FROM THE LAMBDA AWARD-WINNING TRANS ICON
'In the autumn of 2021, well into the second year of Covid-19 and the start of the fifth year of the War On Trans, I noticed a lot of bleakness creeping into trans social media and thought it my job as a community elder to remind young people that things have been, if not worse, at least as bad in different ways.
Back in the late ’70s, when I transitioned, I acquired as my peer group a bunch of slightly younger trans women who I met around Soho, and for a short while became their landlady, bail person and wailing wall. I had middle class and educational privilege they didn’t – I hope I used it for the greater good. It was – as much as my time in Chicago – the making of me.
It taught me a lot about solidarity.
And then we all moved on. Some of them died: some of them are still alive.
The important thing about life in an embattled community is to have each other’s backs.
The Great Good Time includes a few older poems about that period. I’ve also added a selection of the work I wrote and read for Trans Day of Remembrance and a couple of uncollected poems from the time before I wrote formal verse.'
- from the foreword by ROZ KAVENEY
Here are some video snippets from an important trans solidarity public meeting hosted by Momentum Hackney, at which Roz spoke on supporting trans rights and liberation.
‘Startling, tender, elegiac, fierce... very, very good.’
- JOANNE HARRIS, author of Chocolat
‘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.’
- RICHARD HOWARD, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
‘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.
Hear Roz read a selection of her poems here.
Read this great interview with Roz in Pink News here.
You can buy this text via the following outlets:
Do check out this excellent video of Roz discussing trans rights and the struggle for liberation: