Commentary

“Flat as Barbara Kruger, and truly without humor and I’m thinking yet that there is actually so much fluidity and mood here so that the surface of the text keeps expanding with air and then not so much shriveling but a kind of rolling, stepping into another sequence of purposes so that this “writer” is just a perfectly reasonable ambassador from someplace else that is endlessly being proposed to you: yes I do like it here [] it’s a kind of self-effacement, maybe there’s just no ownership at all. I mean nowhere. I mean anywhere. I mean certainly not in this work”

-Eileen Myles

“j/j seeks. Slips. Moves through becoming in ways that are fraught with uncertainties while filled with desire and longing”

-Doug Rice

“j/j hastain’s work is an epistolary exploration into the divergent, the Other, the utopia of xe. Here, the alienated Other is praised and questioned, not as freak but as sage companion, teacher, progenitor. A brazen philosophical query that resurrects identity politics in a contemporary that insists on post-identity, hastain’s work rejuvenates the haptic in hypersensorial lyric that challenges, evolves, problematizes, and sophisticates our fundamental understanding of language and being, until we are left turning over and again: Is it possible that we are all radiant accidents?”

-Lily Hoang

“Suffused with delight and an exuberant mischief hastain’s writing will inhabit your imagination with irreverent wonder”

-Max Wolf Valerio

“hastain’s work is daring, imaginative work of dazzling, theological and linguistic complexity”

-Elizabeth Cunningham

“What’s at stake [in hastain's writing] is how to value lesbian literary history built on gender binaries while simultaneously writing queer literature that interrogates those binaries”

-Carol Guess

“I had forgotten my own throat. Then I started reading the work of j/j hastain. Whatever your alliance with order, you will burn it for how you will whimper in j/j’s writing. I have read no one else whose words are so entirely without skin. Every line without shelter. Every line without line. There isn’t a single deceit. Ever. j/j’s work leaves me wordless. Always. j/j is the only writer who writes me into wordlessness”

—Andrea Gibson

“In j/j hastain’s work there is an insistence 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

“j/j hastain of hominid, j/j hastain post-hominem, j/j hastain excrudes carnem vociferor adds sizzling pages to the epic, a centuries long overcoming of subjugation under the brute ignorant law of oneness”

-Rodrigo Toscano

“j/j hastain’s writing is part of a long, esteemed tradition: St Augustine and Artaud, Ovid and the Marquis de Sade, sitting across from one another, throwing dice. j/j hastain ups the ante”

-Tyrone Williams

“j/j is the real deal, reclaiming a space for engendered anarchy, opening Pandora’s secret treasure trove, playing with fire, sound and love”

—Anne Waldman

“there is no doubt j/j is making our new poetry of the oracle”

—CAConrad

“j/j’s writing is trans. Interstice. A place of motion-pains and paying attention and the sacred bedevilment of material-historical being. The form 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”

-Anna Joy Springer

“Between gender and desire, between seeing and saying, between the body and language, there opens a space of reimagination. Hastain’s writing remakes a reader by and through a corporeal act”

-Lidia Yuknavitch

“j/j’s writing is a rogue philosophical deconstructing of the ultimate consummation”

-Maureen Owen

“In j/j’s writing you will find a sensation akin to H.D.’s oceanic womb-mind, where every part of living and dying pulses toward enlightenment”

-Eleni Sikelianos

“j/j hastain’s writing is an epistolary community of self-supporting biocontextual linkages. [] Part cryptozoological examination and part psychosocial rewiring, j/j hastain’s lines draw tangible psychological connections [] exploring gender, identity, relation and existence.”

-kathryn pringle

“Here, in j/j’s work, is where the subaltern engagements of our species, multiple loves and entanglements, multiple ((de) gendered) forms moving across the furniture of the press, multiple and usually unacknowledged or oppressed ways of being in the world turn visible as having been performed”

-David Wolach

“Get ready to be disconcerted then soothed. j/j hastain submerges the reader in a space where to be human is to be vegetable and cyborg, where femmes can “pierce cocks,”–get your dictionary out. Get rid of your pre-conceptions on what it is to be in human form. Toss out your notions of sentence structure and word usage. These pages bleed”

-Annie Lanzilloto

“j/j hastain understands that not only identity but also the corporeal form is constructed. This work inhabits the lacuna within cells, within systems, within relations. It is both a love story and not. It is the repeating pattern in a fractal. hastain’s the felts is more than physical sensation constituting a smooth surface—it is rendering a discourse”

—Michelle Naka Pierce

“j/j’s work is philosophical study that does not know it is books of poetry, is historical narrative that does not know it is grammar primer or is the work of pornography that does not know it is prayer books. This is of course why j/j’s work brings me so much pleasure”

—Joel Betteridge

“j/j hastain’s work often surprises with its multiple vocabularies, even as it refreshes age old debates about the systems of logic and gender that have made a nightmare of the political experience”

—Kevin Killian

“j/j’s books present us with a contemporary Song of Songs in which allegory is subverted by eros into a more explicit and boldly unconventional passion”

—Elizabeth Robinson

“j/j has discovered Walt Whitman’s secret inner-body elevator and transcribes and elucidates for us its ride”

—Reed Bye

“j/j hastain reclaims the erotic boldness of the warrior saint’s undimmed virility”

-Patrick Pritchett

“j/j hastain is on a search for truth. Truth of self, of sex, of language, of other”

-Joseph Riipi

“j/j unzips a zipper that would be a join between life and words, and revolutionizes a verse by doing so”

—Eileen Tabios

“j/j’s books are unlike anything that has ever been seen before, bringing something with them from the under-parts of sensation, asking the reader to eat the relationship between fragmentation and bliss. Are you hungry? Do you want to read so hard you have bite marks afterwards? I suspected as much. I’m a little hungry too”

