Product Details

$16.00  $14.88
Milkweed Editions
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.3 X 0.5 inches | 0.3 pounds

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About the Author

Jos Charles is a trans poet, editor, and author of the collection Safe Space. She is the recipient of the 2016 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship through the Poetry Foundation and the 2015 Monique Wittig Writer's Scholarship. She received an MFA from the University of Arizona and currently resides in Long Beach, California.


"A book like none other: in a personalized version of Chaucer's fourteenth-century English, Charles, a transgender woman, renders poems of unusual beauty and lyricism. . . . This is my current favorite book of 2018."--Dan Chiasson, New Yorker

"Charles, a trans woman, turns to a sort of Chaucerian-texting hybrid in an inspired effort to find language as unstable as her experience."--New York Times

"Dazzling . . . In Charles's hands, the language itself transitions, defamiliarized, and in its new spellings it opens to a poly-vocality where words contain hidden meanings."--Paris Review

"In feeld, the trans poet Jos Charles bends language, via willful spelling, to a place where it must be parsed slowly, struggled through, read not so much with the brain as the mouth. Language becomes a felt thing, a terrain to be crossed. . . . Through the strange labor of deciphering the text of feeld, I come to understand that Charles is transmitting an experience that I must allow to travel from her body into mine."--Tracy K. Smith, New York Times

"feeld is beguiling work, reimagining a new language somewhere between Middle English and the digital world of the 21st century. With that, Charles manages an excavation of language and trans identity."--Irish Times (The Best Books By Women of the 21st Century)

"Like the title of the collection, Charles treats language like an open field, a clearing in which something new can be built. Her re-spellings embody this philosophy, challenging readers to explore the open spaces, new meanings and, perhaps, find their place in them."--PBS NewsHour

"Completely stunning in its lyrical leaps. . . . The joy in reading this out loud, in the unraveling textures of each word. . . . Vital, tender work."-- Poetry Magazine

"Could we say Jos Charles's glorious feeld inextricates the battles for the past and for the future? feeld dives back into the wreckage, spins heart-stopping poems of trans life and struggle from the addictive, mouth-twisting lexica of Middle English."--Jordy Rosenberg, Nylon

"With language that knocks its reader off-balance, Jos Charles's feeld makes space, builds a stage, stretches out a hand, for the trans and queer bodies so often shunted to the side."--Bustle

"[feeld is] a totally new sound . . . an unprecedented syntax to accommodate an unprecedented experience. Every poet gropes their way towards this kind of sui generis utterance, but so few of us achieve it so absolutely."--Kaveh Akbar, American Poetry Review

"A reinvention--words become unique, tricky, and wondrous. . . . Against a neopastoral landscape overgrown with 'swolen leef' and 'boyish nectre, ' Charles explores the permutations and perforations of identity."--BOMB

"[feeld] is a profound body of work that's thought-provoking and wholly visceral. Ripe with natural imagery, surprising puns, and political statements that are jarring both in their truth and placement, feeld challenges the idea that writing about nature is only for straight, white, cis men."--Shondaland

"Magic . . . Jos Charles's feeld breaks language into almost unrecognizable spellings so that you have to trust the meaning will come as you sound out the words. The multiple meanings of homophones all come to light before one meaning is teased to the forefront by context."--Chicago Review of Books

"feeld, in its mode and method, lives in the same world as Finnegans Wake--both books force us to reconsider how language transfers (and hides) meaning."--The Millions

"For linguistic boldness and experimentation, it's hard to go wrong with the poems found in Jos Charles's collection feeld. What emerges is a blend of seemingly archaic language used to explore the nature of gender in new and unpredictable ways--and an absolutely gripping reading experience."--Vol. 1 Brooklyn

"Richly evocative . . . We can't read this book in a familiar way, blithely absorbed; the field requires we learn to read anew."--Kenyon Review

"To undermine and recreate our tools of value is a revolutionary act. Jos Charles's feeld unpacks and repacks the histories of each word with compelling lyricism, recreating the metaphors we live with and subscribe to inside."--Arkansas International

"Thrilling . . . Jos Charles's collection feeld makes a bold linguistic move."--Signature

"Disarming and engrossing . . . The collection undoes easy divisions between interior and exterior or science and nature. . . . Throughout, readers are subject to a careful recalibration of values, as Charles shows that a form is not important because it is static but rather because of the ways it changes, moves, and is perceived."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"feeld is a rare find that will be felt and studied for a long while. To reimagine a language of one's age is perhaps poetry's essential task. One can't perform this without exile from one's language, a paradox that belongs to the spectrum of translation as primary tool for life: DNA into protein, consciousness into perception. As Chaucerian English into the digital twenty-first century, feeld is in elite company, and is arguably unheralded in its lyric inventiveness. It's an archeology of the present ('wee wer so nashenal') and an anagram of the genetic code that is the body ('lorde i am 1 / lorde i am 2 / lorde i am infinate'). If one were to rewrite feeld into standard English, the poems, with their protean registers, would still captivate us. This book masters the interchangeable. An ache of mouth, of speech, a sensory illusion of German, French, and English, of 'hors' and 'glome, ' a corpus at the cusp of the 'plesure 2 b alive' 'tonite I wuld luv to rite the mothe inn the guarden / 2 greev it.' feeld reflects and emits the alienation, the estrangement, this transgender poet endures and overcomes: 'eech hole is a vote.' Jos Charles rearranges the alphabet to survive its ferocity against her body. Where language is weaponized, feeld is a whistleblower, a reclamation of art's domain. The solidarity engendered here reaches beyond the specific injustice to its speakers. As feeld illuminates the field on which we incorporate our physical being, it forges an ambitious liberation."--Fady Joudah

"In Jos Charles's irreplaceable and enticing feeld, the future of American poetry turns out to be the early medieval past. That future is slippery and overstuffed with puns, like Spenser, or like Joyce, except way more trans. Squares of parchment, scraps from market gardens, 'hewman partes' (human parts; parties where men use axes, or get cut), roosters, grass, 'harts, ' milk, privacy and the publicity of a language that has to be turned inside out and backward in order to engender, and not to misgender, what Charles wants to bring into our own time . . . 'i am afrayde / i am riting myeself.' Don't be afraid. Go and listen. It should no longer be 'tragyck / bieng undre / stood.' 'The tran knos.' It's time."--Stephanie Burt

"An 'inscription' that belies its potential 'equivalencies.' A scene like a 'stall, ' the 'entrance to an institution.' Reading Jos Charles's feeld, I entered, as you are, the 'thynge' of the book: its glottal, pre-English or about-English memory. 'bieng tran is a unique kinde off organe / i am speeching materialie / i am speeching abot hereditie, ' writes Charles, turning the mouth of a reader into an ear, as these lines are read, or imagined. Is there such a thing as an alternative silence? Form is contingent upon the means by which it traverses a territory, I understood, extending: the many 'partes' of this radical poetry, which spans, as it must: mornings, holes, breathing, genetics, and time so gold--'goldenne'--it melts before it can be sold."--Bhanu Kapil