RealisationsThere is a stream in my life that is poetry. I think what I like most about it is that it relaxes language and allows you to slip outside your preconceptions, and when you land you find you are some place else. Unlike writing inside computers where syntax is everything (and a single missing > character can blank this whole site), poetry offers you a sound-based and emotional environment where you can let go and let words evoke more than a single direct meaning.

I am interested in poetic writing about gender issues, because most of us are so tightly bound in our preconceptions that anyone who expresses life outside that can seem alien, disturbing even, and unsettling. Put the emotional and experience of trans life into poetry, and you can reach a deeper understanding from finding common places. Sometimes, I know, people write from profound emotions, and the act of letting it out is what matters. They think it’s fantastic literature, and you smile politely and reassure them that writing is ‘helpful, isn’t it?’

You might think that of mine as well, but I do try to craft my work better these days. And I have learned that sometimes the advice ‘show, not tell’ can run away with you leaving the reader bewildered! Here is a bit I like from one of my poems to be published shortly under the provisional title of ‘Realisations’. I could have said ‘She watched as he put a pink nightdress on’, but I didn’t:

Cerise cascades from weaving arms,
shapes his body, smooth as he was born,
and dances to his knees.

She sighs.

Nothing except everything, changed
beneath the fallen silk:
boyfriend, lover, husband, man.


See also: Performance and Poetry

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