From award-winning author John Elizabeth Stintzi, Junebat is a form- and gender-disrupting debut collection that grapples with the pain of uncertainty on the path towards becoming.
John Elizabeth Stintzi’s unforgettable debut collection, Junebat, grapples with the pain of uncertainty on the path towards becoming. Set during the year Stintzi lived in deep isolation in Jersey City, NJ, these poems map the depression the poet struggled with as they questioned and came to grips with their gender identity. Through the invention of the Junebat — a contradictory, evolving, ever-perplexing creature — Stintzi is able to create a self-defined space within the poems where they can reside comfortably, beyond the firm boundaries of the gender binary or the plethora of identities gathered under the queer umbrella.
As the speaker of the poems begins to emerge from their depression, the second wing of the book tracks their falling in love with a young woman surfacing from the end of her marriage. Challenging, heartbreaking, soaring, and powerfully new, the poems in Junebat demolish false walls and pull the reader to the dark edges of the mind, showing us how identity doesn’t have to be rigid or static but can be defined by confusion and contradiction, possibility and a metamorphosis that never ends.
“A powerful debut collection of poetry.”
“John Elizabeth Stintzi’s Junebat is a work of immense gentleness. The care shown toward the authorial self, the past, and those within Stintzi’s emotional sphere is like coming up for air from a culture ruled by nihilism. Case in point: ‘I am trying to personalize / myself to my melancholy, don’t want to be neighbour / to my own narrative anymore.’ To the poetics of the queer everyday Stintzi adds their ‘Junebat,’ a multitudinous concept of such explanatory power I’m certain it’ll endure in the collective memory of Canadian writing.” — Billy-Ray Belcourt, award-winning author of This Wound is a World and NDN Coping Mechanisms
“Junebat is a piercing examination of body, self, and the miraculous yet painful process of becoming. In this emotionally intimate, technically brilliant debut collection, Stintzi both opens a window to their soul and holds a mirror to the reader’s. Quietly powerful, Junebat is the kind of book one returns to over and over again, to read and to dream about.” — Kai Cheng Thom, award-winning author of A Place Called No Homeland and I Hope We Choose Love
“Lively and electric.”