and shocking music of Monique Wittig’s Les Guerilleres. Although hastain’s aims are large, they do not go unfulfilled. This is a book that should serve as a baseline for poetry that attempts to bridge identity’s great divides.              Eloise Klein Healy


precolor-myrrh-final-layoutmyrrh to re all myth

Joe Cooper Reviews myrrh to re all myth at Tarpaulin Sky

 rob mclennan reviews myrrh to re all myth

Kristen Stone reviews myrrh to re all myth

At once reckless, eccentric and graceful, j/j hastain’s newest collection creates a poetics of overflow that interrogates the very nature of form, “filling the filigree/with embodied/flicker/all of the parts of our flesh-compass.”  In myrhh to re all myth, the poet innovates a fluidity that nurtures form “as gap to invert/while we so ravenously/invent.” Rather than the brittle stasis of conventional poetry, this supple work rises to the level of jubilant defiance.  Attending to our “human askew” in a manner that is both empathic and challenging, hastain enacts dynamic swerves: this book generates an eros and intimacy that have social, spiritual and “a truly galactic activism.”             Elizabeth Robinson

“This is a romance of fractals,” an invigorating linguistic panoply which refuses to be any one thing. myrhh to re all myth gives us a vivid transdifferentiated poethic state–a sonic inquiry–thus feral post-gendered embodiment of “the infinitely ferric dress.” Multiple, layered, disarming and hauntingly worthwhile. hastain spins a fine vocalic lyric gossamer about us, a future ethos and new grammatical treatise of fracture, rediscovery, and retelling, a myrhh re(garding) all myth.”              Susana Gardner

Here, in an unbroken series of “amorous epistles,” is writing reaching beyond the envelope of familiar language transfer to touch and explore its beloved–not a single one, but perhaps a single one who is all in one–the one reaching, the one reached for, that which is touched– an “effort to understand oneself through the world’s understanding/or repudiation of a world’s/functionality of the shroud.”

Moving in and out from a horizon of empathy and desire, encompassing larger and smaller sweeps of love, these thrusts leave a space alive with their own contrails.                  Reed Bye

If myth is the collectivity of human story, then j/j hastain has rewritten it. This  is a beautiful, radical opus wherein the construction of everything, of anything, particularly that amorphous thing called identity and the identities we embody despite and because of it, is akin to being “husked beans laid out in piles across miles of farm fields,” a virginal state that is, like hastain’s sustained lyric, as terrifying as it is powerfully generative. hastain is aware of the potency of prefix—that how we “re” is also how we “de,” putting  re/deconstruction into the real/artificial centrifuge, which,  in hastain’s verbal laboratory, spins with dizzingly infinite possibility. Here are “meaningful dishevelments,” hybrid entities “refusing frame” as they “kill and eat phonates” while “emulsifying expressiveness.” Here are cyborgs and “plump doves,” all defying categorization as they affirm the ever-human desire for individuation. I adore this book–for its frightening precision in the face of ambiguity, for its ambition and bravery. This is a kick in many anatomical places, and those anatomical places, in hastain’s world, are always subject to the morph and switch. This is evolutionary brilliance. This is authenticity that’s been busted out of its myth.               Nicole Mauro

myrrh to re all myth is a vast consortium of direct transmissions from the brain stem, the limbic system, the neocortex and the ecosystem—these transmissions are then transduced by intensive language decoding the flows. hastain presents a sensual wardrobe of aternal, untimely and actual meanings that give a perlocutionary effect of incredible wonder. I’m entranced by this book.                Brenda Iijima

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