Dialogically writing the queer and trans body in fragments

In recent years we have seen an explosion of trans memoirs, but relatively few of these have a poetic sensibility or include poetry. In this paper I will extend the concept of ‘transpoetics’, first coined by trans writer and poet T.C. Tolbert in his edited collection Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (2013), who said in a recent interview that poetry meant ‘I could do things in language and create a world for myself that I didn’t know how to inhabit with my body’. I will posit that transpoetics carries all the markers of a dialogic form, despite the fact that Bakhtin privileged the novel over poetry and poetics, claiming that poetry could only ever be monologic. I then discuss Butler’s notion of performativity alongside Jay Prosser’s interventions against using the trans body as metaphor to destabilise gender norms, and finally meditate on drag, the practice of reading, and look at transpoetics as chronotope. By placing this work alongside my own autobiographical prose poetry, this paper also performs a heteroglossic, ‘both/and’ writing of the queer and trans body.

Works cited: 


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