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Literary Collections Gay & Lesbian

Dream Rooms

by (author) River Halen

Book*hug Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2022
Gay & Lesbian, Transgender Studies, LGBT, Essays
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2022
    List Price

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Part essay, part poem, part fever dream journal entry, Dream Rooms is a book about personal revolution, about unravelling a worldview to make space for different selves and realities. Set in the years that led up to author River Halen coming out as trans, this collection concerns itself with what sits on the surface of daily life, hidden in plain view, hungry for address—what it means to take a stranger's pet rabbit to the vet in a year of accelerating extinctions, to lose your clothes to a moth infestation then buy a duvet made of fossil fuels, to learn your bookshelf is full of work written by rapists and rape apologists, to consider a birth control device as a narrative about bodies and their possibilities, then pull the string. Deeply queer and trans not only in its content but in its thinking, Dream Rooms invites readers to that place in consciousness where fear and desire, hidden information and common knowledge brush up against each other and are mutually transformed.

About the author

RIVER HALEN is a non-binary transgender writer of Catalan and Danish descent born in Surrey, BC, on unceded Coast Salish land and now living in Tio'tia:ke (Montreal). Their poems and essays dealing with relation, ecology, transformation, and sexuality have been published widely in Canada, the U.S., Australia, and Japan. They have been shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry and a National Magazine Award, and selected for inclusion in Best Canadian Essays.

River Halen's profile page


  • Short-listed, A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry

Editorial Reviews

“In Dream Rooms, Halen simultaneously reveals and creates a new kind of space for themselves in the space of their own body, and their own body in space, one occupied by family, friends and current and former partners. Halen’s sentences reveal and invoke, blending the best of their poetry and non-fiction through this multi-faceted examination of form, from gender identity and the prose essay through the poetry day book.” —rob mclennan

Dream Rooms is an impressive collection that invites the reader into scenes of tenderness and confrontation, suffused with the imaginary as much as with the everyday, or ‘[t]he way dreams connect to new landscapes that are really just the same familiar landscapes.’” —Montreal Review of Books

“This is a tender, funny, and profound collection that employs both poetry and prose to, as Halen says, ‘properly attend’ to the world, to inscribe safe and productive spaces for the unfolding of a trans self.” —Artforum

“The beautiful complexity of Halen’s writing is a balm against that feeling of self-estrangement. I fall into Halen’s poetics and prosaic histories like they’re made of feathers, emerging as a reader both new and comfortably animal, a suddenly shapeless body held safe inside the margins.” —The Poetry Project

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