Winner in MHP chap competition!
A blurb for Dear secondary umbilical,:
“There is no doubt that j/j hastain is making our new poetry of oracle. Poetry I want, poetry you want, poetry very much wanted. I’ts not poetry about everything being all right. It’s better for you than any liar’s subterfuge. How else will we get the love? I’ts beautiful in here. This is a book I will give to the ones I share the best parts of this world with.”
-C.A. Conrad judge of the 2012 MadHat Press Wild and Wyrd Poetry Chapbook Prize
From Intro to her:
I wrote ‘her’ to honor her (the pronoun, the ‘used to’ parts in me), to try and de-toggle something in me, to uphold a previous (yet very necessary) identity while making space in me for new pronouns, new identities. The future tense of the present houses the past in a sweet casing. I want to honor the her in me: the her in her stilettos and pencil skirts, the her who begins to become the land of the Australian outback (with dreadlocks and bare feet), the her that is less her and more something else with that shaved head and those boxers, pants sagging into a plethora of pronouns. All of these deserve honor because all of them are true: all of these are me.
Some Blurbs about her:
j/j hastain transcends experimental poetry, transcends experimental words and concepts, and transcends beyond sexual identity into transference into something more. j/j writes for the voiceless, giving them a voice, finding “the courage to enter/ the next body”. There are many posers out there pretending to be outrageous; j/j is the real deal. j/j explores identity and wow, does it matter! It matters when identity gets blurred in the world, where so many do not know who they are, and sex and gender are easy to unintentionally slip out of, like undressing skin. As j/j says, “what imprisons is the idea/ of space” and j/j is a poet obsessed with space and line breaks. For what breaks us more than the negative space around us; or, the space of silence?
—Martin Willitts Jr
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
myrrh to re all myth
Furniture Press Books, 2013
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.”
“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.
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.
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.
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.
cultivating cadences to invert the given creed
Spuyten Duyvil, 2012
Review by Danielle Vogel (Forthcoming)
At the beginning of cadences, j/j hastain announces that rather than the conventional model of opposing artifice to the body and the natural, artifice will very much interact with the body, the “pungent colony.” That is not to say that it’s a peaceful relation. In the very same first poem, hastain demands that the reader/lover burn their body when they die, except for the genitals and mouth, which are to be given to other lovers, like both works of art and art’s mediums.
Words that have never been next to each other are next to each other now, lines that gut, a swarm of pink moths on your eyeskin. When hastain writes “We must create different versions of us to sound out the wounds on,” you will do so willingly. Cadences is a dissection of love and space and sex that will teach you the new gender-language while pulling your chest open.
-Sarah Rose Etter
Body transitivity is an ever-shifting locus in this work of thrilling prosody.
In opening this vulnerable, human, desiring book of sacred song we are invited into a ritual archeology of the residue of bodies that question, want and need. Here, at cadences, is where future social-economic histories have room to imply themselves. Here 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.
j/j hastain’s cadences is a cosmogony beyond biologies and historicized inheritance. Xir attention to “speech-verge” whispers of hybrid contexts, communicating new cadences of tongue and “tone as a kind of kink.” In the “ulterior” cellular sound there is a push for a “new eden” that opens harmonies into harmonics. It is “matriarchal-kingly,” storied by “queer saints” and a “trans eucharist” (the becoming versions of body). There is “no eve and no adam,” only lovers in search of a consecrated crossing, committed to the somatic and the semantic.
performing Chod until post-natural indigenes
Grey Book Press, 2012
guttural silk make new gong
Unlikely Stories Press, 2012
guttural silk make new gong is a new chapbook of poems and photographic “poem-cells” by author j/j hastain. It includes seventeen intricate textual poems and four visual pieces on the subject of sex and love, approached transcendentally and transformationally. It includes an Afterword by Jonathan Penton.
Female Versions of Christ
Female Versions of Christ is a set of nine texts accompanied by eight illuminations. The texts, printed on high quality textured card, are discrete but kindred blocks, obliquely referenced and counterpointed by the illuminations, which are full color collages, printed on transparencies. The texts and illuminations are in labelled envelopes, with these envelopes in turn housed inside a full color outer envelope.
The Yet to be Pronounced Pronouns
If Georges Bataille were a queer living in San Francisco in 2012, this could be xem, building and dismantling gender, that is, building and dismantling form itself. j/j hastain is writing a no-holds-barred break-neck love song that conflates the meaty and the sacramental. Here is love’s avid desire for detail, and love’s sacred, impossible overflow.
