About the Author

Bonnie Reid

E-Mail: bonnie.reid1@gmail.com

Bonnie Reid is a poet who lives in Naarm/Melbourne and has recently completed a PhD in Creative Writing at Monash University. Their research focuses on trans poetry and poetics relating to polyvocality, somatic ritual, drone warfare, and bodily and national borders. Their writing has been published in Women: A Cultural Review, Susan/The Journal, Verge and Cordite.

Contributions by Author: Bonnie Reid

12/18/2020 _Perspective

Troubling the Border

Global Poetic Trans* Dislocations

1_Introduction This essay was originally conceptualized as a part of a larger PhD project on transpoetics. Therein, I conceived of transpoetics as describing poetry and other forms of creative practice committed to the exploration and critique of the strictures through which bodies, personhood, and animacy [1] (or proximity to the animate) are recognized and organized. In this sense, transpoetics is fundamentally a mode of becoming, and an investment in the processual, not the teleological. Understanding ‘trans*' as a prefix is fundamental to the unfolding of transpoetics in my doctoral research, as is the function of the asterisk attached to ‘trans.’ This conceptualization of ‘trans*’ as a prefix is indebted to the scholarship of Susan Stryker, Paisley Currah, Lisa Jean Moore, Eva Hayward, Jami Weinstein, and Abraham Weil. [2] ‘Trans*’ poetry and transpoetics include the poetry and poetics of certain forms of trans* gender expression. The asterisk attached to ‘trans,’ however, performs an important dual task which expands the meaningfulness of ‘trans.’ To those for whom ‘trans’ has some traction in expressing a felt sense of gendered being or becoming, the asterisk indicates the widest possible reaches of this term, not only transgender, transsexual, trans woman, or trans man etc. This sense of trans*, of course, cannot presume to describe non-Western forms of gender variance. But the asterisk attached to trans also foregrounds ‘trans’ as a prefix with imminent and profuse applications extending beyond expressions of gender. It is with this latter understanding of trans* as a prefix of becomings that I consider how ‘transborder’ might be conversant with ‘transgender.’ This essay can be understood as a suffixial materialization of the prehensions of trans*. [3] In particular, through discussion of the Transborder Immigrant Tool, a poetic and geo-locative project by artist collective Electronic Disturbance Theatre 2.0, and a related poetry series by trans* poet and artist Micha Cárdenas (who is also a member of EDT 2.0) I consider the ‘transbordering’ potential that arises at the meeting point of source code and poetry. This takes the forms both of executable code and what Roopika Risam has called “unexecutable code poetry.” [4] These executable and unexecutable poetic projects function as forms that imagine the concepts of a transborder or a “SoftBody” as possible alternatives to the hard lines of national borders and gender binaries. My discussion first addresses the locative media performance device, Transborder Immigrant Tool, which mobilizes code as poetry and poetry…