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Femme in Public

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4.78  ·  Rating details ·  450 ratings  ·  50 reviews
What feminine part of yourself did you have to destroy in order to survive in this world? At what point does femininity become synonymous with apology? Who hurt the people who hurt you? Let's figure it out.

Femme In Public (2017) is a collection of poetry by nonbinary artist Alok Vaid-Menon. In the author's words it "is a dream of what it could look like to celebrate trans
...more
ebook, 35 pages
Published 2017
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Average rating 4.78  · 
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Kaarna
"I DO NOT BELIEVE WE WILL WIN. I DO NOT BELIEVE HOPE SHOULD BE A PREREQUISITE FOR TRYING ANYWAYS." ...more
Oren Robinson
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, owmcl
A short, easy to read book of deep but short pieces. I cried, I laughed, and I learned to think different about the words and names we use to talk about clothes and people. It makes me wonder how we can be free when we are always in spaces full of rules.
Angelique
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mandatory reading for everyone. I was so completely moved and inspired and so glad Alok shared this. I made audible noises because they describe the pain that I feel so completely and wholly. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.
Maia
This is a slim but exceptional volume. I've been a fan and follower of Alok Vaid-Menon's online presence for a long time; it's absolutely delightful to dig deeper into their poetry. It's hard to pick a favorite piece because all of the poems are so strong, and also come from the same emotional place. One line that has kept ringing in my head, even two weeks after reading it, is this: "it is hard to have your abundance mistaken as absence" (pg 7). ...more
Caroline Fosse
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt, poetry
«THEY WILL SAY

they will say that femininity is not powerful

they will say that we are vain, selfish, and foolish.
they will say that we need to focus on the real issues.
(they will say nothing when we are attacked). they
will say that we do not exist (until they need someone
to blame). they will say that we are imposters, frauds,
predators, mistakes, mostly, they will say that we
are ugly. they will say that we should shave, try harder,
disappear, sometimes they will not say, so they will spit,
point, gr
...more
Ms. Arca
Jun 04, 2018 marked it as to-read
Someone get me this book ASAP !
Sarah
I got this book when I was lucky enough to see them preform in Berkeley last month and I saved it for a day when I would really need it.
Like Maya Angelou and Audre Lorde before them, their words reached right down into my soul!
I love every poem in this collection!!!!
"THEY WILL SAY" is probably my favorite favorite in this collection!!

I really really love my brain right now for holding on to the night I actually got to see them preform so when I read the poems they spoke that night I could sti
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Ray
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Alok writes thought-provoking pieces on inhabiting a world that is hostile toward femininity, especially for trans femmes of color. They explore the harassment and abuse they receive day-to-day, in one of the most intimately vulnerable collections I've read in a long time. ...more
Ari
the most beautiful and sad little book of poems i just read on the train from berlin. each has made ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AUAUAAAAUAAAA! absolute favourite (would love to print out the whole book and put it as my wallpaper). so sad. so good.

"Promise me you understand that I wasn’t just assigned
male at birth, I’m assigned male every day walking on
the street. Promise me you understand that as a form of
gender violence."

all of street tax. made me tear up & cry from the first one
...more
Reij Rosello
Apparently, it is possibly to imagine beyond identity politics:

"what is a man but a question mark so lonely it wrapped
around itself so many times it began to resemble a body?"

For those of us who long for prayers:

"Promise me you understand that I wasn’t just assigned
male at birth, I’m assigned male every day walking on
the street. Promise me you understand that as a form of
gender violence."

The gentle art of poetic self-defense

"today a man on the street pointed to me & said
'what the hell is that
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Martin Sirois
May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"I cried because I remembered my shame. I remembered
how it tore me to pieces. I remember how they stole
those pieces and squished them together and called it a
“man,” like a puzzle you can’t quite figure out so you just
settle with its jagged edges. Pretend it fits." <3
...more
Ishan Daya
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Ugh. This compilation is beautiful and sooooo much love to Sasha for getting it for meee <3. The line that I continue to come back to is: “it is hard to have your abundance mistaken as absence”. V excited to come back to it over and over again.
Ari
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
How intimate, touching, and vulnerable.
Adri
Dec 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
CWs: some sexual references; allusions to harassment, homophobia and transphobia; brief mention of assault and injury relating to assault.
Zahra
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
KappaBooks
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtqia, i-own, memoir, poetry
It was one of those questions that felt more like a declaration, like, "I AM HURT."

"I had one of those answers that felt more like an apology, like, "I AM SORRY."


