FROM THE LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD WINNER
'I always meant to be a poet but got distracted by life.
It didn't help that I was part of a very gifted generation of poets and novelists at Oxford or that being queer and trans made it harder to find an authentic voice back in the 70s; transitioning, a period of ill health and a degree of hedonistic excess rather got in the way, as well as did my involvement with civil liberties politics. I wrote fiction – when it finally appeared in 2015, my late 80s novel of 70s trans street life won a Lambda – but I didn't return to poetry until late middle age, when grief over the death of friends unlocked my voice, along with a desire to say all the things that my life had given me to talk about...’
This substantial selection of poems from the 2015 Lambda Award-winner (for her trans novel Tiny Pieces of Skull, also available from Team Angelica) covers everything from her provocative and often raunchy translations of Catullus, her reflections, raw and considered, from a life very fully lived, on trans and queer/lgbtq+ experiences and politics, a playful engagement with figures from history and mythology - Sappho, Lilith, Aphrodite, Cassandra, Hecuba; commentary on pressing topical issues such as #MeToo, and poignant encomia to dead friends, loved ones and artists of note - Kathy Acker, Iain Banks, Robert Mapplethorpe.
Advance critical praise for Collected Poems:
'There is no room in the house that is not enhanced by a fine book of poetry. In this case it is Roz Kaveney's wonderful book of selected poems. Over the years, I read many of them, so I know how wonderful they are. Get them, take them into whatever room(s) you like to read, and enjoy Selected Poems (2009--2021); If you're anything like me, there will be lots here that will please you...'
- SAMUEL R. DELANEY
‘Startling, tender, elegiac, fierce... very, very good.’
‘Roz Kaveney’s passionate playful verse looks to the past in its formal elegance and its nostalgia for things and people lost, yet is contemporary in its engagement with a radical politics of sex and gender.’
‘I love Roz Kaveney’s work. Her dazzling poems marry formal mastery with profound insight into many of the central concerns and crises of our existences. Her subject matter ranges from the classical to the contemporary and she has the knack of vividly inviting us into the historical moment. She writes poems that offer up morals but never strike one as moralizing and her principled poetics are frequently leavened with moments of transporting loveliness. It’s this tension between tenderness and technique that makes Kaveney such a wonderful and necessary poet.’
-SALLY CONNOLLY, Ranches of Isolation and Grief and Meter
Roz Kaveney grew up working class, queer and temporarily Catholic in London and Wakefield, Yorkshire. She says of herself that she was ‘foolish enough to delay transition until my late twenties’ and has been actively committed to gay, feminist and trans politics since the early 1970s. She helped found Feminists Against Censorship and was deputy chair of Liberty, the civil liberties organisation, in the 90s. She is still an active voice in print and online journalism and in social media.
Wearing other hats, she has written extensively on popular culture in books like Teen Dreams and Reading the Vampire Slayer.
After abandoning poetry in her twenties, she returned to it in her late fifties, adopting an aggressive formalism as a way of queering the canon, writing poems on subjects excluded from the tradition by prejudice, and leading to this collection.
Her first collection, Dialectic of the Flesh was shortlisted for several awards, including the Lambda. Her epic fantasy sequence Rhapsody of Blood has received rave reviews in both the genre press and the mainstream, and, her novel Tiny Pieces of Skull, also available from Team Angelica Publishing, won the Lambda for Best Trans Fiction in 2015.
A thoughtful review by Dr Gina Gwenffrewi here.
A powerful review by Gina Maya here.
Hear Roz read a selection of her poems here.
Read this great interview with Roz in Pink News here.
Here's an interview with Roz in Diva.
You can buy this text following outlets:
Do check out this powerful interview with Roz Kaveney: