The Criminal: The Invisibility of Parallel Forces by Max Wolf Valerio


This long-awaited volume collects poetry from the 80s and 90s by Max Wolf Valerio, one of the first trans poets to publish a book of poems in the US. The punk intensity, provocation, and playful, taboo stretching of perceptions in Valerio’s poetry will be familiar to readers of his influential transition memoir The Testosterone Files.

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“As I’m reading THE CRIMINAL I can remember the enormous impression Max Wolf Valerio made on entering a room—it was like some container of doom had found the nearest mic and was going to start to make demands, to radiate, to detonate, then move on… you went to see his readings as one in France might see Genet or Guyotat give their takes of the current situation—with a chill up one’s spine. As though Francis Bacon wrote poems.”—Kevin Killian, from the Introduction

“THE CRIMINAL by Max Wolf Valerio is an abrasive ballet that transposes the abyss tethered by nothing other than the energy of the urgent. Each line sired by hybridity, by the body as a liminal ark that exists as a scripture on inversion, all the while existing as the danger that suffuses this inversion. These poems seem to rage as destination via elliptical compass points, via inner inebriation and balance, magnetized as they are to a nutritional psychic gulf teeming with morphological brilliance.”—Will Alexander

The Criminal: The Invisibility of Parallel Forces by Max Wolf Valerio