book: In other words you/ (forthcoming)

 

“Timothy Liu chose two for the Hilary Tham Capital Collection: Edward Madden’s A Pooka in Arkansas and Kevin McLellan’s In Other Words You/” forthcoming from the Word Works in 2023.

This book traffics in the second person. These queer meditations are both directly addressed to and overheard by a beloved You—Self / Other / Reader conjoined in a dance of enjambed vocables, a syntactic pas de deux of monostichs and couplets punctuated by fragmentary prose epistles. We are reminded of the demands that the libido makes, the joys of (w)rote habits ruptured by the new, all of it backed up by an Eighties soundtrack pulsing hard out of the Castro all the way to the U.K. So fasten your seatbelts. The you you left with will not be the same you upon return.

Timothy Liu, author of Vox Angelica, Say Goodnight, and Of Thee I Sing 

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The astounding poems that comprise–vividly inhabit–Kevin McLellan’s In other words you/ waver between biblical lamentations and a contemplative sense of memorialized irony. They are a series of snap shots–an embodiment of–gay male longing and queer desire told through a series of time fractured images, song fragments, objects, and muted emotions: a remembrance of the past, vividly illuminated. McLellan vividly conjures those moments of emotional panic and sadness–“/ your breathing [stanza break] a leak in the silence”–that jolt us from consciousness into a dream world of not just regret but a veneration, a reverence that borders on holiness. The enormous power of these poems is embedded in their quietness, their contemplation, transfiguration of the loss of the everyday.

Michael Bronski, author of A Queer History of the United States and Culture Clash: The Making of Gay Sensibility

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Vulnerable, sexy, hopeful, and in every way human, Kevin McLellan’s, in other words you / is a wonder. I was brought so deeply into the intimacy the neighborliness of the worlds McLellen opens to. The bros putting sunscreen on each other. The robin the size of a pigeon. Bodies morphing into dream bodies on endless screens. In this beautiful book the invitation of the / is also testament to a world where AIDS and so many ruptures have robbed us of generations: that devastation that yearning for new connection. But how? How do we keep reaching out, running through the rain past the neighbors, asking someone to meet for a cheese and pickle sandwich. I loved these poems and felt like crying almost the whole time. Is this elegy? Insofar as it is also deep deep celebration. The world goes on somehow. This book is the somehow.

Gabrielle Calvocoressi, author of Rocket Fantastic and The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart