feeld selected as a winner of the 2017 National Poetry Series, forthcoming from Milkweed Editions (2018)

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 nashional’) 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 luve to rite the mothe inn the garden / 2 greev it.’ feeld reflects and emits the alienation, the estrangement, this transgender poet endures and overcomes: ‘each hole is a vote.’ Jos Charles rearranges the alphabet to survive its ferocity against their 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