Cassandra Troyan Publications Books Talks Projects About

Against Capture
from Veer2 (2022)

Against Capture is a book filled with trauma, rage, hope, and the abolitionist desire to see all carceral institutions of capture and domestication burn to the ground. Most of all, this dream of freedom is rooted in love, and guided by the critter comrades who populate this work through their militant joy.

'To be against the violence of the capture of work, the state, and borders is to intimately know their constitutive repetition. Again and again and always against, Cassandra Troyan's stunning and brutal poems in Against Capture "tear up the bed sheets" that carry the trace of forms of captivity that keep us apart. These are poems about sex at the edges of a city that teach us the political calculus of gender, detention, trading sex, and how "love" gets implicated in this math. Smashing together intimacy and state violence at a rapid scaling of degrees, Troyan invites us to escape together, even while still entangled. In simultaneously a whisper and a scream, Troyan offers a "heuristic cream pie for the trash can of our love," demanding we "steal back our leisure," "touch the fog," as we "get obliterated." Our modes of capture may be distinct, but Troyan's vision of trans/species solidarities calls us to feel the possibility of our freedom "in the heart / of what refuses to break."' —Rosie Stockton, author of Permanent Volta

'Cassandra Troyan is the abolitionist theorist and poet whose books are the sharpest medicine for my Anthropocene-poisoned brain. I await their collections with trepidation and hunger, knowing that I am about to be nourished, peeled open, undone. Against Capture is number five. With characteristic love and brutality, in its pages, the author of Freedom & Prostitution and A Theory in Tears plunges us into the freedom dreams of more-than-human forms of life. Troyan here "simps for nature / shrimping across the canvas," demanding that we recognize hedgehogs, capybaras and insects as comrades in our struggle against borders, whiteness, patriarchy, and capital.' —Sophie Lewis, author of Full Surrogacy Now

Reviewed by Mau Baiocco at SPAM Deep Cuts 2022

Against Capture can be purchased from the publisher.

from The Elephants (2020)

FREEDOM & PROSTITUTION proposes the dream of a world without work, without money, without gender, while imagining forms of survival now for those who often have little to no choices, refuse to submit to the demands of tedious underpaid or unwaged labor, an abusive partner, or seek a life beyond work. Sex work is not a "better" type of labor but a proposal for the abolition of all work.

"Name the dead. Mourn the dead. Defend the dead. Sociality does not end at death. Cassandra Troyan's Freedom & Prostitution asks survivors to avenge the dead by striking a blow to the patriarchal power structure that renders sex workers disposable. Here is a poetics of sex work against work, one that does not shirk from conflict but instead enters the scene of brutality to lay bare the violence that constitutes the category 'woman.' By moving through that pain the poems are transformed into a guttural shriek that summons the chorus of insurrectionary whores to 'strike from the sky.' Refusal takes the form of a swarm. To put it bluntly, this book makes me want to fuck shit up."

—Jackie Wang, author of Carceral Capitalism

Reviewed by Sarah Dowling at Chicago Review
Reviewed by Danielle LaFrance at The Capilano Review
Reviewed by LA Warman at The Poetry Project
Reviewed by Marina Scott at Spamzine
Dennis Cooper's Year-End List, 2020

FREEDOM & PROSTITUTION can be purchased at the following vendors:

The Elephants
Other Weapons

Good Press
Pages of Hackney
ICA london Bookshop

(links for these stores will be coming soon)

A Theory in Tears

from Kenning Editions (2016)
Out of Print, Click for PDF

A Theory in Tears (ANNOTATIONS & CASES FOR FREEDOM & PROSTITUTION) uses voices of authority, victimization, punishment, and violent desire to complicate the reader's relationship to narrative truth claims proffered by the institutional sites complicit in delivering "justice," such as the courtroom or the prison. By reconstructing notions of guilt around the appearance of tears, it becomes a sign elucidating marks of pain or (un)freedom when performed by the victim and the criminal in a circuit of retribution. Focusing on issues of gendered violence, rape, and sexual assault, A Theory in Tears seeks to discover different forms for addressing harm while releasing those who are named by it.

