Cahun’s work explores the interior and plays with the metamorphosis of self. Her androgynous polymorphy, her adoption of various theatrical disguises (vampire, gymnast, swami, masked gypsy, braided girl, mannequin, angel) and of the trappings of either gender, sometimes of both within one image, melts the boundaries drawn by the construct of two polar oppositional genders. During much of her life, Claude Cahun cut her hair very short and dyed it rose, gold, or silver, when she didn’t shave it off completely. In her mimicry of all codes of social representation, she eludes any claim of one “true” identity, calling into question the concept of there being any one true identity. For Cahun it seems not so much a desire to BE the other gender but to dissolve the borders. In blending polar opposites she renders them non-oppositional, and thus inoperative, as in her blending of these two ideas: “poetryguardsitsecretsurrendersitsecretguardsitsecretsurrendersitsecret. . . .” —Les Paris sont ouverts
Amy King is the recipient of the 2015 Winner of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) Award. Her latest collection, The Missing Museum, is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. She serves on the executive board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and is co-editing with Heidi Lynn Staples the anthology Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She also co-edited the anthology Bettering American Poetry 2015 and is a professor of creative writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.