An astonishingly story but powerful poetry collection. This is the closest to tears I've been in a while after reading something.

Please buy this collection or if nothing else, look up Alok's performances online.
...more
Amanda
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"where the only way to heal is to hurt" "New Years Revolution"(s) A compelling collection of poems about loss, grief and radical self-love. ...more
Ee
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best things I've read! Direct, honest and beautiful. ...more
Maya McKenzie
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Truly one of the best books I have ever read. I devoured it in one sitting. Alok is changing the fucking game.
JJ Hawkins
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Alok is a gift. There is an eloquence, vulnerability, honesty, and grasp over language that is honestly unparalleled in any other poet or artist I’ve seen.
Jo
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtq
Amazing.
Min
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rarely are there words that hurt to read in deep resonance, a reminder of the diasporic femme I carry and the world that wants no part of it
Jess
May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, lgbtq, poetry
“Excellent” isn’t nearly strong enough.
Gargi
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
Femme in Public is likely the best book I've read this year. Alok's writing is so harrowing and, at the same time, full of optimism.

but i have stopped traffic simply by going outside.
i have suspended time. i have made everyone watch. i
have shed every category, word, and lie. i have etched
myself so deep inside, they will never forget me.

i have found a way to live forever.


erasure = visibility = hyper-visibility = alienation and othering from one's self = invisibility

i have come to the conclusio
...more
Jessica
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Alok has the most deeply authentic and insightful voice I've heard in ages.


-----

to the man who said,
“you better get the fuck away from me or else!”
today on w15 street

i wonder if your request for space was to make explicit
the distance between who you pretend to be and who you actually are.

i worry about the toll this disconnect is having on you:
it is hard to live in a world where our most intimate desires are the ones we are told to repress.

i spent the rest of the day filling in the rest of the s

...more
Rubes
Mar 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
"NEW YEARS REVOLUTION

1) STOP USING POLITICS TO LEGITIMIZE MY FEELINGS

2) AFFIRM PEOPLE FOR BEING NEEDY AND VULNERABLE IN PUBLIC

3) RECOGNIZE EVERYONE ELSE'S COMPLEXITY AS MUCH AS I DO MY OWN

4) ADMIT WHEN I OPERATE FROM A PLACE OF HURT AND LONELINESS

5) BELIEVE IN ALL OF OUR INFINITE CAPACITY FOR TRANSFORMATION

6) PROVIDE CARE AS MUCH AS I PROVIDE CRITIQUE

7) RESPECT LIMITATIONS AND CONSTRAINTS

8) HONOR SILENCE AS A FORM OF PRESENCE

9) FEEL AND LOVE, MILITANTLY

10) REFUSE THE DISMISSAL OF ART AND INTERDE
...more
Hathor Vergotis
May 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely, loving book of poetry, and important in this time and culture where Trans Women are living under the continual threat of physical violence, and the federal government of the united states is rolling back any protection the law allows these Sacred Souls.

The title itself, "Femme in Public" lays its gentle hand on the painful truth that we are living in a world where to walk out one's door as yourself can be an act of resistance, where it should simply be a Human right.

All that
...more
Delia
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, lgbtqia
I don't read poetry very often, but Alok has such a unique and honest perspective. They share powerful words that are personal to them, but that I can relate to as well, maybe not from a binary point of view, but from a human point of view. The things I can take for granted (like walking down a street), Alok takes with stares, ridicule, harrassment, and threats. And while Alok will recognize the faults in others, they also find the faults in themself. Alok's words hurt, but they also bring joy a ...more
Livia
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Putting into words what this book means to me is an impossible task so here's this: Alok's poetry is honest and beautiful, raw and cared-for. They so effectively write about their experiences that the emotion of them is inscribed on the page. I highlighted so many lines while reading this (and cried over others). It's a sweet treat of a book but I demand that someone give them a book deal so we can maybe possibly if they want to... give us a whole buffet of their work... if it's not too much to ...more
Tori Goodwin Polanco
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Alok is an incredible storyteller and author whose work is increasingly important. Femme in Public is a heart wrenching and necessary read for everyone, if not especially for cisgender folks, like myself. Hearing others’ stories of struggle and persecution has helped me recognize my privilege and Alok’s writing does that and more.
Highly recommend.
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Alok is a gender non-conforming writer and performance artist. They are the author of Femme in Public (2017) and Beyond the Gender Binary (2020). Learn more at www.alokvmenon.com ...more

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