Reviewed by Allison Cardon at Full-Stop.
from Solar Luxuriance (2014)
Out of Print, Click for PDF

"[W]e are each drawn / to the forms of life / which make / us feel sovereign." In this long poem in three parts, Troyan addresses the positional reality of what it means to be a woman. First in the terror of adolescence, second configured in a relationship with a man who stands specifically postured as a signifier of the military-industrial complex, and finally through the cipher of a media-influenced female sexuality dominated by bachelorette parties and the inherent oppressiveness of heterosexuality. Sexuality can never be simple, and Troyan's text demonstrates the forms of hierarchy serving to obstruct any sovereign release.

from Artifice Books (2014)
Out of Print, Click for PDF

While a young woman is receiving a bouquet of unfavorable psychiatric assessments, the voices that comprise her KILL MANUAL are dismantling the terrible machine being leveled at her. Her suicide notes and surgical records of poetry; her accounts of brutal, exhilarating experiences; her self-searing retorts to the biblically tinted advances of the rich and bored to depravity: She uses all forms at her disposal, growing in strength and violence as she struggles "just to be free / and know what that / really means."

"The sometime-narrator of KILL MANUAL anastasiasteele3577 haunts chat rooms and BDSM dating sites in search of oblivion. But oblivion hardly needs to be searched for: It’s already there. This disturbing and radical book reveals, among other things, the half-life left in the wake of ubiquitous, data-mined, robotically fabricated internet content. The world ends in exhaustion. Troyan's piercingly felt, sampled text probes the immateriality of language. Her work is brilliant and brave."
—Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick and Summer of Hate

" 'LET US PUT ON THE ARMOR OF LIGHT ;)' an unimaginable request from a poet from a nation of militarized cynicism, where the choking in the bedroom is our most authentic application to sell us back to ourselves, unmarked, very much alive. Cassandra Troyan's amazing new book KILL MANUAL mows us down to the nub where we register just how thoroughly we have been plunged into an illusory, yet sensate world. She doesn't flinch because she's the poet we've been hurting for." —CA Conrad, author of ECODEVIANCE

Reviewed by Kevin Killian at Amazon
Reviewed by Blake Butler at Vice
Reviewed by Laura Theobald at NDR
Reviewed at Probably Crying Review
from Tiny Hardcore Press (2014)
Reprinted by Civil Coping Mechanisms (2016)
Out of Print

"Cassandra Troyan's writing, here in these non-stop great, coruscating poems and everywhere else, is one of the total wonders of contemporary lit. It can make every form it wears seem at once perfected and helplessly corrupted. So, it's like an ongoing R.I.P. to the historical models. But she's not just a writers' writer. She seems to know so much so unusually and feel everything so complicatedly and yet concisely that reading her is something new and gigantic."
—Dennis Cooper, author of The Marbled Swarm & The Sluts

"Cassandra Troyan's Blacken Me Blacken Me, Growled begins by thinking at the very edge of what we call language, listening intently to what desire and disgust sound like there. In this remarkable book, the inchoate flails and wails of pleasure and spectacular pain finally do focus—we aren't alone even when we beg or squeal. Our lovers are there, our family is there, our community is there, lack and excess, hot filth, cum and treasure. When so much writing conforms to capital's imperative that we enervate ourselves in our art works, our communities, our sex lives, our sense of what is possible, Blacken Me is a wise reminder that we are not alone, that 'we need the shit,' that 'we are the shit that motivates our bones.' " —Brandon Brown, author of Top 40

Reviewed by Carolyn DeCarlo at The Lit Pub
Reviewed by Caleb Tankersley at Necessary Fiction
How That Time Marks One For Death: Cassandra Troyan on Blacken Me Blacken Me, Growled

from Solar Luxuriance (2013)
Out of Print, Click for PDF

"Cassandra Troyan goes for the throat, and once she's in the throat she goes for the gonads, then the brain. No sex is safe, as is no being. Let her re-teach you how to cower."
—Blake Butler, author of There Is No Year

"Troyan's is a voracious language that gurgles itself, spits back up and swallows again only to become a new hungry hole, always phoenixing, always being born, never finished filling. In her 10000 rebirths we can finally see our own wants clearly: stained, wetdreamt, slit and sticky, but innocent in never having been informed why we are alive. This book is very dirty and very, very pure."
—Melissa Broder, author of Last Sext

Reviewed by Chris Higgs at The Collagist
Reviewed by Shaun Gannon at HTMLGiant, "My Scary Mother"
Reviewed by Leif Haven at HTMLGiant, "Fragile Kingdom"
Reviewed by Blake Butler at Vice