j/j hastain

Recent Books

Apophallation Sketches (Mad Hat Press, 2016)










“I’m lucky; I’ve been reading the prolific, which is to say generous, j/j hastain for years. This new work of myths realizes the kind of radically inclusive ethos (here there are bees, ritual sex, mothers and other genderqueers, microbes, Venus of Willendorf, “accidentals in music,” “the taste of a round thing’s edge,” and “real monks who wear both real and faux mink” not only in conversation but in a collective act of meaning-making) that makes goddesses and lesser gods, humans and arthropods, activists and earth-lovers, beasts and silence sing. Here we can be alive. All of us. Every pronoun we’ve never known how to say. “Being commanded by an imaginary figure from inside of you, they agree: is insanity.” And yet j/j knows that this is what the myth making/narrative impulse is—the “imaginary figure inside.” And we have never been so beautiful in our insane.”

TC Tolbert


“An unapologetically positive anti-novel, a host of personae, of challenges: Lovers; travelers; Michael Jackson; families; queer bodies; genders of flux; green algae; water; floods; horses; the corpse flower; befuddled cops; massage therapy; therapists; ritual; shamans; blood; caves; pasture; mannequins; drowning clowns; myth; people; transformation. “Whether or not you know it, your relationship to words has always been an erotic one.”  So know it.”

Jay Besemer


“In this anti-novel j/j hastain performs on words and ideas the very miracles that Nature bestows on certain hermaphroditic land slugs. As suggested by j/j’s title, large conceptual penises spiral round one another, exchanging post-sensical semen, winding ever more ecstatically tighter as the un-paragraphs proceed, until, with the serrated edge of hastain’s wit and erudition, the genitive members must be chewed off, and the entities proceed to feminized fruition. A gratifying experience all around!”

Tom Bradley

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








“Call me Luci: effeminate spindle, soft erection,” proclaims hastain, in this radical re-framing of the old, sad, cultural (read, biblical) narrative of good vs. evil, Satan vs. Jesus, girl vs. dude. hastain boldly imagines Lucifer as Luci, God’s rebellious and fearless one, who abandons heaven not because s/he is cast out but because it is “fear-based,” who confesses to us that: “Angels want to fuck too, you know.” Part Descent of Alette, part Queer Lives of Saints, Luci is a juicy, richly embodied, apocryphal text.”

Kate Durbin


“j/j hastain’s Luci is the most seductive devil I’ve met in some time.  A queer devil, she must learn to know her cursed body in all its mercurial forms—as black hole, cave lip, letter, fatty winged-thing, beauty, ravisher, mass of genres, thirsts, and images. In investigating the medium of her own body, she becomes mediumistic to the bodies of others, and most fatally drawn to that impossible bit of clay: the human. hastain dresses and undresses Luci’s body in a garment of prose as fluid and fulgurating as Luci herself. This is a smoking, lucid book, a vermilion and quicksilver book.”

Joyelle McSweeney


““A body of flickers” indeed. Lucifer to Luci to lyrical essence, j/j hastain (a name–a person as unique as the work) explores ideas and images of separation, a certain mode of reconciliation, “differing speeds up an unending hill” of salvation. Falling from grace (here envisioned as cloudy abyss, thoughts and fog) into shattered glass, but this speaker dances on the glass, holds up shards for us to see: a bent light, a cracked mirror, the arterial blood of inquiry. So much questioning. A vivid yearning. This is a persistent and perceptive narrator, with much to say. Truly a fierce voice. So, listen.”

Sean Lovelace


“Suffused with delight and an exuberant mischief — j/j hastain’s Luci: a Forbidden Soteriology reveals an entirely new, unexpected, and multi-dimensionally devilish Rebel Angel who transitions from paradise to possibility.  This Luci will inhabit your imagination with irreverent wonder.”

Max Wolf Valerio


“A daring, imaginative work of dazzling, theological and linguistic complexity.  j/j hastain’sLuci will challenge your mind and capture your heart. Poignant, funny, profound.”

Elizabeth Cunningham

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









“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

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

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

Eleni Seikilianos

Identity Collages, Spuyten Duyvil, 2014


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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