“These days we only seem to talk about trans people in the news when we talk about bathroom laws. Our bodies are made political. Somedays I just want to exist. I want to crawl into the corn fields before harvest and just be alone with my skin,” wrote Robin Gow.
On today’s episode, I speak with Robin Gow and showcase some of the pieces found in their new essays and poetry collection Blue Blood, published by The Nasiona.
When I was first introduced to Robin’s work back in 2018, I immediately wanted to publish it. After reading some of their other pieces published in different magazines, I reached out to Robin to ask if they had enough for a collection. It was at that point that we decided to create what has become one of my favorite books of the year: Blue Blood.
We all begin in water and are called back to water. Blue Blood challenges the rhetoric that trans people are “unnatural” through captivating verses about metamorphosis and meditations on the concept of home. Robin Gow invites readers to celebrate identity; to question what their own body means to them.
Essayist and editor Wren Awry, for example, had the following to say about Blue Blood:
“In a world where trans people must define ourselves over and over again in order to be seen, Robin Gow’s refusal to offer neat conclusions is refreshing. Instead, these essays and poems—on everything from horse shoe crabs and bearded women to St. Francis and Georgia O’Keefe—lean into the complexities of gender, family, ecology, and mental health. If Gow’s book has a thesis, it’s that who we are and how we see the world are so fluid and shaped by so much that it’s impossible to unravel it all on paper. The best we can do is lean into the mess and pull out what we can and my, what beauty lies there!”
With this episode we continue to pull back the layers to reveal the themes and topics and approaches and angles of Blue Blood.
We conducted the interview via email correspondence in November of 2020. Thank you for listening.
Thank you to Robin Gow for being our guest today. Thank you to Amanda Lopez for helping me produce this episode and for being the lead The Nasiona editor for Blue Blood.
Robin Gow is a queer and trans poet, essayist, and Young Adult author. They grew up in rural Pennsylvania and live in Allentown with their partner, best friend, and two pugs, Eddie and Gertie.
Gow is also the author of the chapbook Honeysuckle (Finishing Line Press 2019), the collection Our Lady of Perpetual Degeneracy (Tolsun Books 2020), and a YA verse-novel, A Million Quiet Revolutions (FSG 2022),
He is a managing editor at The Nasiona, Assistant Editor at Large at Doubleback Books, and a reader for the Young Adult magazine Voyage.
Julián Esteban Torres López (he/him/his/él) is a bilingual, Colombia-born storyteller, public scholar, and culture architect with Afro-Euro-Indigenous roots. For two decades, Julián has worked toward humanizing those Othered by oppressive systems and dominant cultures. He is the creator of the social justice storytelling movement The Nasiona, where he also hosts and produces The Nasiona Podcast. He’s a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best Small Fictions nominee; a Trilogy Award in Short Fiction finalist; a McNair Fellow; and the author of Marx’s Humanism and Its Limits and Reporting On Colombia. His poetry collection, Ninety-Two Surgically Enhanced Mannequins, is available now. His work appears in PANK Magazine, Into the Void Magazine, The Acentos Review, Novus Literary and Arts Journal, Havik 2021: Inside Brilliance, among others. Julián is also a senior DEI consultant for Conscious Thrive Consulting. Julián holds a bachelor’s in philosophy and in communication and a master’s in justice studies from the University of New Hampshire and was a Ph.D. candidate at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, where he focused on political science and Latin American studies.
The Nasiona Podcast amplifies the voices and experiences of the marginalized, undervalued, overlooked, silenced, and forgotten, as well as gives you a glimpse into Othered worlds. We focus on stories that explore the spectrum of human experiences—stories based on facts, truth-seeking, human concerns, real events, and real people, with a personal touch. From liminal lives to the marginalized, and everything in between, we believe that the subjective can offer its own reality and reveal truths some facts can’t discover. Hosted, edited, and produced by Julián Esteban Torres López.
Original music for The Nasiona Podcast was produced by the Grammy Award-winning team of Joe Sparkman and Marcus Allen, aka The Heavyweights. Joe Sparkman: Twitter + Instagram. Marcus Allen: Twitter + Instagram.
The Nasiona Magazine and Podcast depend on voluntary contributions from readers and listeners like you. We hope the value of our work to our community is worth your patronage. If you like what we do, please show this by liking, rating, and reviewing us; buying or recommending our books; and by financially supporting our work either through The Nasiona’s Patreon page or through Julián Esteban Torres López‘s Ko-fi donation platform. Every little bit helps.
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