of sirens, body & faultlines is a book of prophecy against this Brexit era, rising from a post-2008 London, where crisis and austerity meet the vanity projects of the super-rich. Committed to the immediacy of a present that is precarious and under surveillance, of sirens... attends to queer, transfeminist and people of colour counter-memories and histories. It seeks new expressions of desire and modes of breath, pushing against the gravities that would rather these lives and worlds disappear.
While arguing with the radio may seem futile, syntax, punctuation, grammar and the page must still all be mobilised to help create new conditions of possibility – for collectivity, for poetry to speak. Raha’s exceptional, experimental, queer lyric mobilises all aspects of language to reveal contradictions of capitalism and defuse populist rhetoric. This is a writing of city life against the flows to capital; labouring bodies speaking back to the demands of work and the fictions of xenophobic politicians. It concerns herstory, transfeminism, collectivity; the everyday of South East London, transformation and decolonisation, through counter-memories, anti-memoir, and a trans poetics.
"Nat Raha has written some of the most exciting poetry of the last decade. Transfeminist, communist, revolutionary – with great quickness and nimble intensity, her syllables and survival codes dash through police-lines as high-level transmissions signalling absolute solidarity, insisting that other lives are still possible. Originally published as a series of home-made pamphlets that seemed to come as much from post-punk zine culture as from avant-garde poetics, it's good to see them gathered here in one place for the first time and as a body of evidence of a culture of struggle. These poems do not merely comment on that struggle, but emerge from within it. They are poems that break open a space in which to think through what has happened, who we have been, and what has been done to us. These are fearsome times. Raha writes poetry that acknowledges that fear and refuses to flinch in the face of it, which is in itself an act of the fiercest solidarity."
– Sean Bonney
Nat is co-editor of the Radical Transfeminism zine, and is a Postdoctoral Researcher on the Cruising the 70s: Unearthing Pre-HIV/AIDS queer sexual cultures project at the Edinburgh College of Art.
of sirens, body & faultlines