Gorgon Love Medley


A photo of a white marble medusa statue on a blue background, with the title “Gorgon Love Medley”.

When I was a teenager I made mix CDs and sent them to friends around the world, friends I’d made on music bulletin boards and fanfiction websites, friends I shared all the most important parts of myself with, friends on the early 00s internet, where I lived. I bought albums from Avalanche whenever I travelled from Orkney to Edinburgh, and I downloaded a lot from Audiogalaxy on my 00s Scottish island dial-up (sorry Mum and Dad, sorry musicians, sorry cops, thanks for the music).

Making a mix CD meant picking a theme, saying what I wanted to say in under 80 minutes, making a cover image in Microsoft Word, lovingly cutting it out and trying to get it in the jewel case without crumpling it. I don’t keep CDs in the house any more, except for a handful of mix CDs that friends sent to me in return. I don’t even have a CD player, let alone a CD burner. But the 78 minute mix is still, for me, the ideal length of time to say what I want to say. (I know, I know, folk a bit older than me would say the same about two sides of 45 minutes each, don’t @ me.)

I don’t own an account on the world’s largest music streaming service provider, so I don’t listen to playlists there or know much about how people are working with that new constraint. So when I was asked to make a playlist poem for Book Week Scotland 2021, I couldn’t do it there. But I could make a mix CD, even if I couldn’t burn it for you. Here it is. It reflects as much about who I am now as a mix I made from ripped Audiogalaxy tracks 20 years ago.

The constraints I gave myself to write this poem are that all the tracks be available on Bandcamp (where I mostly listen to music now), that they all begin with “I”, that they form a narrative, and that they would fit on an imaginary CD-R. There’s an additional fifth constraint. All constraints have been broken at least once.

I don’t own the rights to any of these tracks; I just made a mix. The links below stream from Bandcamp, where you can buy the music direct from artists and download it and make your own mixes.


Josie x

Things I Made in 2020


Jan 22. Passed my viva & became a Doctor of Poems. Thesis embargoed but you can request it here or in DM: https://dspace.stir.ac.uk/handle/1893/31226

Feb 12-16. Volunteered at Something Has to Happen, a festival by the Workers Theatre (a co-op I’m a founding Director of). Didn’t know at the time this would be the last live performance I’d see this year. https://workerstheatre.wordpress.com/something-has-to…/

Mar 22. Published “I Woke Up and the Arts was Gone”, on the sudden, appalling effect of the pandemic on my sector. I’m scared to reread it now, seeing how much and how little has shifted. https://harryjosephine.com/…/i-woke-up-and-the-arts…/

Apr 10. Released Guddle, an album of my collected poetry audio from the last decade. It’s strange listening back to this at a time when I’m working on my voice, but I’m still proud of the long work. https://harryjosiegiles.bandcamp.com/album/guddle

May 16. Gave a talk at Glasgow Zine Fest, “A Disobedient History of the Trans Novel”. I’m still working on getting the audio/video online, but you can see the slides here or DM me for access. https://drive.google.com/…/16H23sEkOpq9ejxJ8bboy5W…/view

May 22. Produced “Leaves from the Bone Library”, a restrospective of Anatomy, the performance cabaret I founded that’s approaching a decade old! Anatomy is mothballed for the pandemic, which is one of many griefs right now. https://anatomyarts.co.uk/…/leaves-from-the-bone…/

Jun 3. Published “Them!”, a long poem, in Cambridge Literary Review 12. Part of a project of writing more personally and directly about my life and transition, and this is a poem about how impossible that is. https://cambridgeliteraryreview.wordpress.com/…/read…/

Jun 11. Made a video of my poem “Some Definitions” for Queer Zine Library’s Behind the Zines series. My personal writing seems to come out as prose-poems? I don’t know if that’s the content, or just a reaction to spending last year heavy in lineated lyric. https://www.queerzinelibrary.com/…/behind-the-zines…

Jun 16. I appeared on the Allusionist podcast, discussing my work on an LGBT+ Scots lexicon. Helen is a lovely and smart interviewer and I was really delighted to be on a favourite podcast and find new audiences that way too. https://www.theallusionist.org/transcripts/manywaysatonce