Whether it’s he or xe…of the yet to be pronounced pronouns, there’s one thing I’m sure of: while the pronouns might not yet be, what is certainly, forcefully here already is a sense of the atomic forces that lie buried within our wider programming. Of gender; of social form, of virility caught in its code. Hastain breaks these apart, not as categories, but as strings of language itself, as pure image. I see this as a bit more than a book–kind of a larger action whereby hastain releases charged, energies into the frame, turning their blurry fury as gently in the hand as a baby bird’s feather. And damn the science. Companionable but aching, explosive and tenderly hilarious, this is a catastrophic, new bravery.
we / cum ::: come / in the yield fields / amongst statues with interior arms
above/ground press, 2012
in this chapbook j/j hastain offers us prose poems that treat abstract concepts as tangible objects: “Liquid light or herds of manic.” Much of the work deals with gender as fluid, as a non binary construct: “Gender here, our interactive contour.” The text is full of unique & dream-like imagery, poignant observations, provocative paradoxes: “Extracting blossoms from a slaughter house.” “A single ant carries the large body of a splayed moth.” The poems are chock full of sensuality, poems formed of sentences of varying lengths & styles that careen drunkenly & wildly along. The work is visually strong. I can easily imagine some of these poems being illustrated with paintings or as surreal films” Like the rust colored sunflower that (while soft on its exterior) when cut turns the water it depends on bright pink.” The author is a skilled soundsmith, each sentence deliberately muted or cacophonous, depending on hastain’s intent.
The yellow cover, as you can see, is thinner than the interior pages, beginning with that pale lavender page. It’s as if the cover cannot contain what is inside. It’s a perfect visual metaphor for how so many of hastain’s poems — including this chap-length one — work: the poems reach out for engagement and often succeed. I love this highly-effective cover design!
Spuyten Duyvil, 2012
j/j and TT make a correspondence in Emerson’s sense—the original green building, if you will—when two have the inside with the outside. They begin with the commercial (the outside, publishing industry’s inside), and the correspondence grows organically from there to include exchanges on the nature of sexuality (both inside and manifest on the social outside) and the relevance of the mythological in our postmodern living (tracing myth back to origins, inside ancient humans, but in the context of literature, which is outside us and socializing). I come away from reading their high-energy 300-plus pages with my clearest sense to date—and I have been wrestling with psychomachiatic truths for several years now—of what amounts to a statement for our generation on the significance of Poetry.
—Rich Blevins, author of Medieval Ohio
riding the lace barometer
ISMs Press, 2012
Prepare for an in-deep partaking of strange yet powerful “folds as they enshrine a gorgeous hysteria”, because that is part of what hastain’s poetic encounters will be placing upon you.
— Juliet Cook, author of ’Horrific Confection’
Reading ‘riding the lace barometer’, by j/j hastain, is a romp, moist with nuance; a sexual communion with self. This debut, forested in what was once termed ‘the secrets’, is a feast of exploration, throwing open all doors. Think a dirty weekend down the rabbit hole, a tea party with e.e.cummings, Kim Addonizio and Anais Nin, trading memoirs of tender raunch, then RSVP!
—Adele C. Geraghty, author, ‘Skywriting in the Minor Key: Women, Words, Wings’
Marsh Hawk Press, 2012
Speaking with Eileen Tabios: Bloodjet Writing Hour
Early Praise: Eileen Tabios
Review: S Schultz at Jacket 2
Review: The New Mystics
Review: Boston Area Small Press
Review: G Harp on Amazon
Review: The Tributary
Review: Galatea Resurrects
Eileen R. Tabios’s ORPHANED ALGEBRA performs numerations of loss, want, abandonment, the conditions of the invisible. Riffing on middle school math story problems, Tabios works a mathematics of disorder, the unordering of poverty, these “stories” a corrective to the “ascetic’s illusion of ecstasy, a measurement made possible by its condition precedent: a suffering so unmitigated it hollows the non-survivors from children to earthworms.” j/j hastain’s “visceral echoes” of Tabios, “gestures” both textual and visual, sound “an activism of hollowing out,” whose hollows form a new space of assiduity. In “stance”—instance—hastain “grapple[s] with ethics of place and space. Was a country the host body of a child found homeless in it?” Who and where are we, and what role has language in any of this? Against abuse, against hunger, against erasure, Tabios and hastain challenge silence’s dissonant ignorance. The poets sharpen language and intention, “Creating a permanent, rather than temporary implantable. An anti-obviate hutch or hearth.” A challenge, a new “home,” a pleasure, this collection puts us in the midst.
Categories are not abstractions, they are bodies. Family is one such embodied category, gender another. What happens to bodies when they don’t fit the categories assigned them, when they lack families, when they criss-cross gender or genre lines? How can one calculate such changes, compose equations to explain these trans-categorical shifts? Our very pronouns are at stake, as are nations, blood-ties, definitions to words like “dad” and “belonging.” As j/j hastain writes, “There is a new lineage that we are trying to make more apparent.” Eileen R. Tabios and hastain are trans-parents to a fresh embodiment of words and bodies, and to what they mean when they come together as books and persons. Their writing counts the change(s) in unexpected vocabularies.
