A debut collection of love poems that resist subjection and ask how we might live together outside of capitalism, providing for each other through intimate acts of care and struggle.
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FINALIST for the 2022 California Book Awards in Poetry!
FINALIST for the 2022 Publishing Triangle’s Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry!
In Permanent Volta, here are love poems about how queer intimacies invent political and poetic forms, how gender deviance imagines post-sovereign presents and futures. Full of bad grammar, strange sonnets, and truncated sestinas, these poems are for anyone motivated by the homoerotic and intimate etymology of comrade: one who shares the same room. If history sees writers as tops and muses as bottoms, these poems refuse, invert, and evade representation. Here, muses demand wages, then demand the world.
“A paean to the disruptive power of queer desire, Rosie Stockton’s rhapsodic debut, Permanent Volta, embodies a poetics of the swerve, of switch life beyond butch and femme, where we inhabit, kaleidoscopically, the pleasure-pains of Eros’s excesses. We are hailed, are beckoned by, Stockton’s visionary imperatives: ‘it’s time / for love / in the time / of dollar store cutlery.’ We torque to find a way to love under late-capitalism, awash in the luxurious bliss of Permanent Volta, with Stockton as our humble guide.”
“Brainy, bratty, witty, libidinal, vulnerable, this book is a ‘bad sub,’ a queer comrade you can trust to show up on the front lines of resistance.”
“A fresh take on contemporary subjectivity and gender (‘deep in my reliquary it rots like gender’), Permanent Volta is necessary reading for those of us who aim to re-invent the future.”
“These poems rise, softly recede and then spill forth—like a body of water, like a ‘spilt glass of wine’, like desire itself. In this collection, an addicting world of eroticism and fantasy is carefully constructed, while the speaker remains firmly rooted in the reality of materiality, grasping with its bleakness, while finding escape and beauty wherever is possible. Inherently radical, these delicate poems will shatter you in the most pleasurable way.”
Permanent Volta is a lush collection of poetry about the possibilities of love outside capitalism, and love as a way to resist its abuses. The poems are exceedingly relevant to our uneasy time: about hating work and being broke, but also about being in love, and needing sex, luxury, and care.
Stockton presents ceaselessly fluxing potentials for eros, care, and language. Attentive to the mundane details that make life—and creating art from within the proletariat grind—so challenging, Stockton mercifully shares a rich and resourceful view of love’s future.
Rosie Stockton’s Permanent Volta is a heady and playful debut marked by apostrophes, commands, shrugged epiphanies, rhetorical questioning, and an earnestness that all operate in a shrouded didactic mode… In poem after poem, Stockton explores a bittersweet reckoning with repetition compulsion or rather, tries to understand what it means when we miss the feeling of the “brink” more than the person whose departure creates it.
Stockton would never proclaim that they have the blueprint we need to build this future. Rather, their work reminds us that we must learn how the systems that produce us function and how we are complicit in them. Only then can we destroy them. Stockton reminds us, too, that our resistance and pleasure both insist on welcoming change on an oceanic scale.
Rosie’s poems are a treasure chest of poetic forms, with language both proper and rowdy. They’re an Edna St. Vincent Millay of our Gender-Fluid generation.
And here they are: the queer poems of intimacy we’ve all needed—even if we didn’t realize we needed them.
Stockton is a master of poetic forms and a fiercely committed queer visionary… A reader can jump into this stunning collection most anywhere, and swim in a whirling torrent of images, of sharp thought, of beauty.
I was struck by the harmonic assemblage of Stockton’s writing, the playful sheen cast by their images, and a meticulous ear for hypnotic language. We spoke over Zoom in early May, during the afterglow of a new moon, just before the release of their debut poetry collection, Permanent Volta, and discussed queer poetics as a mode of contesting subjection, methods for transmuting desire, and using miracles to abolish time.
I invite you, dear reader, to dream with Stockton on the pages of Permanent Volta, if only to “hear the things/we cannot see,” in an effort to transform all our relations, so that “together we made/this place/together/we can leave it.”
Read Rosie Stockton on “Permanent Volta, II” in Poetry Society of America!
Rosie Stockton is a poet based in Los Angeles. Their first book, Permanent Volta, is the recipient of the 2019 Sawtooth Prize, and was published by Nightboat Books in 2021 …