Through the creaking of bedazzled branches and the soft rustle of jeweled leaves, deciduous qween explores the queer world all around us--how we, like our environment, wear and shed different identities in our performance as human, as drag queen, as ancient tree. This collection reveals in the natural world those ephemeral moments which reflect our own truths and confront our fear of death, of loneliness, and of failure. With an air of Southern Gothic mysticism, the poet reflects on a childhood spent in Houston's bayous, an adolescence rife with curiosity and shame, and a young adulthood marred by the loss of his mother. How do our bodies and minds find equilibrium as we learn to let go, yet long to remember? The title poem, "deciduous qween, I-V," binds the collection in a five-part sequence, pondering those things that are lost in the seasons of our lives: teeth, antlers, body, shape, and leaf. And it's those sharp edges of loss and the scars they leave behind that linger here, like bark stripped from a swaying willow, or a family bereft of its matriarch.
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About the Author
Matty Layne Glasgow is the author of the poetry collection, deciduous qween, selected by Richard Blanco as the winner of the Benjamin Saltman Award and forthcoming from Red Hen Press in 2019. He is runner-up for Missouri Review's 2017 Jeffrey E. Smith Editors' Prize and finalist for Nimrod's 2018 Pablo Neruda Prize. His poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net anthologies and appear in the Missouri Review, Crazyhorse, Collagist, BOAAT, Muzzle, and elsewhere. He lives in Houston, Texas where he teaches with Writers in the Schools and adjuncts his life away.
Rooted in ache and wonderment, deciduous qween by Matty Layne Glasgow is a dazzling queer catalog of loss and gain. The death of a singular mother kindles the empathic imagination of the speaker. Trees, like drag queens, preen and sparkle. Those marginalized by society are seen and heard. Pop culture clarifies desire. Glasgow's command of craft is impressive. The images are precise and sensual, the lines are musical, and he pours language into eye-catching forms. The dexterity with language is matched by emotional acuity. Vulnerability, brashness, grief, and astonishment leap off the page. deciduous qween is a marvelous and inventive debut.
--Eduardo C. Corral
The Texas of Matty Layne Glasgow's deciduous qween is big, teased out, and sequined, but it is also parched, prickly with violence and grief, and fire-gutted, its aspens "all char-soaked & done up with ash." In poems as deft as they are refreshingly unguarded, Glasgow queers nature itself, revealing the possibilities in the landscape to be as complex and limitless as those of the self: "There's a buzz in the air. / It's the world unzipping.
Houston Public Media, audio reading with Matty Layne Glasgow
Haunting... You will see yourself more than once in the collection.
-- Amos Lassen Reviews
The collection of poems feels mythological, larger than life. It creates its own legends and heroes, where trees and the natural world aren't just backdrops but true characters in their own right. Glasgow creates a forest community in nature and drag alike, where glitter and sequins enhance the mourning son, the sweet and sultry deciduous qween. https: //www.gertrudepress.org/deciduous-qween.html
In Matty Layne Glasgow's Deciduous Qween (Red Hen Press), we move through the characters, costumes, and masks that make us whole. He reminds us that whether we want to wear our masks to sing ourselves to the world, or hide behind until our bodies know "how the years / pass in rings within him, / but you carve through that / history, fashion him a tooth-
chipped corset. The you scurry / down, and we watch that willow / sway." Or until you're told you "have a booty like / a thick-ass birch leaf."
The poems of Deciduous Qween excavate the body and talk about it fearlessly, with exact attention. They rustle with honest statements that fall as they become part of a greater nature. They exist in a desert where loss and restlessness have come to play and be. You will find yourself attached to these funny, pensive and tender poems. They will follow you around helping you name what you were actually feeling, not what you think you should feel because others have said so. Read this when you want to feel free. --Analicia Sotelo