This week Traci and Cassie sat down over lunch in Keaton's office for a Queer Staff Chat about Matty Layne Glasgow's new poetry collection DECIDUOS QWEEN. Matty's in-store reading on Friday, June 21 kicks off a weekend of PRIDE celebrations at Brazos Bookstore, followed by DRAG QUEEN STORY HOUR on Saturday, June 22. 


                *the sounds of chewing*

I’ve got a mouthful of pizza


TRACI: Here we go! Deciduous Qween!  I like the way Matty breaks up the book-- with the different types of Deciduous Qweens, almost like a species study. I think it’s really beautiful.

CASSIE: Yes! Five different qweens. Which Deciduous Qween are you, Traci?

TRACI: Good question. Hmm-- I think I’m definitely a DQ III: "deciduos qween III: of the body, the breath, not permanent; transitory or ephemeral"

(if i had long hair I would flip it here) haha What kind of Deciduous Qween are you Cassie?

CASSIE: I’m a 4. "deciduous qween IV: of a tree or shrub, relatively broad-leaved, rather than needlelike or scale like"

TRACI: Oh I can see that. I love the opening line of that poem by the way. “A boy once called me a beech leaf-- too straight-veined & sharp around the edges to love” Oooof.

Alright, so we got a DQ 3 and a DQ 4 in the house! Haha Ok, ok, let’s dive in. So, I read these poems on my commute. Lots of crying on the metro rail.

CASSIE: The first half I read outside, because it felt like the appropriate thing to do, but then it was Houston and I hated that, so I went inside and I put on a face mask and drank some coffee and that was way better.

TRACI: Haha that reminds me of a line from the poem in the book Texas was a time that never moved.

“scorched earth & steam -- / a thick haze that swayed over the pavement.”

The title of this poem is actually an incomplete line from the poem. In the poem it says “Texas was a time that never moved / forward." And I love that. I love the big queer Texas that Matty paints for us-- the beauty and almost mysticism of this place that he later juxtaposes with its troubled history-- “Texas is still / an unsetting sun; it hangs in time, forgets / the bodies it’s hanged & burned & burried.” He is writing from Texas, as this iconic place, but also a place of historical and even ongoing tragedy for queer people and brown people and any othered-bodied people. You can definitely feel the south in his writing and the push and pull of what that means as a gay man.

CASSIE: Yes! Definitely. I really appreciated that the poetry in the book is accessible in different ways. I love the power(bottom) is yours poem, about Captain Planet. As someone who partially discovered her queerness by watching a bunch of shows-- like, we all know those Sailor Scouts were not cousins-- it was particularly exciting to see that aspect of my identity represented-- I know its a shared experience for many people-- but it’s not always one that’s put down on a page.

TRACI: Exactly. There’s a lot going on in this collection. I love how Matty ties in these natural and biological phenomenon in the animal and plant kingdom and weaves queer sexuality into them-- taking these instances from nature that defy the binary and applying them to queer bodies and queer relationships.

CASSIE: Yeah-- the idea that this queerness is as natural as what occurs in nature-- that it even mirrors nature.

One of the things that’s getting me so excited for Matty’s upcoming reading is you can tell that these poems are supposed to be spoken aloud.

TRACI: Definitely, I can’t wait to hear him read them!

Matty explores the idea of being wanted quite a bit in this collection which I find heartbreaking and so very relatable. Such a human feeling-- to be wanted, or needed. To be wanted sexually or emotionally or intellectually-- and how the need to be desired is often times very complex for those inside queer bodies.

CASSIE: One poem I really enjoyed was Straight Boy on page 78.

               *As though on cue, Keaton chimes in (to be fair we are in his office)*

KEATON: Are you guys recording this?

CASSIE: Yeah, it’s a queer staff chat, now featuring Keaton.

Anyway, so Straight Boy-- the first line is “who hurt you”

TRACI: haha I feel that way about a lot of straight men.

CASSIE: Oh my god, me too. That first line made me chuckle but then when I kept reading I was like, oh, this is heartfelt, these are very good points. This piece tows the line of things we might say as a joke but are also genuine questions with real life implications.

TRACI: Yeah, I feel like “who hurt you” is this very internet-culture, meme-worthy line, and I love that he started from this very relatable, familiar place, and then moves slowly toward the seriousness of the inquiry.

Let’s talk about his relationship with his mom in the collection. I feel like a lot of time when we hear stories of queer folks and their relationships with parents, we often hear about the difficult stories. But in Matty’s book he really underscores this agreement and friendship with his mother. Almost as though he and his mother are a team, that they are constantly in cahoots, its Matty and Mom against the world, particularly in the poem Mama said funny things, which details all of the jokes his mother made just before dying. I think the prevailing queer narrative is one where the child is cast away by their parents and completely misunderstood. And it’s so nice to see stories of queer acceptance celebrated in literature.

CASSIE: Yeah it’s quite beautiful and I really appreciate the idea of equating the pure beauty of nature with the beauty of queerness-- like it’s being celebrated, not just fetishized--

TRACI: -- or merely tolerated

CASSIE: -- or used as a prop.

Gosh! There’s so much to unpack in this collection. I can’t wait to see which poems Matty chooses to read! You know I don’t read a lot of poetry often, but I really loved this book. It connected in so many ways with me that I wasn’t expecting.

TRACI: I'm a big reader of poetry and I can absolutely say that I can’t wait to have Matty in-store this Friday, June 21 at 6pm.

CASSIE: There’s gonna be tamales and cake and a drag queen and readers!

TRACI: Yes, there’s a lot of performers on the bill!

CASSIE: A big celebration!

TRACI: Big Gay Weekend!

CASSIE: ‘Tis the Season!

Join us in-store on Friday, June 21 at 6pm for a celebration of DECIDUOUS QWEEN! 

Local drag queen CiCi Sashimi will host an evening of tamales, tequila, drag, & poetry in celebration of Matty Layne Glasgow’s Saltman Award-winning collection deciduous qween. Enjoy performances by CiCi Sashimi, Analicia Sotelo, Ayokunle Falomo, & Matty Layne Glasgow. Drinks & tamales will be served at 6p, festivities begin at 6:30p followed by a signing & cake.


Deciduous Qween Cover Image
ISBN: 9781597092586
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Red Hen Press - June 4th, 2019

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