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Julian Talamantez Brolaski

Julian Talamantez Brolaski

Julian Talamantez Brolaski

(United States of America, 1978)

Julian Talamantez Brolaski is a two-spirit and transgender poet of mixed Mescalero and Lipan Apache, Latin@, and European heritages. Brolaski has published four poetry collections, including Of Mongrelitude (Wave Book, 2017), which was a Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. It is also the lead singer and rhythm guitarist in the country bands Juan & the Pines and the Western Skyline. Brolaski lives and works in Brooklyn, New York near the Gowanus Canal, one of the most polluted waterways in the United States and a recurrent setting in their poems.

As a poet Julian Talamantez Brolaski is fluidly juggling the language it uses, from its poetry to its pronouns; Brolaski prefers to be referred to as it. It blurs the boundaries between Elizabethan English, hip-hop slang, #webtalk and ‘Urban Dictionary’ terms just as effortlessly as between sonnets and free-verse forms, between neologisms and deeply excavated etymologies. It is then of little surprise that its work should be reminiscent of Joyce’s Finnegans Wake on occasion, for example in Sloughing off the Gentlemanly Sports:

A gleam in the gloom with serpentine song

Its sonnets are Shakespearian in their solidity, but their settings are thoroughly contemporary:

If I be fair, or false, or freaked with fear
If I my tongue in lockèd box immure
Blame not me, for I am sick with love.

The famous philosophical line from King Lear, ‘Nothing will come of nothing’ is reformatted by Brolaski, not to mention given a makeover:

n/thing will come of n/t

There are a striking amount of animals in their poems: beached whales, Irish sheep, horses, rats, cows, fish, starfish – all of them seen timelessly, as they are, in the past of the present of the future:

the fish begin to speak queerly
something that will never happen before






© Erik Bindervoet & Robbert-Jan Henkes (Translated by Michele Hutchison)


gowanus atropolis, Ugly Duckling Presse, Brooklyn, NY, 2010
Advice for Lovers, City Lights, San Francisco, 2011
Horse Vision, Fulcrum Press, New York, 2014
Of Mongrelitude, Wave Book, 2017

Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Prins Bernhard cultuurfonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Gefinancierd door de Europese Unie
Elise Mathilde Fonds
Stichting Verzameling van Wijngaarden-Boot
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère