Justice Piece // Transmission
Justice Piece // Transmission is a perverse and anxious attack on the concept of justice, asking “If I am the symptom, what is the cause?” Ranging from The Rocky Horror Picture Show to feminist sci-fi, white supremacy to the Berkeley Parents Network, gendered violence to Led Zeppelin, disciplinary heterosexuality to hypochondria, these twin poems tackle questions of how personal history and pop culture both build us up and tear us to shreds. Levin’s writing lives in a space of contradiction, a call to “Make everything ugly / No aesthetics left / no mysteries / only problems.”
Lauren Levin wrestles with the impossible in Justice Piece // Transmission: white supremacy, gender, the medical establishment, anxiety, ethnicity, mothering, sexuality, family, revolution … It’s all there. And Levin manages to win this match against the impossible, writing a new form of confessionalism that is at moments shocking, at other moments moving, and yet always attentive to the responsibilities of care for the world larger than the self. A stunning book.
“Levin’s work resists abstraction, and grounds itself in extreme realism by braiding (in the fashion of their first book, The Braid), contradicting materialist observations that overlap to the brink of almost-chaos. In just 110 pages, Justice Piece // Transmission spans memories and experiences of pop culture that have informed the speaker’s expansive sense or senselessness of identity, the reproductive labor of queer motherhood, hypochondria as a vestige of ancestral trauma, constantly distressing interactions with patriarchy, conversations with friends and community about building and repairing a world in which gender becomes central to the question of justice — that’s only a beginning.”