Poetry, chapbook, 44 pages, from Bottlecap Features.
New in Town is a coming out/post-coming out story told in reverse chronological order. Through vivid language and strange, inventive imagery, the reader travels back to the beginning, experiencing along the way, the joy, love, and pain that comes with queer self-discovery.
By the end, or start, the reader is left to wonder if all of the personal growth they just witnessed was the truth, was the to-be future, and not some sliding doors moment or daydream. As the speaker in the very last line buries his hands in the ground, then walks away, readers should be screaming, "Wait! Don't go! I have seen all the good that will come from what feels scary."
So many queer people at the beginning of their journeys can't imagine what their happiness could look like, what they could look like. New in Town paints that picture for them, while also letting readers feel the gravity and life-altering consequences of such a crossroads decision.
Grant Chemidlin is a queer poet and currently, an MFA candidate at Antioch University-Los Angeles. He is the author of He Felt Unwell (So He Wrote This) and his second collection, What We Lost in the Swamp, will be published by Central Avenue Publishing in 2023. He has been a finalist for the Gival Press Oscar Wilde Award and the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry. Recent work has been featured or is forthcoming in Tupelo Quarterly, Iron Horse Literary Review, Quarterly West, and River Heron Review, among others.