I just finished reading “Gravecleaner” by Jules Rylan (a Jewish nonbinary butch lesbian) and thought I might share it here.
“Gravecleaner” is a poetry” anthology of rebirth through queer identity and trauma recovery” and it navigates topics such as “heartbreak, family conflict, coming out as a lesbian, falling in love, overcoming addiction, trans identity, mental health recovery, and more”.
I truly loved this book❤️. It’s so beautifully written and comforting. If you’re interested in it you can buy it at their Ko-fi starting at 5$: https://ko-fi.com/s/bdbebe25c5
“I entered adulthood believing that my body was supposed to retain a certain kind of social capital in order to be valuable and desirable, and that capital lay in things like beauty, health, and sexual purity. A lot of the poems in the book chronicle my renegotiation of those beliefs in the wake of illness and assault. Letting go of all that allowed me to see myself clearer, see my God clearer, and reclaim my power.
But of course, in spite of all this work, everywhere I turn I’m reminded of how little this world values Black women, which affects me personally in some specific and contradictory ways. I’m often misread as being not enough of something: not smart enough, not beautiful enough, and in some instances, because I have albinism, not Black enough to even speak about these issues. Many of the poems in the book address that, but I also made space for the worlds in which I feel safest and most loved: the private spaces that me and Black women I love create with and for each other. That’s what’s saved me. That’s where I draw my strength, but also my sense of self-worth. I wanted the book to tell the totality of this reality: the blister and the balm.”
“As I sipped my own wine while reading this collection, I had the strong urge to put it down and never pick up a glass again, in part because I never felt judged. Ward and Libaire have mastered the delicate alchemy of instilling knowledge, understanding struggles, and conveying complete honesty all at once. Their words are powerful not because they demand change, but because they offer visionary wisdom about life after alcohol.”
Carolyn Yates was the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor for Autostraddle.com, with bylines in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, Xtra!, Jezebel, and elsewhere. They live in Los Angeles and also on twitter and instagram.