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Poetry

Transgenesis

Poems
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An excavatory collection of poems tracing the connections between Jewish transfemininity, queer desire, and cultural histories.
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An excavatory collection of poems tracing the connections between Jewish transfemininity, queer desire, and cultural histories.

Selected by Sean Hill for the National Poetry Series, this collection is a scrupulous chronicle of individual and cultural knowledge. In an exceptional debut, Ava Nathaniel Winter challenges our concepts of the beautiful and the sacred, delving not only into the historically marginalized, but also into the chilling subconscious of supremacy. “Let me be clear / from this beginning,” she writes, “What I mean by beauty / is a terror I have fled from / into language.”

Winter writes with a documentarian’s attention, a poet’s resonance. “I’m trying,” she admits, “to find language for what we do / to one another.” From Łódź, Poland, to predominantly white suburban America, from the space shared by queer lovers to antique cabinets filled with Nazi memorabilia, from Talmudic depictions of genderqueer rabbis to archival lynching photos, she regards the tender and the difficult with equal gravity, commemorating the fraught gift of survival.

At the heart of this collection—despite its moments of profound darkness—is a new, hard-won holiness. The “earthy aroma of rye” calling up a mother’s baking, her mother’s, hers. Belief in a lover’s lavishing. A chosen future, one where we are “reader, sibling, sister.” If Transgenesis began in fear of beauty, where it lands is this: “turning at last / to face her.”

Keywords
Jewish poetry; Poland; Holocaust; Nazism; queer poetry; transgender poetry; LGBTQIA; docupoetics; drag; Torah; antisemitism; racism; homophobia; lynching; intersectionality; femininity; transfemininity
ISBN
9781639550043
Publish Date
Pages
96
Dimensions
8.5 × 5.5 × 0.25 in
Weight
7 oz
Author

Ava Nathaniel Winter

Ava Nathaniel Winter is the author of Transgenesis, selected by Sean Hill for the 2023 National Poetry Series, and the poetry chapbook Safe House.