A polyphonic and typographic debut collection of poems that vibrantly strategizes life and resistance under white supremacist capitalism.
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Winner of the 2023 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry
MissSettl is a funny, joyful, and spiteful collection of seriously playful poems; they carry on with provocation, engagement, and mourning for what has been done to our living practices. These poems lampoon rigged games of common sense, syntax, and citizenship to expose the mechanics of what Americans have become and what they might be freed into after the end of capitalism, and gender, and race, and money, and property. MissSettl confronts what’s in the way of love; it disrupts what limits our potential.
“Kamden Hilliard is one of the most unique poets. Whether writing about blackness, settler colonialism, or racial capitalism, they ‘tricc’ syntax and form into something both ‘skinthicc’ and ‘metaphysiqule.’ MissSettl invites us to party inside the ‘weerd’ language of multiple selves dancing and transforming ‘queerdum.’”
“Kamden Hilliard’s language addresses the present, wherein ‘thot’ replaces thought—and the military-industrial complex and its several violences has proven merely a ‘warflik’ we might choose to watch (or not). I’m continually drawn in by Hilliard’s ‘Nickelodeons,’ not just the one Nickelodeon (which is itself confined to a particular 90s moment we will relive) but the televisual multiplicity of myriad concurrent Nickelodeons that MissSettl evokes. Where else do we get to see, hear, or succumb to the dangerous play Hilliard is embroiled in here?”
“In MissSettl, Hilliard unsettles QWERTY and queers linguistic bedrock to unlock readers from our own stiff poetic leanings and beliefs about the ‘Clotted sign, cloying signifier’ that celebrity and academicians alike accommodate for small change. These poems make hypersense, are tricksters baffling the OED with alphanumeric chimeras and lines so long they yawn at their pantomime because what they mimic bores with bullshit violence: ‘The university didn’t mean to offend that hair ,/ but was just so demographically curious about where you come from.’ MissSettl embraces everything Black and queer and I’m here for it, am shown how fuccd I am through these critiques of capitalism, ableism, and [insert hetero-entangled-ism]. No book has been this bitingly generous to me in years.”
MissSettl, Kamden Ishmael Hilliard’s delightfully jarring debut collection, explodes assumptions about language, race, and American (post)colonialism in an age of information overload… A 21st century Dadaist or Metamodernist text, this collection demands that readers rethink the present state (and future!) of American poetics.
In reading MissSettl, meaning is coming to us already thrown out. Disposed of. As quickly as we’re asked to participate in this sense-making game, we’re cast into the ensuing gunfire of the speaker’s imagination.
In MissSettl nonbinary poet Kamden Ishmael Hilliard pushes against everything that inhibits genuine love and genuine self.
MissSettl uses big words and made-up words because they’re all the same. MissSettl explores first loves, sexual identity, identity, the absurdity of definition, and is constantly seeking to exist without the need for definition, without the need for justification.
“The power of these poems—and this interview—comes from Hilliard’s demonstration that there does exist the potential for further capaciousness and plasticity—of language, play, singing, thought, and (importantly) imagination—which can be enacted uncompromisingly against the internal and external sanctions that would seek to limit such efforts.”
Singular, multiple, full.
Click here to read the excerpt “RUNNING ERRANDS” from MissSettl!
This is life and/or death poetry. This is love poetry to a most infinite degree of love pushing it/us beyond its/our known capacity.
Kamden Hilliard is a non-binary poet, educator, and scholar. They are the author of MissSettl (2022). They are also the author of three chapbooks of poetry: distress tolerance (2016 …