Poetry. LGBTQIA Studies. THEORIES OF PERFORMANCE emerges from continued engagement with the issues living in and through a queer, trans, sick/Disabled man's body. Traveling between Chicago to western New York state, caregiving for his terminally ill mother, and grappling with hostility both directly personal and apparently impersonal but political, Jay Besemer presents poems that explode the multiple valences of "performance"—of gender, of expectation, as a type of art—and the theories around them. These poems are confident, playful, and angry; they know both limitation and unboundedness; and they attend, carefully and lovingly, to the language of one's body. THEORIES OF PERFORMACE is a 2021 finalist for transgender poetry in Lambda's Literary Awards.
"Jay Besemer's tensile lyrics palpate the many ambiguous and ambivalent spheres by which a person becomes known both to themselves and others—the public, the private, the domestic, the intimate, the bodily, the verbal."—Joyelle McSweeney
"THEORIES OF PERFORMANCE pulses with urgent jolts that lead us to consider the many ways in which we are always putting on a show...along the way we revel in the sound poetry of the pharmaceutical industry, in the known and unknown territory that is our guts, our lungs, our feet, our brains."—Daniel Borzutzky
author siteInterview with Thomas Whyte @ Poetry Mini InterviewsInterview with Nicholas Alexander Hayes @ Your Impossible VoiceInterview with Ruben Quesada @ Kenyon ReviewInterview with Julia Cohen and Abby Hagler @ Tarpaulin Sky Magazine
Poet and artist Jay Besemer is the author of numerous poetry collections, including the double chapbook Wounded Buildings/Simple Machines (Another New Calligraphy 2022) and Theories of Performance (The Lettered Streets Press, 2020). He is also the author of a long-form hybrid essay, On Being Half-Imaginary (Beir Bua Press, forthcoming 2024). He was a 2021 Lambda Literary Award Finalist for Transgender Poetry, and a finalist for the 2017 Publishing Triangle Award for Trans and Gender-Variant Literature. Jay was included in the groundbreaking anthology Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics. Find him online at www.jaybesemer.net and on social media, mostly Twitter and occasionally Tumblr and Mastodon.Author City: CHICAGO, IL USA