the new gods, by Caseyrenée Lopez
the new gods is the debut collection from Caseyrenée Lopez. This collection of poetry is an investigation of gender identity, queerness, and what it means to live as a femme person in a society structured to uphold the gender binary. The poems are divided into 4 sections, allowing each section to interrogate the parts that make a person whole. the new gods builds and deconstructs myths, tackles what it means to love as a queer person, and even gives a nod to pop culture.
Originally from Georgia, Caseyrenée Lopez relocated with their family to Virginia in the summer of 2017. They work as a professor of English, and have two full-length collections of poetry, the new gods (Bottlecap Press) and i was born dead (About Editions), as well as a chapbook, heretic bastard (Clare Songbirds Publishing House), forthcoming in 2018. In addition to teaching and writing, Caseyrenée edits Crab Fat Magazine and publishes chapbooks and full-length collections of poetry and experimental work by queer and trans people at Damaged Goods Press. They tweet @caseyreneelopez.
Caseyrenée Lopez has written a haunting landscape, from which you can't look away. It is a landscape of the interior made available to all of us, to our eyes, our ideas, our predispositions. All of your judgement be damned. This book is a learning moment. There is the intense questioning of our programmed binaries set alongside blooming language that begs you to look closer, listen deeper. In “elegy to my former self” Lopez offers us an incantation: of transformation, of self-acceptance, of brutal honesty in the pursuit of strength and freedom. To be bigger than any bullshit we've been told we have to be, have to look like, have to say. This is a book that examines what it means to be made invisible, but it is anything but invisible. This book sees you, and it begs you to see it.
—Lisa Marie Basile, editor of Luna Luna Magazine
As Caseyrenée Lopez states, “living is binary” and this collection approaches all aspects of that notion. It examines both this side and the other along with the merging, meshing and in-betweenness of life within one bodies as we identify oneself and as one is identified. The gaze itself is on display to be seen and splayed open for examination. Lopez’s keen eye, ferries one through life and maybe beyond. In fact, “maybe i should tell you that i’m charon in disguise.”
—Kenning JP Garcia, author of Slow Living
The poems that populate the new gods are blood and birth and grit under the fingernails, “fine sand between [the] teeth.” they refashion creation in their own image and it’s glorious (“i form adam from a loose molar / they become a saint in my mouth”). the singular voice becomes a collective voice for nonbinary people and all of us seeking to shed the skin of societal labels and the shame we’ve worn too long (“like metal against hair & flesh”). they throw off the shackles of convention, societal or poetic, singing clearly and without fetters “i … became my true self.” these small songs are powerful, cut to the quick, become their own trigger/warnings. Caseyrenée Lopez is unafraid to speak the truth beneath the veil. these poems will “eat the parts of you that you hate” and then transform again and again, into “something repugnant, / yet beautiful, some thing / that remains nameless” – for it is in that namelessness, without labels, that true freedom is found.
—Jennifer Givhan, author of Landscape with Headless Mama & Protection Spell
From the book: