#TPQ5: MLA CHERNOFF

Jacques Derrida – Circumfession

He’s my OG daddy––my Derridaddy, if you will; obsessively reading him in my early 20s allowed me to connect with myself and my Jewishness in ways I didn’t realize were possible. This particular text––a predecessor of autotheory––is a melancholic close-reading of St. Augustine written in response to the death of Derrida’s mother; it’s a work of mourning that makes me cry every single time.

Paul B. Preciado – Testo Junkie

Prior to encountering Preciado, I didn’t have a vocabulary for understanding my embodied experiences of gender as open, ongoing processes. Testo Junkie was the beginning of a new life for me as someone openly non-binary and ready to embrace the urgency of countering cisheteropatriarchy in everyday life.

Jack Spicer

Reading this sweet man’s collected works is always a treat; I consistently find myself returning to “Imaginary Elegies,” in particular. I don’t really buy the poet-as-prophet trope anymore (which only served to romanticize Spicer’s alcoholism), but he does automatic writing so eloquently that it’s hard to ignore the queer spiritualism he locates in haphazard coping mechanisms.

Joshua Whitehead – Full-Metal Indigiqueer

The way Whitehead imagines Indigiqueer futurity through biopunk aesthetics is urgent and inspiring. His seamless movements between interrogations of dead white literary figures and cutting critiques of contemporary pop culture are as playful as they are poignant. It’s hard to encapsulate my love for this text and the decolonial poetics it espouses in just a few sentences––please read it instead!

M. NourbeSe Philip – Zong!

I’m sure this is cited frequently as a favourite, but it’s always worth remembering the revolutionary ways Philip addresses cultural trauma and the impossibility of adequately mourning lost ancestors, particularly when language is complicit in their erasure from historical memory. The way she uses ink and the negative space of the page as tools for deconstructing the virulence of the law is absolutely brilliant.


MLA Chernoff (@citation_bb) thanks you for visiting their profile. They are a Jewish, non-binary pome machine, a postmodern neomarxist, and somehow a PhD candidate at The Neoliberal University of York University. MLA’s first collection of pomes, delet this, was released by Bad Books in the spring of 2018. Their second collection, TERSE THIRSTY, was released by Gap Riot Press in the summer of 2019. Please remember that your feelings are valid and it’s okay to ask for help and that, also and finally, finally and also––you are LOVED.

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