—Susan M. Schultz
long past the presence of common
Say it with Stones Press, 2011
Review: JA Tyler at The Red Fez
Review: Jonathan Pleucker at Html Giant
Review: Jai Arun Ravine
Review: Rob Mclennan
Review: Andy Peterson at The Barnyard
“long past the presence of common is a revolutionary document — a collection of poetry, collage, and scripts that challenges a political stability premised on always already repressive and hypocritical social norms and practices. This 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, it unleashes a radical assault on psycho/sexual conservatism, cultural conventionality, and spiritual stasis. Like a hot wire, long past the presence of common hisses and snaps an electric pulse violent and mesmerizing; yet there’s something soft here — a skin-like porousness (subtle, erotic, and inviting) that saturates the energy, thus exposing the multidimensionality of the bodily experience: a constant inter-bodily contact and merger and mutual becoming always dynamic and fluid in its unending cosmological escalations. An urgent and necessary anarchism — at once dangerous and revitalizing — sings from these pages & the message is clear: there are ways to live, but the lives therein requires a radical re-imagining of what it means to be forever in relation to an emergent fusion. j/j hastain writes the future in its inexhaustible queerness, its variability, pulsation, and immaculate unraveling, and the vision pleth presents in this book is one of limitless luminescence and difference that cuts through established models — both micro and macro — of fixity and closure. long past the presence of common offers essential possibilities within an age of darkness.”
“Full saturation ‘inverse –embedded wishes’ surface and recede in long past the presence of common, a momentous document which activates a commons for future feeling. This book radicalizes conceptions of the body multiple. Erotic subjects in the form of psycho-somatic wishes surge, intensify, electrify, vacillate, flicker, morph, fume, commingle and melt. This is emancipatory writing. Note too the ecstasy of the viscous embryonic circuitry arc bubble collages which are interspersed throughout. I feel an incredible kinship with this book.”
“Our bodies render us travelers, or prisoners, and on this truth is born j/j hastain’s fascinating new book long past the presence of common. Naming and triangulating are important passions in this work, which 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. If you are looking for a book of avant-garde poetry with a revolutionary dimension, you would do well to take this book toheart.”
verges and vivisections
Review: Jen Besemer for The Lit Pub
Review: Jen Besemer for Raintaxi
new forms and meditations for the pressurized libertine monk
Scrambler Books, 2011
Review: Aimee Herman at Fact-Simile
Review: Megan Burns at Horseless Press
“Holding j/j hastain’s new forms and meditations for the pressurized libertine monk, 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 book, open to any page, and know that the capsule of poetry in front of me is a gift: of luscious language, wild humor, mystery, and self-knowledge. Despite the “libertine” of its title, here is a deeply principled system of desire that seeks the beloved via language beyond binaries (text/image, penis/vagina, lyrical/philosophical, I/you, peace/violence). Here are pages of stunningly instructive “inter-mixtures/of a third life.”
“Tarot reading for an apparition or phantasm,” is it possible? There is no doubt j/j hastain is making our new poetry of oracle. Poetry I want, poetry you want, poetry very much wanted. It’s not poetry about everything being all right. It’s better for you than any liar’s subterfuge. How else will we get the love? It’s beautiful in here, this book a “cosmic awe maw” of inexplicable tenderness. This is a book I will give to the ones I share the best parts of this world with.
“Here hastain texturally experiments with expression where there are no words. Flirting, enmeshing and always returning us to what we are—a physically felt and unfeeling body. This body and body of work is the way of cyborgs, of hybrids and of the libertine monk. This poetics, as the title points, is paradoxical play with “both burlesque and butoh“; with libertine and monk. As vispo it sculpts space. Extrusions, protrusions, and dents are the material where wild collisions spark precedent imaginings. “burning architectures“ inhabit captions, and shapes indirectly paint. In this space we find place in our stressed times to dive into a “liquidic us” where we are tossed, lose hold, and are held influx. This is neither love poem nor not for it is one and in all.”
“Poetic-graphic collage is only a fraction of the feat j/j hastain is pursuing in new forms and meditations for the pressurized libertine monk – 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.”
our bodies are beauty inducers
Rebel Satori Press, 2011
Review: Tom Becker at Galatea Resurrects
“Study and ceremony: a voyage through the inner and outer rings of eros as way into the depth and intensity of what is called love. First, the orgasmic lift to primordial who-we-are-ness floor by floor, department-by-department, permeable border-by-border, then the reflective intelligence-absorption of that expansiveness reached. j/j has discovered Walt Whitman s secret inner-body elevator and transcribes and elucidates for us its ride.”
