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A Queen in Bucks County

 Author: Kay Gabriel  Category: Lammy Finalist, Poetry  Publisher: Nightboat Books  Published: September 27, 2022  ISBN: 9781643621494  Pages: 80  Language: English  Tags: Trans Woman / Femme Author |  Alibris  Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Bookshop org  Kobo  Publisher  Find in a Library
 Description:

An epistolary sequence about sex, exchange and social space set along the Northeast Corridor.

In A Queen in Bucks County, our protagonist Turner, who both is and is not the writer, makes his pleasurable way through miserable space. Men “buy him things,” lovers drive across state lines, users down volatile cocktails to see what happens, landlords turn tenants out, and Turner writes poetic tracts to friends about it. Part pornography, part novel, all love letter, A Queen in Bucks County is an experiment in turning language upside down to see what falls out.

What others are saying:

“‘This thing, ‘ Turner declares, ‘is multiform, contingent, ambivalent, and I call her my sex. Even if I make choices I still like everything.’ Bucks County imagines desire as a constant, not a crisis, but it is a constant that is flexible and porous, with a poetics to match. Its formal omnivorousness makes it by turns friendly and rebarbative, breezy and firm, offering a solid reminder that the most heretical attitudes toward form often give the strongest evidence of what it can do. If form is a figure for the ways we are bound, always, to the demand to make sense to others, it is also a means by which we unravel, exultantly, from ourselves.”–Anahid Nersessian, The New York Review of Books

“This startling collection successfully highlights the precarious spaces of social exchange in a largely uncompassionate world.”–Publishers Weekly

“In A Queen in Bucks County, Kay Gabriel finds a connection between trans femininity and modernism as she documents one person’s winding journey from suburb to city.”–McKenzie Wark, The Nation

“The cachet of Bucks County goes beyond booze and blues: The collection sparkles with revolutionary verve. […] Gabriel’s vision of the future works because it’s not an idyll of free love and endless sunshine–but a world where the pleasure of leisure has become banal reality. Bucks County gives us concrete aspirations cloaked in rail yard glamor and glitz.”–Irma Kiss Barath, 34th Street Magazine

“Besides being an abolitionist organizer, Kay Gabriel is active in New York’s radical poetry scene. She coedited We Want It All: Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics. Her epistolatory prose poems in A Queen in Bucks County combine radical poetics and politics with gossip, sex, and humor. It’s everything.”–McKenzie Wark, Document Journal

“For the desirous, it’s better when one has options rather than reasons. No one knows this better than Turner, the self-professed ‘Epistoslut’ of Kay Gabriel’s dazzling A Queen in Bucks County. His penchant for the amorous exchange–brought into the mouth by the hand and disbursed into the world again as letters, and poems, and commands, and suggestions, questions, dares, and fantasies–makes for what one wants, regardless: poems that sharpen the unquenchable desires we have right now into a ‘sluice of vision’ for the future. Kay Gabriel’s writing makes radical altruism seem possible. No tiny cock doesn’t get to also be a karaoke mic covered in the slobber of one or more of her close friends. No letter gets addressed without the surfeit of need to be written back sounded loud and clear. One of the many pleasures in reading Kay Gabriel’s writing is to feel like it was written expressly for me, but also for everyone I love.”–Shiv Kotecha

“Spiked and sparkling by turns, Turner and Kay turn keys, rev.”–Jackie Ess

“What if Elsa Triolet had forbidden her suitor to write her, not about love, but about being trans? What if whorishness and camp were uncanny for celebrity? for commodity? for New Jersey? Oh wait… I loved reading Kay Gabriel’s A Queen in Bucks County because it is a committedly horny book, an epistolary roman à clef, in sometimes verse, a pornotract blowing up (or blowing off) the parallel trajectories of identitarian capture and belle lettrist tokenization laid out for queer and trans writers and writing under the sign of literature. Like its protagonist, Turner, it is also a hot mess of the best sort, lolling about and luxuriating in the fruits of the hustle, hungry for the next, marinating in and musing on friendship, ruins, The Valley of the Dolls, Jack Spicer, and gossiping with Gabriel’s loves about what distracts, amuses or revolts, or could.”–Trish Salah

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About the author

Kay Gabriel

Kay Gabriel is a poet and essayist. With Andrea Abi-Karam, she co-edited We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics. She’s the author of Kissing Other People or the House of Fame and A Queen in Bucks County.

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