feeld
Selected by Fady Joudah as a winner of the 2017 National Poetry Series, Jos Charles's revolutionary second collection of poetry, feeld, is a lyrical unraveling of the circuitry of gender and speech, defiantly making space for bodies that have been historically denied their own vocabulary."i care so much abot the whord i cant reed." In feeld, Charles stakes her claim on the language available to speak about trans experience, reckoning with the narratives that have come before by reclaiming the language of the past. In Charles's electrifying transliteration of English--Chaucerian in affect, but revolutionary in effect--what is old is made new again. "gendre is not the tran organe / gendre is yes a hemorage." "did u kno not a monthe goes bye / a tran i kno doesnt dye." The world of feeld is our own, but off-kilter, distinctly queer--making visible what was formerly and forcefully hidden: trauma, liberation, strength, and joy.Urgent and vital, feeld composes a new and highly inventive lyrical narrative of what it means to live inside a marked body.

feeld Details

Titlefeeld
Author
ReleaseAug 14th, 2018
PublisherMilkweed Editions
ISBN-139781571315052
Rating
GenrePoetry, LGBT, GLBT, Queer, Gender, Transgender

feeld Review

  • s.penkevich
    January 1, 1970
    i care somuch abot the whord i cantreedMuch of the work for a poet is to probe the undercurrents of reality through transformative language, making language malleable as an abstract expression to the abstractness of life. In her 2019 poetry collection Feeld, the trans poet and translator Jos Charles pushes the exploration of linguistic malleability in extraordinary ways. Poet Fady Joudah, who selected Feeld as winner of the National Poetry Series, describes the language as ‘Chaucerian English [t i care somuch abot the whord i cantreedMuch of the work for a poet is to probe the undercurrents of reality through transformative language, making language malleable as an abstract expression to the abstractness of life. In her 2019 poetry collection Feeld, the trans poet and translator Jos Charles pushes the exploration of linguistic malleability in extraordinary ways. Poet Fady Joudah, who selected Feeld as winner of the National Poetry Series, describes the language as ‘Chaucerian English [translated] into the digital twenty-first century,’ as Jos Charles plays with phonetics to reclaim language for a trans space. The disarming use of language is ripe for interpretations, such as a representation of the disorientation for queerness in an obdurately gendered society enforced through rhetoric control of language, or the need to reappropriate language--’a whord lost inn the mouthe off keepers--from the social gatekeepers. Though, as said in her interview with Frontier Poetry, it is less about reclaiming but more ‘identifying what is useful in what is adjacent’. While the use of language may sound daunting at first, there is a real pureness to it all and it is an utterly pleasant experience akin to childlike awe. Furthering the reclamation, Feeld is primarily poetry centered in nature, reclaiming the traditional cis male tradition of nature poetry for a trans space. Blooming with whimsical double entendres and searing social critique, this empowering and joyously inventive collection puns and probes its way deep into the hearts and minds of readers.a chylde is wut ideologielooks likFeeld delivers poetry that is simultaneously disorienting and familiar, softly moving through a garden of words at a slow pace as if to take it all in and bask within itself. Charles has a delicate construction that carefully uses both words and blank space to allow the poem to breath and give the reader space to sink into its beauty. While the language is admittedly difficult to initially grasp, Charles manages to make it a pleasant instead of laborious experience with form that encourages slow, careful reading at your own pace. There is a sense that Charles is carefully guiding the reader the way a parent slowly walks their young child out into the world with love and shared joy. While, yes, others have used phonetic spelling before for other purposes, Feeld utilizes it in a breathtaking way that helps to fully embody its messages. The phonetic spellings, such as ‘mornynge’ for morning, ‘wymon’ for women, or ‘wite’ for white, become something you read not just with your eyes but with your ears and mouth. It becomes a fully encompassing work of the body, and discussions on the identity of the body are quite central to the work. There are more playful moments as well, such as the title term that appears in nearly every poem--‘feeld’--and how it seems all at once both ‘field’ and to ‘feel’. Again this technique is used with ‘breasthes’ as both ‘breaths’ and ‘breasts’ or the pun on ‘queries’ as ‘queerys’ to keep the discussion