Four months. I have been looking for one excuse or the other to dodge this daunting review of j/j hastain’s Secret Letters by Crisis Chronicle Press. And after a lingering thrum of my conscience, I give in, and to my knowledge, it has been one orgasmic reading.
j/j hastain’s Secret Letters is a commissure. It is a reprive from half poetry. It is queer, benevolent and gilded with primal monologues, often disquiet with sudden waking ups. Her language is crisp, edgy and integral. The twenty six letters in this chapbook are occult conveyance into the body of an absent muse as one can imagine in private negotiations between lovers.
“I have been dreaming of being taken to a place where I can unconditionally lay, neither entirely alive nor entirely deceased, there to inhabit divination of ways for decay to be received as unconditionally sweet.” Pg 2
Reading this chapbook is like being in a lighthouse with all eyes on how the poet is making out with her words and syllables. j/j’s monologues render a surreal drift of the mind as one can find in Yan Lianke’s Lenin’s Kisses or Calvino’s Invisible Cities.
“This morning I am bleeding in the meadow, trying to read my clots, to perform translations by way of them while on my knees.” Pg 9
The sentences are impassioned hemorrhage. It’s a moan, introspective yet outgoing and confessional. In fact we all yearn to be “an agent so manifold that” we “could eat, exist off of and live off of” Pg 22, the other within us.
There cannot be a bolder sentence than this that summarizes the queer, the adventurous, the feminist in one loop of freedom-
“a she becomes a he becomes a she” Pg 27
j/j hastain is going to be forever remembered for this psychological insight of the human mind. This literary viagra is recommended to all those who haven’t had a poetic arousal lately. The rich visceral imagery will drug a soft heart to numbness. And “after you have” read into the Secret Letters “by choice, all future forms appear to you as shadow”. Pg 17
Dear ::: ,
My consciousness is in my ulterior organs. Lungs afloat in the ether are attached to ulterior hearts. I
must breathe this way so that I can breathe from outside of my body toward you, in order to breathe
I peppered the laryngeal prominences before slowly devouring them. I did this to tilt the garden: a
fleshy flash of linen being buried and unburied in soil, hints at apples floating in a pastel blur.
And if you can’t resist further, grab a copy here!
Jan 15, 2015 0CALL FOR: This is an invitation call for poetry editors, scholars, professors and creative writing geniuses to be a part of a mammoth project on contemporary world poetry of major Diasporas. WHAT IT IS NOT: This is not another anthology or a mere collective of poetry. This is a much...