Imogen Binnie, reading from her new novel Nevada.
There were a couple of difficult distinctions to be made during the reading of trans-women’s literature held at Traffic Jam & Snug restaurant on Tuesday. The performance by lead reader Imogen Binne, on tour in support of her novel, Nevada, made it impossible to distinguish between the content of the novel and her hilarious, rapid-fire delivery of the text. Indeed, it was sometimes difficult to tell when she was reading from the text or providing the audience with spontaneous asides or meta-analysis. And finally, it was hard to decide if the scene-setting of the novel’s opening chapters was an objectively spot-on characterization of New York or merely a successful invocation of the familiar for this particular ex-New Yorker.
Binnie brought copies of Nevada, a 2013 release from Topside Press, as well as self-published ‘zines on queer and trans-issues.
All of which is immaterial, of course, to the fact that Binne presents a strong, funny perspective that comes across in an engaging and genuine voice. The story follows Binne’s heroine, a trans female named Maria, as she negotiates an escape from New York that eventually brings her to Nevada, where she encounters a young man named James upon whom she decides to impose unsolicited mentorship. As for finer distinctions on how the text holds up without Binne’s live reading, I’ll have to let you know once I finish it.
Binnie signed books and chatted up the crowd in the break following her reading.
Binne was followed by Detroit poet, author, and performer Madison Lynn McEville, who shared some selections from her forthcoming chapbook, Rough Draft Daily, a dark exploration of loss, madness, and recovery, created in the aftermath of the suicide of a close friend, McEville’s subsequent institutionalization and release, which culminated in a poem-a-day regimen. The chapbook will be released by Unthinkable Creatures in two weeks. Soft-spoken in the delivery of powerful material, McEville additionally shared the introduction of her novel-in-progress, a retake on Oresteia, a trilogy of Greek tragedies written by Aeschylus.
Madison Lynn McEville, finding light in the darkness.
McEville followed her reading with a performance par excellence on the saw.
Many thanks to both readers, for an intense literary journey, sharing lives tremendously beautiful and by turns hilarious and terrifying.
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