FINALIST for the 2023 Publishing Triangle Award for Trans and Gender-Variant Literature
A kaleidoscopic debut collection of poems performing queer excess and lyric ecstasy.
$9.99 – $17.95
This flirty collection traces unruly paths of becoming; its sprawling poems build towards an expansive world celebrating fluidity while casting a critical lens on state power, ecological precarity, and the yearning for queer utopia on stolen land. Referencing lineages of poets, musicians, workers and neighbors, as well as conversations between lovers and friends, stemmy things is a vision unraveling, breaking open to make space for glimmering while reckoning with the body’s multiple contexts. Layered, lush, and lavish, these poems offer up tangling, blossoming desire.
In imogen xtian smith’s poetic imaginary, tears are phrased as genders. In other words, we can only hurt ourselves into reliable languaging. After all, I’ve never known a queer who didn’t—in mulling over the body’s horrific (and ecstatic) illegibility—find themself embroiled in the hellish, scrambling landscape of the word. As transsexual babes, then, we issue forth as alien encounters, both in embodied life and on the page. And so, stemmy things is that alien encounter. This collection is a velvet-draped gift, a study of queer morphology, a little gay edge. In poem after poem, smith lovingly mirrors back our impossible trans darkness.
In this resplendent debut, selfhood is fluid and ungovernable. […] A lyric meditation on—and reckoning with—the author’s experience as a trans person, this collection delivers a provocative and original study of queer embodiment, and a sensitive exploration of grief.