“What completes a body? What is the furious, stripped site from which all newness is generated ? This book, formatted to soak up all the color, asks its sticky and indelible reader to consider/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.”
Review: Eileen Tabios
Review: Tom Becker at Galatea Resurrects
“the ulterior eden” presents us with a contemporary Song of Songs in which allegory is subverted by eros into a more explicit and boldly unconventional passion. Large with life and ecstatic with the “names and innumerable sensations” of adoration, this communion joins beloved and beloved in the erotic chaos of a “newest pronoun.” j/j hastain makes this pact of bounty both politically and spiritually charged, shaping poetry’s intimacies as a means through which we can “mature all historical/grief/ into luminosity.
autobiography of my gender
Moria Books, 2011
Review: Tom Becker at Galatea Resurrects
prurient anarchic omnibus
Meeting Eyes Bindery (Spuyten Duyvil), 2011
Review: Tom Becker at Galatea Resurrects
Review: Michael Leong at Word for Word
Review forthcoming: Rob Mclennan at Turntablebluelight
Review: Aimee Herman at The Lit Pub
Review forthcoming: Craig Santos-Perez
Review forthcoming: Carlos Soto-Roman
“A work of rich clear sensual language, of ‘thermal tremble and juice,’ these poems and photos pull the weaver’s threads together, bring focus to ‘wherein we can be a root to the sea.’ Sinewy lines are constantly ‘quoting my biology back to me as vow’ and display a ‘multi-creative musculature’ we desperately need and desire. j/j is the real deal, reclaiming a space for engendered anarchy, opening Pandora’s secret treasure trove, playing with fire, sound and love.”
“Here the elemental ground opens as 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. Here the text is planted in the image, the life is planted in the book, what of life trembles and transforms as it tries again and again to open into writing. A beautiful and complex anti-memoir, dear weaver of disparates, connects the reader to a yet to be named source “wherein we were a root to the sea.”
a womb-shaped wormhole
BlazeVOX Books, 2011
Speaking with Eileen Tabios: Bloodjet Writing Hour
Review forthcoming: David Hadbawnik Forthcoming at Primitive Information
Review: Debrah Morkun
Review: Carrie Hunter
“j/j hastain’s book A WOMB-SHAPED WORMHOLE is one beginning for a world attempting to make itself in advance of its articulation. But it can be articulated by scents, which is to say, ‘traces’—like musk, patchouli, mustard, ‘split truffles,’ or even attar of long-dead altars and imagined memories. In this beginning lie the orgasms of fractals, revealing how fractions require flesh as condition precedent to existence—for who we may not at first recognize is nonetheless not that different from you and me”
—Eileen R. Tabios
Theenk Books, 2011
Pavement Saw Press, 2011
Cy Gist Press, 2010
Review: Tom Becket at Galatea Resurrects
Review: Mark Lamoreaux at Cy Gist
“Sex lost its teeth when it became an abstraction, but in cock-burn, j/j hastain remembers that fucking has always been and will always be revolutionary. Teeth and all other parts. Here is a map in 1:1 scale, without gloss or euphemism. The oracle in the temple of the body speaks from the shadows, long absent. The news is good.”
newest bountiful verb
we in my Trans
JMS Books, 2010
Review: Lark Fox at Lit Pub
Review: Good Reads
This collection by poet j/j hastain is a personal journey through gender. Sometimes sensual, sometimes erotic, these poems resonate with love in all its forms, melding together society’s preconceived notions of “straight” or “gay” or “lesbian,” “male” or “female,” “top” or “bottom,” “masculine” or “feminine” to create a genderqueer landscape where the lines blur and the labels no longer stick. we in my Trans is at its heart a series of love poems concerning what of sensation, exists between — whether by way of the rolling folds of desire or in overlaps with a lover. These are poems that embrace one’s self as much as another.
asymptotic lover // thermodynamic vents
BlazeVOX Books, 2009
Review: Tom Becket at Galatea Resurrects
Review: Marthe Reed at Goodreads
Review forthcoming: Julieanne Combest at Turntablebluelight
“This book, which is unlike anything that has ever been seen before, brings something with it from the under-parts of sensation. This is the definition of vibration, of a book as the only possible membrane, the only future for a body so new it’s still forming: j/j hastain gives us this.”
“This work is consistently imaginative and beautifully controlled. Very musical and theatrical and intimate. The work is inspiring yet it’s not easy or facile.”
how nerve-yen became the new yew tree
erbacce press, 2009
Review: Danielle Vogel at Goodreads
“Shifting between the sharply cut phrase and the open field of the page, between quotation and the more physical registers of language, between desire and the turns of a mind thinking, j/j’s how nerve-yen became the new yew tree creates a musical, mystical space where all these things become extensions of one another”
let me letters
Livestock Editions, 2007
Review: Jared Hayes