Jun 24. I released a new zine, “Scenes”, with my own Easter Road Press. It’s a memoir zine about being autistic and struggling to be friends. https://easterroadpress.wordpress.com/portfolio/scenes/

Jul 14. Released “The Storyteller”, a game/workshop/story about neurodiversity and telling stories for RCS. http://www.rcs.ac.uk/the-storyteller/

Jul 16. Made “Autodîneur” with Food Play Food, a generative instructional poem about playing with food. Written collaboratively entirely in lockdown (we had one in person meeting just as it was about to come in), working to bring joy into routine. https://foodplayfood.com/portfolio/autodine/

Jul 17. Wrote “In the Neighbourhood of Trans Care” for theFeminist Library zine. This is an essay about trans mutual aid before and during the pandemic, written at the height of hopefulness. Nearly a year in now, I have so much more to say! https://www.flipsnack.com/…/the-feminist-library-care…

August: I joined Die Gute Fabrik, a Copenhagen-based games studio, to work on a secret project. This has been a big shift in my life, but one I’m delighted by and learning as huge amount from. The team is a joy to work with. http://www.gutefabrik.com/new-website-new-team/

Sep 2. I spoke on “Abolition in the UK”, a panel for Decriminalised Futures. Among much struggle and suffering and after much work, this year is seeing a surge in UK-specific abolitionist organising, and that’s a great thing to see. The video is online here: https://decriminalisedfutures.org/abolition-in-the-uk…/

Sep 10. Published ten “Abolish the Police” poems in Neu Reekie’s #UntitledThree. https://www.neureekie.scot/shop/untitlethree

Sep 28. I wrote “The Many Languages of Transfeminism” for Engender, a short primer on transfeminist history. Among so much else, it’s frustrating to me how little wider understanding of transfeminism there is, & I want to be aprt of changing that. https://www.engender.org.uk/…/f-words-the-many…/

Oct 6. I wrote “Janice” and published it with Hoax. The other focus of my poetry right now is processing the political crisis in which UK trans people are stuck. It’s so emotionally bombazing, poetry’s all I have for it now. https://www.hoaxpublication.co.uk/…/harry-josephine…

Oct 8. I launched “Not Going Back to Normal”, co-curated with Sasha Saben Callaghan, a collectively-written disability arts manifesto gallery. It’s a privilege to bring this work into the world, and it’s had reach beyond all my expectations. Thank you. https://www.notgoingbacktonormal.com/

Oct 22. My Lyceum Letters contribution was read by Emma Frankland for the Lyceum Theatre podcast. This letter combined my thinking in “In the Neighbourhood of Trans Care” & “I Woke Up and the Arts was Gone”, thinking on what mutual aid can teach the arts. https://shows.acast.com/…/emma-frankland-reads-harry…

Nov 1. Made a poetry video for James Yorkston’s Tae Sup, a lovely lockdown ceilidh providing some joys in the lengthening nights. https://vimeo.com/473201211

Nov 3. Performed a poem for the Big Scottish Book Club on BBC Scotland. My first television appearance! It was exhausting! And exciting! And strange! And I was very glad to do it. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000nz0h

Nov 22. Wrote “Why I’m Giving Up Political Art” for Chump Change, a zine curated by Aislinn Evans for LADA. A much angrier and bleaker perspective than my writing on arts funding in March. Download for free: https://www.thisisunbound.co.uk/…/products/chump-change

Nov 24. Published ten “Abolish the Police” poems in “We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics”. https://nightboat.org/book/we-want-it-all/

Nov. Co-author on “Sex and Gender Equality Law and Policy”, an academic article on trans rights in law: https://euppublishing.com/doi/abs/10.3366/scot.2020.0347 It has, hilariously, made me one of the most-downloaded debut academics on SSRN. Here’s A blog about the limits of the process: https://harryjosiegiles.medium.com/menacing-ignorance…

Dec 15. Performed a new poem, “Hello ladies,” for Push the Boat Out. Hello new voice! I don’t know how I feel about you yet. I’m working to make you stronger and more flexible and I’m enjoying the scary and difficult learning. https://pushtheboatout.org/harry-josephine-giles

Dec 22. Published “The Reasonable People” for myself and in my own way. There’s a lot that I’m hurting about this year, and which poetry is the only tool I have to speak about. I wish for better. https://harryjosiegiles.bandcamp.com/…/the-reasonable…