—Bhanu Kapil

“j/j’s work is consistently imaginative and beautifully controlled. Very musical and theatrical and intimate. The work is inspiring yet it’s not easy or facile”

—Junior Burke

“Okay, listen, let’s sing another story in red: I remember j/j’s blood dance performance, the flesh pained (pained: the missing ‘t’) red, in solidarity with souls who died “as ‘slaves’”. I remember the stun: the body pressing at frames, some englassed, some emptied. I remember the piano, after: stained with flushed fingerprints across an ivory politic. Performative reach, informing and adding/subtracting a self or an ego like a skim (skin) vellum. A vaulting, translucent vessel, so moved by dislocations: here. Such a tacit wisdom practice: embodying suffering of others. ”

–Andrew Peterson

“In words that reflect the dynamic complexities of language and human relationships, in lines cascading across pages, challenging the limitations of thinking in terms of duality and revealing an understanding beyond linguistic polarity, j/j hastain’s work is the experience of connecting, of breaking fabricated boundaries and going to the source–an essential voice for humanity in an increasingly isolating world”

—Ed Go

“j/j’s body theory: fluid indeterminacy and wonder—pushing any perceived limits of pliability. Objects give way to blooming continuums. Every suggestion resonates a vitality of impulses. It’s enthralling”

—Brenda Iijima

“In the space of j/j’s work we find place in our stressed times to dive into a “liquidic us” where we are tossed, lose hold, and are held influx. These are neither love poem nor not for they are one and in all.”

—Kathrin Schaeppi

“j/j’s books are mapping out a future of poetry, love and gender–[] is a synesthete’s playground”

—TC Tolbert

“In j/j’s work I can feel my body push away from its disciplined and well-groomed version of itself; my pulse quickens, readying my system for a revitalizing intake. So as with certain religious reading practices, I take this work, open to any page, and know that the capsule of poetry in front of me is a gift”

—Jill Magi

“j/j hastain creates multiple sacred sites, the body as it enlarges and contracts, the meaning as it moves in and out of absence and presence, consciousnesses and its negation: these shrines”

—Melissa Buzzeo

“j/j’s books are absorbing, strange and engaging. They are determined to break down traditional thoughts and ideas of gender and sexuality”

—Gabriel Ricard Unlikely Books

“Like anti-matter that annihilates the narrative of particles, j/j’s writing does not preserve an individual memory through story. Rather, it reiterates how energy and circular momentum are at the core of us”

—Kristen Prevallet

“j/j’s work is the new shamanism”

—Travis Mcdonald

“j’j’s books compel in the deepest possible sense of what it means to be human-animal”

—Brenda Iijima

“j/j’s work takes strategies of categorization, simplification, and reduction to task for their failure to acknowledge the fundamental instability and unpredictability of organic energy and, in the process, j/j unleashes a radical assault on psycho/sexual conservatism, cultural conventionality, and spiritual stasis”

—Micah Robbins

“j/j’s poems are a queer gift to the queer world”

—Stacey Waite

“j/j’s work is frightening with its precision in the face of ambiguity. It 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”

—Nicole Mauro

“hastain’s work is multiple, layered, disarming and hauntingly worthwhile”

—Susana Gardner

“j/j’s queer poetics are radical and generative — this language doesn’t just obliterate this situation we call reality — it creates it anew, transforming cosmology, consciousness, bodies, physical space”

—Tim Jones-Yelvington

“j/j’s work is rife with fearlessness and sexual desire, this book is a raison d’être for the integration of digital moments into the current publishing structure. This is it. Open your eyes”

—JA Tyler

“j/j hastain’s work is an odd child, conceived in theory, borne from myth and poetry, raised by politics”

—Molly Gaudry

“Like Shelley alluded (in his Cenci) two centuries ago through a thanatos of darkness j/j hastain begins another inquiry into the nature of society and power amidst a death-wish hallows”

—Tod Thilleman

“Through prose, fragment and image, hastain’s books are writing out how difference is not contradiction, and how contradiction is not only possible, but sometimes makes the only sense possible”

—rob mclennan

“Like Gordon Matta-Clark’s site-specific Anarchitecture installations, j/j hastain’s “spatial verbs” radically interfere with and overturn traditional systems of discard – how we determine the value or worth of an entity which directly correlates with its inclusion or exclusion in language”

—Lina Oh

“Through the alchemy of language, j/j takes us into the lovers’ realm, where we [] are changed. Self, body, sexuality and gender are mutable and permeable in the fluid environment of the lovers’ text/space”

—Jen Besemer

“Declaration, prophecy and self-generating, self-mutating myth, j/j’s work is filled with shards, greenery, partial figures, secretions and cravings that it overflows forgetting and bursts into the above ground world”

—Kate Shapira

“j/j hastain’s books offer entrance into brutal anatomies, the subtle panic that comes with revealing form, intimacy and the elimination of space between confession and lovers. While offering much precision and introspection into retracted distances hastain allows the pages themselves to breathe, become breathless, for readers to gasp at the exposure of their own fantasies pinned beneath weight and rocked against headboards, identities gushing with texture”

—Joe Cooper

“j/j’s poetry is a poetry of Trans. Our guide into the poetry of Trans is a gender explorer in the most active sense of the phrase: one who seeks identity through society, through spirituality, through sexuality, and through artistic projects which are both the chronicle of the journey thus far and the impetus, the deepening, of the journey’s next step”

—Jonathan Penton

“In hastain’s poetry, city is body is space is text that begins to resemble the ruins or makings of the city, ancient and utopian at the same time. Manifesting just how imaginary & subject to reinvention our realities are, hastain hastens to dissect what we take for habitat, existence, eros and love”

—Amy King