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P.E.I. author explores their gender identity through poetry

“to every queerdo wrapped in rainbows

and to those who don't feel safe to do so..."

 
P.E.I. author Laurie Brinklow explored the concepts of “islandness” and Islander identity through poetry in her P.E.I. Book Award winner poem collection “My island’s the house I sleep in at night”.
Queer non-binary author Julie R. Bull shared their exploration of their gender identity through poetry in their latest collection “trans(form)ing”, from 2023. Photo by Ezra Santana.
 

trans(form)ing by Julie R. Bull

 

Julie Bull has 30 years worth of poems lying around in binders or files in their computer. But it wasn’t until the pandemic hit that Bull decided to share their poems.

When they were six or seven that they decided they needed a way to get their thoughts and feelings out there.

“So, poetry was just this way that I got– it was a thing for me, it was both playful and therapeutic… cause sometimes I make silly poems, like not all the poems are hard and talking about hard things.”

They wrote poems about even the simplest things, like what a tree looked like that day or what a bird was doing when it flew to the window.

“Usually my poetry, and it still is, often a therapeutic pursuit. Something I do to either process feelings or to integrate experiences… things that are for me.”

But that changed when they realized their poetry could positively affect others when shared.

“And thinking back to my own experiences of being a young queer person, but not really having a lot of literature from my peers or from people I could look up to, I thought, ‘well, I have all these words written, why not start putting them out into the world?’”

Bull has since published three poetry collections, the latest being “trans(form)ing”, from 2023, about confronting and transforming fear, particularly when it comes to gender identity.

In “trans(form)ing”, they include a few poems that were written when they were in their teens, which makes the book relatable to a younger audience.

“‘trans(form)ing’ isn’t just about my non-binary gender identity, it’s about how the whole world is non-binary, that nature is non-binary… that everything that we have created to look like it’s one or the other actually isn’t.”

"trans(form)ing" by Julie R. Bull is about confronting and transforming fear, particularly when it comes to gender identity. Photo by Ezra Santana.

All three of their published poetry collections are introductions to them as a person, said Bull.

“And this one specifically is around my coming to understand myself and my gender identity as a much more fluid experience than I originally was led to believe for myself.”

Trans and gender diverse readers of “trans(form)ing” have found themselves in the verses of Bull’s poetry.

“This collection of poems spoke to many of the similar experiences that I have had as a trans person while also showing that each trans journey is unique and special,” said Anastasia Preston, the trans community outreach co-ordinator for PEERS Alliance.

AinZ Kendrick doesn’t usually read poetry, but was captivated by Bull’s work.

“Their ability to take complex feelings and present them in a way that connects with my soul is thrilling. Their words have me simultaneously crying, laughing out loud and screaming,” said Kendrick.

Bull’s other books, “(h)in(d)sight 20/20” and “be(com)ing me”, are part of their spiritual connection collection, dealing with the concept of humans as spiritual beings having a physical experience.

They plan to host writing workshops in the future and share their work.

“It’s more about ‘what are we doing collectively with the creative energy?’”

Bull has also started collaborating with their musician friends to create songs and use their poems as lyrics.

“Working with people who have the ear for music and who can use all of this fancy equipment to put the sounds together, and then having the words match that music just– it feels like an extra kind of magic that’s been happening, and I want to do more of that.”

A copy of “trans(form)ing” is available for free to members of the trans and gender diverse community thanks to local organizations, including PEERS Alliance, PRIDE P.E.I., BIPOC-USHR, P.E.I. Transgender Network, Women’s Network of P.E.I. and Dalmac Print-Signs-Cresting.

 

“it's not about

who loves you

but who makes

you love yourself

more

not less"

 

trans(form)ing | Julie R. Bull | 81 pp. | Julie R. Bull | $19.99

 

This book is about confronting and transforming fear. Julie R. Bull integrates learnings and teachings from physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual experiences through a compilation of poems that tell a story of deep feeling and hard healing. Julie's connection to and understanding of their own non-binary gender, coupled with their collective integrations, take the reader on a journey of transformation."

 

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Hey, thanks for stopping by!

My name is Ezra (they/them) and I’m an aspiring storyteller who is half-way through a Journalism and Communications program at Holland College, P.E.I. 

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