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Permanent Volta (Nightboat Books)

A debut collection of love poems that resist subjection and ask how we might live together outside of capitalism, providing for each other through intimate acts of care and struggle.

In Permanent Volta, here are love poems about how queer intimacies invent political and poetic forms, how gender deviance imagines post-sovereign presents and futures. Full of bad grammar, strange sonnets, and truncated sestinas, these poems are for anyone motivated by the homoerotic and intimate etymology of comrade: one who shares the same room. If history sees writers as tops and muses as bottoms, these poems refuse, invert, and evade representation. Here, muses demand wages, then demand the world.

Rosie Stockton is a poet based in Los Angeles. Their first book, Permanent Volta, is the recipient of the 2019 Sawtooth Prize, and is forthcoming from Nightboat Books in 2021. Their poems have been published by Publication Studio, VOLT, Jubilat, Apogee, Mask Magazine, and WONDER. They are currently a Ph.D. Student in Gender Studies at UCLA.

Hannah Black is an artist and writer living in New York. Recent solo shows include Ruin/Rien at Arcadia Missa and Dede Eberhard Phantom at Kunstverein Braunschweig. Her work was part of Manifesta 13 and the 2020 Busan Biennial. She is the author of Dark Pool Party (2016) and Life (with Juliana Huxtable, 2017).


“A paean to the disruptive power of queer desire, Rosie Stockton’s rhapsodic debut, Permanent Volta, embodies a poetics of the swerve, of switch life beyond butch and femme, where we inhabit, kaleidoscopically, the pleasure-pains of Eros’s excesses. We are hailed, are beckoned by, Stockton’s visionary imperatives: ‘it’s time / for love / in the time / of dollar store cutlery.’ We torque to find a way to love under late-capitalism, awash in the luxurious bliss of Permanent Volta, with Stockton as our humble guide.”

-Jackie Wang

“Brainy, bratty, witty, libidinal, vulnerable, this book is a ‘bad sub,’ a queer comrade you can trust to show up on the front lines of resistance.” 

-Brian Teare

“A fresh take on contemporary subjectivity and gender (‘deep in my reliquary it rots like gender’), Permanent Volta is necessary reading for those of us who aim to re-invent the future.”

-Dawn Lundy Martin

“These poems rise, softly recede and then spill forth—like a body of water, like a ‘spilt glass of wine’, like desire itself. In this collection, an addicting world of eroticism and fantasy is carefully constructed, while the speaker remains firmly rooted in the reality of materiality, grasping with its bleakness, while finding escape and beauty wherever is possible. Inherently radical, these delicate poems will shatter you in the most pleasurable way.”

-Rachel Rabbit White


Event date: 
Saturday, May 22, 2021 - 2:00pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
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Permanent VOLTA Cover Image
ISBN: 9781643620756
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Nightboat Books - May 18th, 2021