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Book Cover for: Transgenesis, Ava Winter


Ava Winter

An excavatory collection of poems tracing the connections between Jewish transfemininity, queer desire, and cultural histories.

Selected by Sean Hill for the National Poetry Series, this collection is a scrupulous chronicle of individual and cultural knowledge. In an exceptional debut, Ava Nathaniel Winter challenges our concepts of the beautiful and the sacred, delving not only into the historically marginalized, but also into the chilling subconscious of supremacy. "Let me be clear / from this beginning," she writes, "What I mean by beauty / is a terror I have fled from / into language."

Winter writes with a documentarian's scrupulousness, a poet's resonance. "I'm trying," she admits, "to find language for what we do / to one another." From Lódź, Poland, to predominantly white suburban America, from the space shared by queer lovers to antique cabinets filled with Nazi memorabilia, from Talmudic depictions of genderqueer rabbis to archival lynching photos, she regards the tender and the difficult with equal gravity, commemorates the fraught gift of survival.

At the heart of this collection--despite its moments of profound darkness--is a new, hard-won holiness. The "earthy aroma of rye" calling up a mother's baking, her mother's, hers. Belief in a lover's lavishing. A chosen future, one where we are "reader, sibling, sister." If Transgenesis began in fear of beauty, where it lands is this: "turning at last / to face her."

Book Details

  • Publisher: Milkweed Editions
  • Publish Date: Aug 6th, 2024
  • Pages: 96
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 0.00in - 0.00in - 0.00in - 0.00lb
  • EAN: 9781639550043
  • Categories: JewishLGBTQ+Subjects & Themes - Political & Protest

About the Author

Winter, Ava: - Ava Nathaniel Winter is the author of Transgenesis, selected by Sean Hill for the 2023 National Poetry Series, and the poetry chapbook Safe House. Her work has appeared in The Baffler, Beloit Poetry Journal, Poetry International, Room, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. She served as a Stadler Fellow at Bucknell University and received an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. Winter holds an MFA from the Ohio State University and a PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she teaches in the Department of English and the Women's and Gender Studies Program.

Praise for this book
Praise for Transgenesis

"Ava Nathaniel Winter's Transgenesis puts us in the presence of a curious and brilliant mind. They seek to understand past deadly bigotries--the Shoah and lynchings--as a way of surviving the present and imagining a future of change. There is querying in these poems, which delve into various archives and engage with historical texts--old stories--and question the market for Nazi and KKK memorabilia and other material culture from historic atrocities. These kept objects and texts are carefully considered as the speaker ruminates on masculinity, gender, and discrimination, sharing intimate moments wherein the speaker sees and is seen in their body. Ultimately, these care-filled poems provide the reader with nourishment. You will be changed for the better by reading this necessary book--I am immensely grateful to see it in the world."--Sean Hill, author of Dangerous Goods

Praise for Safe House

"As Ava Nathaniel Winter insists in her poem 'The Field, ' we must 'Know the field, / pungent and sun-touched, is both more and less / than a field.' Contained within its cultivated cycles of growth and harvest are, beneath the horizon and our notice, lives and deaths we cannot control. It is this carnal joy and decay that Winter writes her poems in praise and memory of. In lines decorous and restrained, Winter builds us a Safe House that is anything but safe, where our passionate bodies are thoroughly at home."--Kathy Fagan, author of Bad Hobby

"Ava Nathaniel Winter's Safe House is a dense and untamed collection. With marked precision and rich language, the poems tug, lure, and serenade you into a labyrinth of unexpected tales. Some toothy and smart-mouthed, others demure and at times devious, Winter's poems change the world you thought you knew."--Jeanann Verlee, author of Racing Hummingbirds

"This collection is full of absence, loss, heartbreak and most importantly, a reclaiming of the voice. What I found fascinating is Winter's interrogation of maleness and bodyness--a gay mob boss meets his lover, Abraham studies his son, a man is released to his family on parole. These poems know that all love carries risk."--Hannah Stephenson, author of In the Kettle, the Shriek

"The poems somehow find a fulcrum in a space that occupies both violence and compassion. They are gentle poems, but unafraid to illustrate for their readers some of the complicated questions we seem to face so often we hardly realize it--questions, for example, about how we treat those we love, especially after we love them, when we have entered that odd space that we tend to call 'moving on.'"--Molly Rector, Daily Record