on queer identity central to the work. The fragile barrier between words breaks down within this collection as representation of the fragility of gender binaries.i a woake 1 mornynge / 2 see the hole whorld off thynges befor me The use of the natural world in these poems is both soothing and wonderfully subversive. Drawing on a tradition often associated with masculinity, as she says in interviews, Jos Charles says has made a point to show that this can be a space for queerness as well. Brilliantly, by aligning trans identity with the natural world and incorporating it into that world, she asserts trans as natural. This meshes well with the language of the whole, not just of the body as examined previously, but the wholeness of nature and living beings. The natural world gives way to a political world, however, with imagery of fruit going bad on the tree or when ‘gendre is not the folde but a siteatione ’, particularly in the poems that deal with bathrooms. ‘boyes r not alowd in this pome’, she concludes in a poem heavy with mention of a ‘feemale depositrie room, moving from an image of a tall woman washing their hands to what seems a play on a common outburst experienced by a trans woman in these situations.it is horribeloff corse to be tangibel / inside kapitelTrans identity in a gendered world and the ways capitalism seeks to make us all pawns in its game are major themes running through Feeld. There is the empowerment to become ‘tagibel’, to exist outside the norms and to be yourself, yet this also is examined for the way the world preys on tangibility. Social stigma oppresses trans people in horrific ways, often violent with an alarming number of murders of trans individuals each years--predominantly trans women of color. ‘did u kno not a monthe goes bye’, she writes, ‘a tran i kno doesnt dye’. She writes on the struggles to be open as trans while existing in ‘masckulin economyes’, acknowledging the plight that befalls those who are. There is also the issues of acceptance: ‘ how many/ holes would blede/ befor/ u believ/ imma grl’, writes Charles on the plight of being taken seriously with a trans identity in a world stuck in gender binaries. Much of the work also looks at the ways that sexuality is commodified and ‘bye definision a cruele economicks’. She writes you are born boy, girl, or worker, and that these identities control much of your social and financial life, nodding to the gender pay gap here. ‘i am afrayde / i am riting myeself’, says Charles, playfully teasing authorial intent. While the themes of identity being forced into a political sphere through the weaponization of language is clearly at heart of Feeld, the collection is self-aware and seems to avoid taking itself overly seriously. She concludes a poem almostly blithely with ‘trama lit is so hotte rite nowe’, retaining a sense of playfulness but also reminding the reader that this isn’t being written just to follow a trend but to give voice to those often voiceless. This seems a call out to those who accuse people when they come out as ‘just doing it for attention’ or that it’s ‘trendy’ (a term Charles uses as well to bat away critiques. If you haven’t been following, there is a major backlash against poet who write about non-white, non-hetero identities, particularly on internet communities). ‘Feeld is not part of a trend but a bold and brave voice crying out. The inventive use of language and the carefully constructed use of space make this a complete joy to read and while this collection has teeth it also has a loving sweetness that will certainly last long after you close the book.4.5/5
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  • Olivia
    January 1, 1970
    Okay, I'll make this review short as this is a very short collection of poems.We had to read this for my poetry course. I felt like Charles' work had great potential here - they just didn't do much of it. I know Charles was using "unique" language when writing out the words phonetically and/or the way they'd be spoken on the street, but it just came off as sloppy rather than creative. The narrative of the poem was weak as well. Overall, just give this one a pass.
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  • Jacob
    January 1, 1970
    Astoundynge
  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)
    January 1, 1970
    Reading this collection of NBA longlisted poems takes some serious work. The language is a blend of Old English and some modern twists, such as using numerals for words like “one(self)” and “to”. The poems focus mainly on trans identity, but the language made it a little hard to access for me.
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  • Samantha
    January 1, 1970
    Read this book and you will dissolve and its reclaimed language will command you.
