An honest lyric, a mighty harpoon straight from the heart, Golden’s debut chapbook, A DEAD NAME THAT LEARNED HOW TO LIVE weaves poems, family photographs, & self-portraits to share a journey of survival & living in the American south. Exploring themes of loss & legacy, nation & love language, forgiveness & fortitude, Blackness & being, Golden continually asks—What shifts within & around us when we choose to name ourselves & our kin here—our tragedy & triumphs, our human failures & feelings, our desires to be free? Releasing on their parent’s 30th wedding anniversary (August 29th, 2022) as a dedicated love letter & living archive, this debut is an awe & ode towards southern Virginia & Eastern Shore Maryland, Black family pasts, presents, & futures, to Black queer beginnings & belongings outside and within the family home.
“In A DEAD NAME THAT LEARNED HOW TO LIVE, poet Golden is larger than the line. This collection egged on the haughty, maniacal, expansive queer aliveness in me. This collection is all glitter and grit, all eye-of-the-storm clarity, all fist and bullet and Black love and queer war. Golden is a confrontation of gender, a play on God’s first name, a beautiful mess of family archival, and a brilliant and dextere voice. These poems are conduit and conductor, leading readers across the memorial landscape of the author’s Virginian upbringing. Everybody knows somebody who needs this chapbook. Cheers to these black nebula gifts, to all of us beyond XX and XY, to coming of age, and to never dying, but multiplying. Thank you, Golden, for the freedom and family in your mouth. This collection is a reunion all of us should attend decked in our Sunday’s best.” —Aurielle Marie
“A DEAD NAME THAT LEARNED HOW TO LIVE is a testimony of life ripe with weaponry and dire witness. These formally diverse poems and beautiful photographs incant spit and blood into and beyond ceremony, where ‘home is north & south, southern & city/ skull, bone & breast milk from// the most marvelous magicians/ this world done’ever called mother.’ This is a time capsule in honor of immortality if to be immortal is ‘How God might be/ another word for family in the south,’ if forever is the nation of a self prevailing.” —Phillip B. Williams
“Upon completion of this great work I was drawn back to the last three words of the title ‘how to live.’ There is a tension between form and family that permeates Golden's work. In one piece, form takes the place of family as the structure in which the narrator must rely on. In another piece, family supersedes form as the root in which the poetry springs. Yet, within this tug of war ever exists the instructional foreground of ‘how to live.’ Throughout these precious pages Golden permits us the right to life. Each poem acts as an unchaining. Each poem it's own liberatory dance. What I am saying is, Golden is someone we should be thanking. Thank you!" —Timothy DuWhite
Poetry. Hybrid. Art.
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GOLDEN (they/them) is a black gender-nonconforming trans-femme photographer, poet, & community organizer raised in Hampton, VA (Kikotan land), currently residing in Boston, MA (Massachusett people land). Their work documents the intersections between Blackness, family, and gender within the construct of America. Golden is the recipient of a Pink Door Fellowship (2017/2019), an Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Luminaries Fellowship (2019), the Frontier Award for New Poets (2019), a Best of the Net Award (2020), a City of Boston Artist-in-Residence (2020- 2021), a Mass Cultural Council Fellowship in Photography (2021), & a Women Photograph Project Grant (2021). Their work has been featured on/at Shade Literary Arts, the Offing, the Nation, Button Poetry, Vogue, Buzzfeed, i-D, the Boston Globe, & elsewhere. Golden holds a BFA in Photography from New York University (2018) and is currently working on their first full-length poetry manuscript & self-portraiture series entitled, On Learning How to Live, which documents black trans life at the intersections of surviving & living within the United States.