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j/j hastain

j/j hastain lives in Colorado with xir beloved and is the author of our bodies as beauty inducers, we in my Trans, prurient anarchic omnibus, long past the presence of common, a womb-shaped wormhole, as well as many chapbooks and artist’s books.


"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."

– Andrea Gibson, poet and activist

“j/j’s work is the new shamanism. Each intoxicating incantation, each ritualized variation of syntax, each disparate element stitched . . . amounts to a dangerous spell set to stir in the readers gut. Whether for minutes, days, or weeks it boils its way to the head. Beware.”

– Travis MacDonald

“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.”

– Bhanu Kapil


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we in my Trans

Are you brave enough to call the body an activism?


Are you strong enough to let go of your internalized ideation of gender, form, identity, and sexuality? Are you willing to become a provocation or become provoked by the pages of this book? Are you curious, do you have longing, are you ready to open yourself, to be the confidante we in my Trans by j/j hastain asks you to be?

Put aside for a moment any preconceived enculterated notions of the word ‘Trans’ because the use of that word here is different than historicized uses of it.  Instead, let go and travel with this writer into the world of a ‘’third city” where fulfillment is based in / from / toward a fulfillment through fucking.

I am talking about fucking as “merge,” as entry into the space of the beloved. This place where the primordial particles of the corporeal coalesce into a relentless ritual, a making holy of bodies, deeply in tune with their own pleasures, needs, desires and fullness, regardless of the manifesting shape or form.

In we in my Trans it’s not just the bodies, or form or fucking, that give this book its energy. It’s the enactment of a spaciousness that allows for all possibilities as in, “this is the act of craving” and “that the force of you in me / is the only thing that will bring my body to an openness / that is capable of knowing / human joy."

This book of poems / ceremonies / erotics and love embodies the mythos of j/j hastain’s ritual city. It is a book about suture; the way reader, writer, and other intertwine. we in my Trans contains a relentlessness in de-defining a vessel (the body) of applied pressures. Pressures that require disassembling, (“wherein you affirm that you are in me / for always”) gestation, form / formlessness and “as an image / we are / continually reborning” exist simultaneously in the erotic urge of  hastain’s language.

I find power here, we in my Trans, is at once, “sensory portraiture / with its infinitely multiplying mysticisms” and also, an homage to the self discovering itself through / in another. I ache as a reader, wanting to find myself in the text, undone by words.

This is the essence of the “merge,” the coming together, in order to create an entirely new thing, “how two or more / in effort at harmony / will always make a harmonic.”

hastain is unabashed and honest about the ways sexuality / identity / gender and love become a chimera of myth and undulating text. The photos in the book are at once a punctuation and a window. There is no doubt that you are on a journey through a new type of landscape, with strange almost familiar shapes. You don’t expect to find rest in them and they serve as an extension of the text in its invocation to desire.

It’s a vulnerable subtlety to be involved in so intimate a text.  At times, you may ask yourself if you are turned on, or if you’ve become a voyeur. You may ask yourself where you end and the page begins. as I did. Whatever the answer, you will sleep with this book next to your bed and wake up dreaming it.

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1 Comment

  1. Jordan Blum said on 02/19/12 at 12:14 pm Reply

    This books sound very progressive (forward thinking) and provocative. Very radical and definitely for the more liberated and experimental reader (conservatives need not apply, right?). I wonder, though, in terms of “the way reader, writer, and other intertwine,” who that third factor is? Who or what is the “other” that exists between writer and reader? Or is it the phantom result of the connection between writer and reader (sort of like how two vocalists can create a mysterious third voice).


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