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A transsexual woman pieces together fragmented details of a repressive religious childhood and an unsupportive family, drawing from autobiographical experiences of the poet's life. I Don't Want To Be Understood is a work of resistance against the conventional trans narrative, and a resistance against the idea that trans people should have to make themselves clear and understandable to others in other to deserve human rights. This is a compelling, urgent collection about the body and survival that asks how we learn to love in a culture where normal is defined by exclusion and discrimination. These poems stretch from childhood to the present day--resisting typical narratives of self-discovery, resilience, and personal growth--and instead asks what it means to be granted or denied personhood by the world around you. It is a personal archive of a trans life laid out in all its messiness and unknowability, and is a book for anyone who has questioned why we place so many limitations on who gets to be considered a human being. These poems do not celebrate survival, but rather ask why transsexuals and other gender non-conforming people must fight so hard to survive in the first place.
About the Author
Joshua Jennifer Espinoza is a transsexual poet. Her work has been featured in Poetry Magazine, The American Poetry Review, Split Lip Magazine, Gulf Coast Journal, The Southeast Review, MoMA Magazine, and elsewhere. She is the author of I'm Alive / It Hurts / I Love It (2019) and THERE SHOULD BE FLOWERS (2016). She holds an MFA in poetry from UC Riverside and is currently a professor of creative writing. Jennifer lives in West Virginia with her wife, poet/essayist Eileen Elizabeth, and their cat and dog.