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In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives (Sexual Cultures)by Judith Halberstam
Synopses & Reviews
Brooklyn, crouching forever in the shadow of Manhattan, is perhaps best known for a certain bridge or for the world-renowned tackiness of Coney Island. When it comes to literary history, Brooklyn can also seem dwarfed by its sister borough—until you take a closer look. As unlikely as it may sound, for more than two centuries Brooklyn has inspired poets and poetry. Although there are plenty of poetry anthologies devoted to specific regions of the United States, Broken Land is the first to focus exclusively on verse that celebrates Brooklyn. And what remarkable verse it is.
Edited by poets Julia Spicher Kasdorf and Michael Tyrell, this collection of 135 notable poems reveals the many cultural, ethnic, aesthetic, and religious traditions that have accorded Brooklyn its enduring place in the American psyche. Dazzling in its selections, Broken Land offers poetry from the colonial period to the present, including contributions from the American poets most closely associated with Brooklyn—Walt Whitman, Hart Crane, and Marianne Moore—as well as memorable poems from Elizabeth Bishop, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, George Oppen, and Charles Reznikoff. Also included are a wide range of contemporary works from both established and emerging poets: Derek Walcott, Galway Kinnell, C.K. Williams, Amy Clampitt, Martin Espada, Lisa Jarnot, Marilyn Hacker, Tom Sleigh, D. Nurkse, Donna Masini, Michael S. Harper, Noelle Kocot, Joshua Beckman, and many others.
With its expansive array of poetic styles and voices, Broken Land mirrors the borough's diversity, toughness, and surprising beauty. The requirements for inclusion in this volume were simple: excellent poems that pay tribute in some way to the land that Dutch settlers, translating from the Algonquian, called “Gebroken landt.” But it is the phrase emblazoned on borough billboards that best serves to entice readers into entering this book: “Welcome to Brooklyn, Like No Other Place in the World.”
In her first book since the critically acclaimed Female Masculinity, Judith Halberstam examines the significance of the transgender body in a provocative collection of essays on queer time and space. She presents a series of case studies focused on the meanings of masculinity in its dominant and alternative formsespecially female and trans-masculinities as they exist within subcultures, and are appropriated within mainstream culture.
In a Queer Time and Place opens with a probing analysis of the life and death of Brandon Teena, a young transgender man who was brutally murdered in small-town Nebraska. After looking at mainstream representations of the transgender body as exhibited in the media frenzy surrounding this highly visible case and the Oscar-winning film based on Brandon's story, Boys Dont Cry, Halberstam turns her attention to the cultural and artistic production of queers themselves. She examines the “transgender gaze,” as rendered in small art-house films like By Hook or By Crook, as well as figurations of ambiguous embodiment in the art of Del LaGrace Volcano, Jenny Saville, Eva Hesse, Shirin Neshat, and others. She then exposes the influence of lesbian drag king cultures upon hetero-male comic films, such as Austin Powers and The Full Monty, and, finally, points to dyke subcultures as one site for the development of queer counterpublics and queer temporalities.
Considering the sudden visibility of the transgender body in the early twenty-first century against the backdrop of changing conceptions of space and time, In a Queer Time and Place is the first full-length study of transgender representations in art, fiction, film, video, and music. This pioneering book offers both a jumping off point for future analysis of transgenderism and an important new way to understand cultural constructions of time and place.
About the Author
Judith Halberstam is professor of literature at UC San Diego. She is the author of Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters, Female Masculinity and co-author with Del LaGrace Volcano of The Drag King Book.
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