Chase Berggrun is a trans poet. She is the author of R E D (Birds, LLC, 2018). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry, APR, jubilat, Poem-A-Day, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from NYU, and edits poetry for Big Lucks.
“I tried to undress a mystery,” testifies the speaker of R E D as this haunting literary performance—somewhere between neo-Gothic burlesque and formal experiment in queer auto-theory—begins. Erasing Bram Stoker’s Dracula all the way down to its psychoanalytic minimalia, Chase Berggrun unearths a narrative not only of gender transition, but of the uncanny political and metaphysical transitions entailed by the metamorphosis of individual into chorus as well. By the end of this adventure in appropriation as self-disclosure, we learn that the “mystery” was self all along: “A detail in a pool of blood / the body gathered in an awkward kink / I dress myself in easy anything.” Rapt and unsettled, we readers find ourselves, too, both saturated and implicated in the sanguinary affair of desire, “drenched to a scarlet with want.” —Srikanth Reddy