i don’t write about race by June Gehringer


ISBN: 978-1-948700-12-2
94 pages
Release Date: October 4, 2018
Civil Coping Mechanisms

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I don’t write about race is a poetic exploration of identity, as told through apologies, anecdotes, and admonitions. An autofictional cosmogony of a girl who has been alive too long, this collection of poems represents both the absolute culmination and the ultimate failure of the author’s lifelong search for identity.

As its speaker becomes ever more estranged from conventional sources and modes of meaning and kinship, delving from relationship to bar, bar to relationship, from one city, partner, and job to the next, juggling relationship between families both biological and chosen, she becomes intimately acquainted with alienation. I don’t write about race engages ever more intimately with one of the fundamental questions of literature: what do you do when you wake up again, alone, and somehow still yourself?

Recommended if you are an absolute idealist and an absolute cynic in the same body, if you’re everything at once, and it exhausts you.


I Don’t Write About Race doesn’t give us easy answers or easy feelings. As the title tells you, this book doesn’t write about race, it writes about the meanings we make. “I write about erasure,” Gehringer writes, and “I write about silence.” But this isn’t just a story, it’s a space. We, as readers, enter into accountability for our dealings with race, transness, family, and class, and not just the idea of these things, not just the dutiful performance of these buzzwords, but how it really feels to be placed in proximity to those who fail to love us. Are you paying attention? There is bittersweet pleasure in these poems. There is a sharp humor that tricks us into revealing our unearned comfort with cynicism before fucking us up with its masterful sincerity. There is a generosity in these poems that is so expansive and tender that I don’t think any of us can really deserve it. The world fractures us, relentlessly hammers us into little pieces, but Gehringer gives us these poems anyway, and doesn’t gather themselves whole to appease anyone.

–Ginger Ko, author of Inherit

In I Don’t Write About Race, poet June Gehringer radically refuses the binary terms of us/them, and cuts across singular identities of race, gender, and sexuality in a new trans poetics. Sardonic, intelligent, mediated, and all together tender, Gehringer’s extraordinary poems on family, gender, politics, and violence work as a salve to the everyday that erases and oppresses difference. As the title poem declares, “I don’t write about race/I write about erasure,” Gehringer’s poetry commits to the difficult work of revealing. Like the Brooklyn coffee shops meetings evoked in the collection, reading these intimate poems leaves one wholly changed. Stay with these poems. They are radical and thoughtful strangers you want to know. These poems call out, and call in. Bearing necessary witness to the violence of “white hands,” Gehringer offers us a hymn of trans resistance, survivance, and futurity in our “post racial” age.

–Margaret Rhee, author of Love, Robot

Born and raised in Omaha, NE, JUNE GEHRINGER is a mixed Chinese trans woman who is somehow still alive. She is the author of I love you it looks like rain (Be About It 2017), and EVERYONE IS A BIG BUG TO SOMEONE (self-published) 2017. She is the co-founder of tenderness yea, and tweets @unlovablehottie. She holds a B.A. in English from Loyola University New Orleans and has worked as a cook since she was 16.