Monday February 06, 2017
How Gwen Benaway's personal transition is reflected in her poetry
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- Sheila Watt-Cloutier on raising awareness about climate change in the Arctic
- Vish Khanna on two memoirs by high-profile comedians
- How Gwen Benaway's personal transition is reflected in her poetry
- Steven Price on a character living on both sides of the law
- Full Episode
Gwen Benaway is the author of the poetry collection Passage. In her own words, she describes the life experiences that are reflected in the book.
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I'm a trans girl poet, and I started writing Passage while I was just coming through the process of deciding I was going to transition. I'd always talked about transitioning my whole life, but it was something I thought I would do a lot later in my life. But through the writing of Passage, I realized that the moment for me to start my transition was now. I really had to transition in order not only become the person I've always been, but also to have an honest connection with the people around me and the world I inhabited.
The development of Passage was really interesting for me, because I started before I had really conceptualized transitioning. So I was writing, I think, from still seeing myself through the lens of being a gay man. So there's a tension in Passage, where in some of the pieces, particularly early on in the collection, you think I'm still writing from a male perspective, a male voice. And as I was writing, you see a she-voice start to emerge. That intensifies throughout the collection. While I was writing it, I had these moments of realization where I was going, Oh! That's what's been wrong in my life!
Gwen Benaway's comments have been edited and condensed.