I Don’t Mean to Redshift by beyza ozer
Maudlin House Press
4×6 paperback, 50 pages
review by Caseyrenée Lopez
“[B]read is the only thing / i am sure about in this universe[,]” beyza ozer says in “Dear Pieces,” a poem from their collection I Don’t Mean to Redshift, and I can’t agree more. But I Don’t Mean to Redshift is much more than bread—it’s the emotional exposure of vulnerability and a vocal rejection of cisnormative gender politics. ozer largely uses an epistolary form, creating both a sense of intimacy and distance. The language used is both technical and not, the focus on scientific jargon and astronomy based visuals make for an interesting pairing with astrology. The resulting juxtaposition of opposites gives this collection a uniqueness that can often be hard to come by. In line with the epistolary form, ozer employs a short series of Oregon Trail poems that at first seem to leap out the collection as something misplaced or out of bounds, but as you read and reread them, it becomes clear that we are going on a journey that supersedes time and space.
The poems in I Don’t Mean to Redshift are individual cogs that work to keep the pacing of this collection in sync. Each poem plays a part and shifts the narrative in one direction. Though when we talk about space and time, there is no backwards or forwards, there is just movement relative to objects, so we are left with each poem orbiting within the container of the collection. ozer’s bluntness ties these poems together, leaving readers wanting more, while at the same time fulfilling expectations by continually examining and reexamining what it means to live as a trans person and a child of immigrants. ozer offers readers vulnerable, tired of cis-bullshit insights that highlight what it is to be young, othered, and over the status-quo.