  • Adara
    January 1, 1970
    First of all, understand that this review is coming from a trans woman who loves poetry.The fact of the matter is that after you get past feeld's High Middle English gimmick, there is very little of substance here. Charles repeats phrases ad nauseam, so much so that reading this book feels like reading the same poem sixty times. While the spelling allows for some puns and double meanings ("tran" = "trans"/"train," "hors" = "horse"/"hours"/"whores," "feeld" = "feel"/"field" etc.) what it adds in First of all, understand that this review is coming from a trans woman who loves poetry.The fact of the matter is that after you get past feeld's High Middle English gimmick, there is very little of substance here. Charles repeats phrases ad nauseam, so much so that reading this book feels like reading the same poem sixty times. While the spelling allows for some puns and double meanings ("tran" = "trans"/"train," "hors" = "horse"/"hours"/"whores," "feeld" = "feel"/"field" etc.) what it adds in wordplay and aesthetics it detracts from accessibility and comprehensibility. I had to spend several minutes deciphering each poem, and ultimately they were not very good aside from a few beautiful and moving individual turns of phrase ("i was inn love with a famyne / i was inn love with the ded," "did u kno not a monthe goes bye / a tran i kno doesnt dye").I get what Jos Charles is trying to do with the Middle English, really, I do, but the promising concept falls flat in its execution. "i am a mothe / i am a brocken hors / in a feeld of linden treees / outsyde the feemale depositrie room / mayde off a sirfase off folde and metall / gendre is not the folde" pretty much sums the entire collection up.feeld simply isn't worth your time.
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  • Katya Kazbek
    January 1, 1970
    Queerness is an issue of language. In English battles are waged for the neutral third person pronoun, in French endings are gotten rid of, and in my native Russian endings are added. In Chinese the word “queer” means the same as “comrade”, and in Bengali there is only one, very technical word that means “homosexual”, It’s a messy, diverse journey, which, hopefully, someone will one day document in a work of non-fiction. (Maybe I should?) Meanwhile, queer writers do the job of reinventing languag Queerness is an issue of language. In English battles are waged for the neutral third person pronoun, in French endings are gotten rid of, and in my native Russian endings are added. In Chinese the word “queer” means the same as “comrade”, and in Bengali there is only one, very technical word that means “homosexual”, It’s a messy, diverse journey, which, hopefully, someone will one day document in a work of non-fiction. (Maybe I should?) Meanwhile, queer writers do the job of reinventing language to suit their needs every day. And some are better at it than others. Jos Charles, a transgender poet, makes the language trans. She takes the Middle English and our regular English for the binary, binds them together, and then creates something completely different and previously undiscovered. The result is daring, witty, funny, and absolutely splendid. Never before have I seen the decay of binaries, and biological presets engendered in language with such might.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    With her old/middle english take on a contemporary issue (at least in terms of rhetoric), Jos Charles's Feeld simultaneously envelops and distances the reader from the narrative of trans experience, while providing an accordion-like layer structure to each phrase in her fascinating book. The unorthodox spellings (based on earlier forms of the english language—I'm not sure how close an approximation was made to middle or early english, but the word "chaucerian" was bandied about at book club) all With her old/middle english take on a contemporary issue (at least in terms of rhetoric), Jos Charles's Feeld simultaneously envelops and distances the reader from the narrative of trans experience, while providing an accordion-like layer structure to each phrase in her fascinating book. The unorthodox spellings (based on earlier forms of the english language—I'm not sure how close an approximation was made to middle or early english, but the word "chaucerian" was bandied about at book club) allowed a multiplicity of interpretations for almost every line when read instead of heard, which opened up the space for intricate punning and for metaphor. The very word "feeld" becomes conflated with the female experience; a "field" as an open vessel for things to be grown/something fallow and waiting—but also with the past tense of "feel", when spoken aloud it sounds like, "feeled", a clumsy "felt"; does it mean literal touch, the sensation of physical contact, or an admission that the book is something emotive and personal? One more example—"hors" became both horse and hoarse, broken to bridle and without voice. Striking and subtle at the same time. This interplay of possibilities makes the book something that could be linguistically unpacked for hours on end, but it also is a potential barrier between the reader and the material—and the argument could be made that now is not the time in history to put barriers between the reading public and reading material about the experience of someone from a marginalized community. TL;DR: It's brilliant, but only if you're going to be dogged enough to do a good bit of work on trying to manage its wildness. And maybe that asks too much.
