Loathe/Love/Lathe by Alain Ginsberg
Nostrovia! Press, August 2017
Paperback, 34 pages
Review by Ella Ann Weaver
Loathe/Love/Lathe is a beautiful and haunting chapbook by Alain Ginsberg that will be coming out in August 2017 from Nostrovia! Press. Alain describes this narrative as being about “survival and the tangibility of trans and queer mortality”, and I couldn’t agree with them more. Loathe/Love/Lathe speaks plainly on these subjects, and while it could be triggering to some readers, I myself, as a survivor of trauma, was able to read through with little discomfort and found solace and solidarity in Alain’s words.
The language in Loathe/Love/Lathe is beautiful and filled with incredible imagery, my favorite example being from the piece “Dude at DuPont”— “My jazz goes off signature, /my bass is free form/my rhythm asthmatic.” I read that line repeatedly and found more to be in love with in that tiny fragment of poem each time. But while Alain uses beautiful words, they address some deep and terrible issues that haunt the LGBTQ+ community, such as the violence that trans, nonbinary, agender, and genderqueer people face. Knowing that their words are autobiographical, readers can feel Alain’s fear in lines like “I walk home barefoot, holding/my shoes like hammers” from the poem “above average.” Many people try to sweep the conversation of the violence that surrounds LGBTQ+ under the rug, but Loathe/Love/Lathe faces it head on and Alain speaks plainly of their experiences.
As far as form goes, a majority of Loathe/Love/Lathe is double-spaced poetry. While I will admit that I normally hate double-spaced poetry quite intensely, this form does work well in this chapbook and punctuates the emotion and intensity of Alain’s words. I also find the way that Alain plays with alignment and indentations to be quite visually appealing on the page without making it difficult for readers to follow along properly. I also tend to not like a lot of longer poetry, being a lover and a writer of micropoems, but again Alain managed to sell me on something that I’m not overly fond of by capturing my attention at the beginning of each piece and holding it until the end.
Loathe/Love/Lathe is a powerful collection of work that combines many aspects that I’m not normally fond of in a way that makes me love it. I would definitely recommend Alain Ginsberg’s writing for anyone looking for a good read in the coming weeks. Readers can place their pre-orders now for $5/pay what you can and look forward to receiving this wonderful collection.