Dec 23. Appeared on the Traverse Theatre podcast chatting about art and politics in the pandemic: https://www.traverse.co.uk/…/episode-9-harry-josephine…

Dec 28. Published three “Abolish the Police” poems in the Verse Playlist. https://verse.press/playlist/we-want-it-all-4891449212222639820#2-abolish-the-police-3902712120815866998

What I Read in 2020


I think often about the 30 years of my life and all of the books I’ve read and didn’t keep noted about. Books are memories; they carry the place they were read, the things that happened during the reading. It’s partly just my compulsive list-making and need for everything to be organised, but I do have a real grief for all the memories that might slip away. I make these lists to help me remember things; I’d like to look back on in 20 years and remember where I read these books.

This has been a hard year for reading, the year of my adult life when my reading has been most disrupted. My concentration was shot a lot of the time; I often couldn’t read what I wanted to, and when I did I wasn’t taking it in as well. I read more slowly and more often for comfort. But books are still there as what keeps me in the world. Here’s what I read:


Dorothy Allison, Trash
Charlie Jane Anders, Choir Boy
Charlie Jane Anders, Six Months Three Days Five Others
Claire Askew, What You Pay For
Claire Askew, Cover Your Tracks
Djuna Barnes, Ladies Almanack
Jamie Berrout, Portland Diary
Rose Black, The Unforgetting
Lynn Breedlove, Godspeed
Kacen Callender, Queen of the Conquered
Kacen Callender, Felix Ever After
Becky Chambers, To Be Taught If Fortunate
Zen Cho, The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water
Nino Cipri, Finna
Sara Collins, The Confessions of Frannie Langton
Davey Davis, the earthquake room
Mason Deaver, I Wish You All The Best
Samuel R. Delany, Nova
Dorothy Dunnett, King Hereafter
Beth Elliott, Don’t Call it “Virtual”
Akwaeke Emezi, The Death of Vivek Oji
Akwaeke Emezi, Freshwater
Bernardine Evaristo, Girl, Woman, Other
Orion J. Facey, The Virosexuals
Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, The Faceless Old Woman who Secretly Lives in Your Home
Sarah Gailey, Magic for Liars
Sarah Gailey, Upright Women Wanted
Sarah Gailey, When We Were Magic
Niven Govinden, This Brutal House
Larissa Glasser, F4
Isabel Greenberg, Glass Town
Kirstin Innes, Scabby Queen
Julian K Jarboe, Everyone on the Moon is Essential Personnel
The Very Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan
Lydia Kwa, Oracle Bone
Yoon Ha Lee, Raven Strategem and Revenant Gun
Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook
Sassafras Lowrey, Roving Pack
Bones McKay, Honey Walls
Naomi Mitchison, Travel Light
Electra Mordinson, Impossible Year
Sybil Lamb, The girl who was convinced beyond all reason that she could fly
Annalee Newitz, The Future of Another Timeline
Jeanette Ng, Under the Pendulum Sun
Never Angeline Nørth, Sea-Witch
Nnedi Okorafor, Binti 1-3
Torrey Peters, The Masker
Torrey Peters, Detransition, Baby
Rachel Pollack, Burning Sky
Rory Power, Wilder Girls
Katy Michelle Quinn, Winnie
Shola von Reinhold, Lote
Renée, The Wild Card
Tanya Jane Richards, Tranz-mania
Hal Schrieve, Out of Salem
Sarah Schulman, Rat Bohemia
Julia Serano, 99 Erics
Vivek Shraya, The Subtweet
Rivers Solomon, The Deep
Bishakh Som, Apsara Engine
Gabby Squailia, Viscera
John Elizabeth Stintzi, Vanishing Monuments
Jeanne Thornton, The Black Emerald
Miriam Toews, A Boy of Good Breeding
Olga Tokarczuk, Flights
Catherynne M Valente, Space Opera
Nghi Vo, The Empress of Salt and Fortune
Isabel Waidner, We Are Made of Diamond Stuff
Tillie Walden, On a Sunbeam
Alex Zandra, Five light novels