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  • Mary Rose
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely remarkable. I've been struggling to find contemporary poets that I really like and this is one of my favorite poetry books I've ever read. The poems are beautiful even if they take a bit of getting used to. I need to find more of her work soon. Favorites: VII, VXI, LIII
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    So beautifulThis is a challenging work that requires rereading; you won't finish it in an afternoon! Stick with it though, it unfolds and becomes more accessible the more accustomed you get to Charles' new vocabulary. When you get to this point be prepared for moments of astonishing beauty and incredible sorrow. I loved this.
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  • Zach
    January 1, 1970
    the hybrid of ancient and modern language is powerful and dynamic but leaves spaces at times that I can't fill.
  • rosalind
    January 1, 1970
    somehow even more mind-blowing than the first time i read it
  • Gina
    January 1, 1970
    Language, identity, life, the identity of language, identity in language, meaning, and much more. This is a work to reread. Something different arises with each read of a poem.
  • Gabriel
    January 1, 1970
    Read the whole thing today and found it electrifying (and it's now a finalist for the Pulitzer in poetry!).
  • Cas Efthymiou
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to see Jos do a reading from this book at AWP before I had read it. It was poem XV (“wen ambeyance / accidentlie presence as a grl”) that solidified me running to the Milkweed table to pick up a copy as soon as possible, and I am so thankful for that push to make me finally read this book after having heard it discussed as near-legend in my poetry circles. This is a beautiful, visionary work, especially as a second collection from a younger poet. These poems breathe and beg, a I was lucky enough to see Jos do a reading from this book at AWP before I had read it. It was poem XV (“wen ambeyance / accidentlie presence as a grl”) that solidified me running to the Milkweed table to pick up a copy as soon as possible, and I am so thankful for that push to make me finally read this book after having heard it discussed as near-legend in my poetry circles. This is a beautiful, visionary work, especially as a second collection from a younger poet. These poems breathe and beg, and I believe that any downside others may see in the fact that they take “work” to read is justified in how each poem can be pored over and gleamed for interpretation in individual phrases’ double/triple/quadruple/etc meaning (something that feels lost when read out loud; however, as with all poetry readings, there is much to be gained from the way Charles delivers her work). I would highly recommend this book, especially to those who love poetry they can sit with and rip apart rather than breeze through.
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  • Amie Whittemore
    January 1, 1970
    Read my review here: https://www.usi.edu/sir/reviews/the-m...
  • Christiana
    January 1, 1970
    The concept of altering the English language was a novel idea, but it didn’t really hit home for me. Most of the time spent reading was focused on deciphering the language which ultimately took away from much of the meaning behind the poems. Perhaps rereading it will give a different perspective...
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    Frankly, I don’t really feel like I can rate this book. This was my first time really reading poetry (not a book in verse) since high school and I definitely feel like I jumped into the deep end with feeld.The unique language and spelling was hard to get used to— in fact, I wouldn’t really say that I did get used to it. It was hard to tell what was being said at certain points, and I never really got the symbolism of “feelds” and “holes” and “metall”.Everything I read about what these poems acco Frankly, I don’t really feel like I can rate this book. This was my first time really reading poetry (not a book in verse) since high school and I definitely feel like I jumped into the deep end with feeld.The unique language and spelling was hard to get used to— in fact, I wouldn’t really say that I did get used to it. It was hard to tell what was being said at certain points, and I never really got the symbolism of “feelds” and “holes” and “metall”.Everything I read about what these poems accomplish sounds amazing, and I’m sure to someone more versed in the medium they are amazing! However for me I just didn’t really enjoy it and struggled to get to the end. If this had been much longer I probably wouldn’t have finished it.
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  • M.
