by Joshua Whitehead
Using binary code and texts from classics of the English language such as Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, Joshua Whitehead unravels the coded "I" to trace the formation of a colonized self and reclaim representations of Indigenous texts.
This poetry collection focuses on a hybridized Indigiqueer Trickster character named Zoa who brings together the organic (the protozoan) and the technologic (the binaric) in order to re-beautify and re-member queer Indigeneity. This Trickster is a Two-Spirit / Indigiqueer invention that resurges in the apocalypse to haunt, atrophy, and to reclaim. Following oral tradition (à la Iktomi, Nanaboozho, Wovoka), Zoa infects, invades, and becomes a virus to canonical and popular works in order to re-centre Two-Spirit livelihoods. They dazzlingly and fiercely take on the likes of Edmund Spenser, Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, and John Milton while also not forgetting contemporary pop culture figures such as Lana Del Rey, Grindr, and Peter Pan. Zoa world-builds a fourth-dimension, lives in the cyber space, and survives in NDN-time – they have learned to sing the skin back onto their bodies and remain #woke at the end of the world. “Do not read me as a vanished ndn,” they ask, “read me as a ghastly one.”
“A spirited collection [… that] shifts and spins, smashing preconceptions from within and without his immediate vicinity. … This is an impressive work, and a writer very much worth paying attention to.” —rob mclennan
"Joshua Whitehead is badass, with language like twin-pistols and impeccable aim. If you haven’t read this book yet, you need to correct that and give this collection however long it takes for you to read it cover to cover." —Megan Black, CITR Intimate Reviews
About the Author:
Joshua Whitehead is an Oji-Cree, Two-Spirit member of the Peguis First Nation on Treaty 1 territory. He is currently studying at the University of Calgary (Treaty 7) with a focus on Indigenous Literatures and Cultures, Queer Theory, Critical Race, and Creative Writing. His creative and critical work has appeared in Prairie Fire, filling station, EVENT Magazine, Red Rising Magazine, Stolen Generations: Survivors of the Indian Adoption Projects and 60s Scoop, and is forthcoming in Narratives of Transracial Adoption, Masquerade, Mumming, and Multiculturalism. He is the editor of Love After the End: An Anthology of Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Speculative Fiction.