Andrea Abi-Karam & Kay Gabriel (eds), We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics
Juana Adcock, Split
Dean Atta, The Black Flamingo
Tusiata Avia, Bloodclot
Cameron Awkward-Rich, Dispatch
Pere Ballart (ed), Anna Crowe (tr), Six Catalan Poets
Henry Bell, The Last Lochan
Chase Berggrun, Red
Kimberley Campanello, MOTHERBABYHOME
Mark Z Danielewski, Only Revolutions
jayy dodd, The Black Condition ft. Narcisuss
Elaine Gallagher, Transient Light
Ezra Horbury and Xine Yao (eds), Transcribed
Kama La Mackerel, Zom-Fam
Katy Lewis Hood, Parasiting
Cecily Nicholson, Wayside Sang
Xandria Phillips, Hull
Kevin Williamson & Michael Pedersen (eds), #UntitledThree
Trish Salah, Wanting in Arabic & poems
Ann Scott Moncrieff, Poems
Sarah Shin & Rebecca Tamás (eds), Spells
Margaret Tait, Poems, Stories and Writings
Agnes Torok, All the Days We Don’t Revolt
Yanyi, The Year of Blue Water


Aren Z Aizura, Mobile Subjects
Helen Armitage, Lady of the Loch
Hanna Baer, Trans Girl Suicide Museum
Lydia X.Z. Brown, E. Ashkenazy, Morénike Giwa Onaiwu (eds): All the Weight of Our Dreams
The Care Collective, The Care Manifesto
Beth Elliott, Mirrors
Roxane Gay, Hunger
Jules Gill-Peterson, Histories of the Transgender Child
Sabrina Imbler, Dyke (geology)
E. Patrick Johnson (ed): No Tea, No Shade
James Kelman, Some Recent Attacks
Daniel Lavery, Something That May Shock and Discredit You
Kiese Laymon, Heavy
Elisha Lim, 100 Crushes
Carmen Maria Machado, In the Dream House
Suzana Milevska (ed), On Productive Shame, Reconciliation and Agency
Naomi Mitchison, Mucking Around
Naomi Mitchison, As It Was
Kate More and Stephen Whittle (eds), Reclaiming Genders
Jenny Mure, Sometimes I’m a Possum & So I’m Still a Possum
Lindsay Nixon, nîtisânak
Lama Rod Owens, Love and Rage
Abi Palmer, Sanatorium
Ruth Pearce, Sonja Erikainen & Ben Vincent (eds), TERF Wars
Paul B Preciado, An Apartment on Uranus
Emma Renault, Lullaby of Birdland
Juno Roche, Trans Power
Vivek Shraya, I’m Afraid of Men
Dean Spade, Mutual Aid
Alice Tarbuck, A Spell in the Wild
Kai Cheng Thom, I Hope We Choose Love
Isabella Tree, Wilding
McKenzie Wark, Reverse Cowgirl

Pamphlets, Zines, Periodicals


Andrea Abi-Karam, The Aftermath
Freddy Anderson, Let Us Act for Ourselves
Nehaal Bajwa, Just Not 21.01.2020
Bryony Bates, States
Isobel Bess and Amy Marvin, Braided Channel
Isobell Bess, anyway i saw a light there
Cambridge Literary Review 12
Ceremony 1
Code Art 0
Helen Charman, Revisiting Femme Maison 1946-1947
Ken Cockburn, Woodland Orienteering
Sarah Dawson, expecting a different result
Helen Douglas, Interval
Helen Douglas, Loch
Earthbound Poetry Series 12, 23
Earthlings, a fanzine for soil
Kit Fryatt, turn push | turn pull
Kay Gabriel, Elegy Department Spring (Candy Sonnets 1)
Callie Gardner, please fall in love and leave me alone
Charlotte Geater, Her Two-Handed Mirror
Gutter 21-22
Ava Hoffman, The Woman Factory
Julie Johnstone, A Precipitation of Punctuation
Phoebe Kitcher, Weird half poems I wrote on my phone
Harry Lindsey, The Unintended Riot Grrrl
The Lindstrom Effect, Block
Kyle Lovell, Each Sharper Complication
Tamar MacLellan and Philippa Wood, Recorded/Recovered
Magma 72
Modern Poetry in Translation 2019:3 – 2020:2
Nicky Melville, Operational
Natasha Natarajan, The Girl Who Cried Love
Paperwork 3: iilwimi lipsing
Alycia Pirmohamed, Faces that Fled the Wind
Poetry London 95-96
Poetry Magazine, Nov-Apr
Poetry Wales Winter 2019 – Winter 2020
Radical Trans Poetry 2
Padraig Regan, Who Seemed Alive and Altogether Real
River Furnace 1-3
Lenni Sanders, Poacher
Venus Di’Khadijah Selenite, Sketches of Various Times
Senna Hoy 1-4
Sew Irregular #2
Sporazine 1
Stand 17(4)
Sweet Mammalian 6
Sync^2, 35-50
Territories: writing from Innu Assi, Québec and Scotland
Lizzy Turner, Home Practice
Joan Ure, The Tiny Talent
Laurel Uziell, T
Catherine Vidler, Chaingrass
We Have Never Asked Permission to Sing
Philippa Wood, There is Still No Time
Zarf 14