    January 1, 1970
    A brilliant resuscitation of Ye Olde (Middle) English style. feeld is a field of experiments in bent language, frequently very funny, with winkingly bad puns somehow made not bad but deadpan in the faux medievalist transliteration, which also thrills, campily, in textspeak. I might compare feeld to Dodie’s Cunt-Ups (and the equally marvelous, more recent Cunt Norton, particularly “Cunt Chaucer”) in its mirth and fluidity. But “there is noting / funye bout this” (ha). Where Cunt-Ups performs a fe A brilliant resuscitation of Ye Olde (Middle) English style. feeld is a field of experiments in bent language, frequently very funny, with winkingly bad puns somehow made not bad but deadpan in the faux medievalist transliteration, which also thrills, campily, in textspeak. I might compare feeld to Dodie’s Cunt-Ups (and the equally marvelous, more recent Cunt Norton, particularly “Cunt Chaucer”) in its mirth and fluidity. But “there is noting / funye bout this” (ha). Where Cunt-Ups performs a feminist carnivalesque with queer and trans effects, feeld is explicitly trans in its framing and politics, and the realness with which Charles addresses trans experience is not lost in the language play.
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  • Danielle
    January 1, 1970
    I just finished "reading" feeld but I know I will need (and want) to come back to it again. Straynge and familiar and beautiful and haunting.
  • Will
    January 1, 1970
    Jos Charles' collection is difficult formally but a rewarding challenge. I found the imagery and content to be thoughtful and sumptuous.
  • Jeffrey Parker
    January 1, 1970
    A truly beautiful collection. Even as I struggled to unravel the words, I was struck by the beauty of the language; even as I struggled with the meaning, in layers I began to understand.
  • S
    January 1, 1970
    bumping my score up because I keep thinking back on the central thesis of this book, which is as brilliant as it is simple: the body as pun
  • Shelby Lynne
    January 1, 1970
    Usually when I see poetry written in Middle English/imitations of Middle English, I want to throw it out the window. But the premise of this collection -- a trans woman writing about the emotional, physical, psychological, and social act(s) of transitioning -- was what hooked me. I didn't understand enough of the words to gain insight from the poems themselves, but on a linguistic level, I learned so much. The words looked like words but weren't quite (my) words, they felt like language but were Usually when I see poetry written in Middle English/imitations of Middle English, I want to throw it out the window. But the premise of this collection -- a trans woman writing about the emotional, physical, psychological, and social act(s) of transitioning -- was what hooked me. I didn't understand enough of the words to gain insight from the poems themselves, but on a linguistic level, I learned so much. The words looked like words but weren't quite (my) words, they felt like language but weren't quite (my) language; after talking to some GNC friends, I suspect that the feeling I experienced (when reading these words-not-words) is as close as I as a cis person can get to understanding what it's like to experience bodily dysphoria. On top of this, I loved the way the language echoed cis resistance to trans identities but also trans resistance to gender binaries while at the same time rooting trans existence in something as literary and linguistic (and old and canonical) as Chaucerian English. Overall, a challenging, maddening, mind-bending experience. 3.5 stars
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  • Ruedigar
    January 1, 1970
    I'm torn on this one. Conceptually, I love it. But I think the concept may have gotten in the way of my understanding. Maybe it speaks to my capacity as a reader more than Jos Charles's capacity as a writer - but the difficulty of the verse inhibited my ability to connect. And maybe that is the point. Maybe understanding this book takes a lot of effort, just like understanding people. And maybe the concept too often gets in the way, beautiful as it is, of our ability to connect.
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  • Balrog of Morgoth
    January 1, 1970
    These poems are meant to be felt, not understood. Written in Old English, modern readers won't glean most of what's being said, but that's the point. Feeld is telling a confusing story; a story in parts; parts that combine into a new whole. If you are a fan of abstract poetry, while not abstract per se, you will like the rhythm presented.
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  • Autumn Barksdale
    January 1, 1970
    One of the most beautiful and complex books of poetry I’ve read in the past several years. As a trans woman, it feels important to read trans literature and I have found none more lovely, complicated, or compelling than Feeld in some time.
  • Diane Mcclure
    January 1, 1970
    please read out loudReading out out bring the joy of discovery to this book of poetry. This is the first book of poetry that I have been inspired to read in years. Fascinating in both voice and structure.
  • Aisha Durand
    January 1, 1970
    3.75
  • Kelly Butler
    January 1, 1970
    Jos Charles—one of the great geniuses of our time.
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