Poetry Grrrowl: Lyric Sexology Vol 1. + Trish Salah

April 12, 2019

In this expanded Canadian edition, Lyric Sexology Vol 1. (Metonymy Press), Trish Salah uses poetic sequence to inspire new and creative thought about the languages in which trans sexuality or transgender has been previously imagined. In today's poetry grrrrowl Q&A, Trish explains the influence of language in her writing process and shares the poem "Eulalia for Mother Night" from the collection.

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Interview with the Poet


All Lit Up: Tell us about your collection.

Trish Salah:  Lyric Sexology, Vol 1 is a poetic sequence that explores different archives in which gender variance and trans possibility has been written, like historical sexology, or feminist science fiction of the 1970s and 80s. It picks up different languages in which trans sexuality or transgender has been imagined and tries to do something new, critical and curious with them. It was first published by Roof in New York in 2014, and in 2017, the lovely folks at Metonymy brought an expanded, and gorgeous Canadian edition.  Currently I’m working on Volume 2.


ALU: What is your process for beginning a poem? Has it changed since you began writing?

TS: It varies a lot depending upon the type of poem. At root though, I am always running language through my brain, and writing in dialogue with what I’m reading and thinking about. A poem begins when language catches somewhere, or simply when I sit down to it.


ALU: What sparked your initial love of poetry?

TS: Song and storytelling. So folk ballads, swoony seventies mystical art rock concept albums, punk. And myths and legends.


ALU: Who are some of your fave women of poetry?

TS: Some of my fave women poets include, Etel Adnan, M. NourbeSe Philip, Joy Ladin, Harryette Mullen, Trace Peterson, Gwen Benaway, Sina Queyras, Jos Charles, Dionne Brand, Kai Cheng Thom…


ALU: What do you find most informs and inspires your writing?

TS: Desire, and politics, and how weird language is.


ALU: If you had one superpower, what would it be? Could you describe it in a haiku?



Her power, simply

To slow down, speed, time travel

Why so melancholy?


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A Poem from Lyric Sexology Vol. 1


"Eulalia for Mother Night"


Saint Abel bombs to be a Barcelona called Chloe
Saint Sometimes Soon to be Chloe accepted.

An actor decides if detours, what’s arrived
Are art is lunges male managed mind

Student soma asks attitude of spirit birds
Susana begs becoming clothes consolidated

On experience from a far farm Pretoria painted
Older person finally “friends” Dorothy who knew later

Feelings, felt film gave gender exhibition
Film enjoyed homosexual—Ibiza eventually

Theatres of countryside, of doctor Doc’s doors
Talking theatre thin or Eulalia’s exhibited Gallery

Town transsexual took trees wanted island surges
Took a walk on the weekend, a woman situation

Mother never thought women realized role
Night offers interest spent, spritely: stay idea stay

Portal wise looks can seem weaker
Someone relating emotional problems

Someone to a Warrior Prince of England
But Erica suggested more Islands, more


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MTY_Trish Salah photo by Kaspar Saxena

Born in Halifax, Trish Salah is the author of Wanting in Arabic (TSAR 2002, 2013) and Lyric Sexology Vol. 1 (Roof 2014, Metonymy 2017) and co-editor of special issues of Canadian Review of American Studies 35.2 (2005) and TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 1.4 (2014). The 2013 edition of Wanting in Arabic won the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Fiction. At the University of Winnipeg she organized the conferences Writing Trans Genres: Emergent Literatures and Criticism and Decolonizing and Decriminalizing Trans Genres. Currently an assistant professor of Gender Studies at Queen's University, she is a member of the editorial boards of TSQEoagh, and Topia.



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