Araña, Ocotillo
Gray Crosbie, Love Pan-Fried
Porpentine Charity Heartscape, Aging Out
Porpentine Charity Heartscape, Armory
Lex and with Shani Kartané, Monster
Maz Murray, Laindon 2 & 3
Alice Stoehr, Sissy Bitches
Ana Valens, Bell


Academics Against Networking #2
Anon, I saw death at the bottom of White Hill Road
Max Alexander, A Playful Manifesto
Ren Aldridge, Cut & Stitch
Ren Aldridge (ed), Beyond the Ballot Box
Asylum, Winter 2019 – Winter 2020
The Author, Winter 2019 – Winter 2020
Emma Frankland (ed), Extraordinary Acts
EUFS, Speak 1/2012
The Fat Zine
Free-Winged Eagle 1-4
Gendertrash 1-4
Girls Like Us 12
Invert Journal
Jamie, Dysphoria
Journal of Imaginary Research 3
Lex, Stimming
Lex, ~~~~~~~
Maggie Jane, Zine Helper
Maggie Jane, Screaming into the Void,
Maggie Jane, Self Care Cloud,
Maggie Jane, Selfish & Lonely #4
Never Felt Better, Dal Makhani
Phoebe Kitcher, Art
Phoebe Kitcher, Spoonie
Phoebe Kitcher, Queer Bellies #1,
Phoebe Kitcher, Bookbinder’s Romance
Phoebe Kitcher, WTF is Self-Care,
Phoebe Kitcher, Tony,
Phoebe Kitcher, Stresstive
Ellen MacAskill, Slow Down 1-2
Yarrow Magdalena, Being a Witch
Yarrow Magdalena, The magic of what is available
Yarrow Magdalena, 27 things I learned on the Fife coastal path
Yarrow Magdalena, Relating to Shadows
Yarrow Magdalena, How We Love Each Other
Jade Mars, Womb of Doom
Linden K McMahon, Lughnasadh
MsMimbles, Too Pure to be Pink
Carta Monir, Napkin
Simon/Mona, Different Times
Claire O’Brien, Rhubarb,
Claire O’Brien, Much Ado About Pudding
Eddie Pile, Dressed for Disaster
Sam Sam, Rizzo Boring and Cece, Butch
Laura Saunders, Fuck Bath Bombs
Sectioned: Locked up in Lockdown
Tartan Skirt 1
Tim Tum: A Trans Jew Zine
Trans Action
TransSisters 1-4

Comics and Art

Anon, Swell
Max Airborne, Fat Farm
Liberty Antonia Sadler, Kinky Queerdos
Kerry Douglas, Drawings of My Favourite Games
Frankie Fagerty, Diversity of Women Flip Book
Rachel Ford, Tarot of Famous Witches
Emma Grieve, Sertraline Dreams
Joanna Helfer and Dabura Muhammad, she moves she
Joanna Helfer, forego forebear forget forgive
Andrea Lhotska, Butch 1 & 2
Erika Price, Disorder 1/3
Erika Price, This Dread Disease We Call Skin
Cj Reay, Fucking
Cj Reay, Teeth Become Weapons
Jiaqi Shao, A Dragonfly Man
Leo Valenti, Trans Masc Heroes
Maria White, Two Leaves
Lynda Wilson, Five Lost Gloves
Michael Wynne, Luke (Madrid)
He Zhu, Balloon