Noises Again was written/collected over a five-year period, starting on the day following the Pulse Nightclub shooting. It is a poem in the form of a conceptual play, and collages text from newspaper articles detailing LGBT+ trauma, inserting this found material into the structure of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. The text ends with a sequence of erasure poems taken from The Complete Works of Shakespeare.
Noises Again was published by Osmosis Press in October 2022. It was edited, typeset, and designed by Briony Hughes. Copies are available from Osmosis Press.
Praise for Noises Again:
“JD Howse reframes heterosexual violence for those who cannot seem to understand its impact on the real live human bodies it often destroys daily. Romeo and Juliet, a story drenched with the intoxicants of first love and vengeance, is the template, Juliet saying, ‘So the poet offers an observance of a commonplace event, in the plainest diction, without verbal trickery.’ And so, blood colors get the full effect on the conscience; this is a terrifying genius at work!”
- CAConrad, author of
You Don't Have What It Takes To Be My Nemesis
“I thoroughly enjoyed Noises Again; though by ‘enjoyed’, I mean I was compelled and disturbed, as it’s rightly a deeply troubling read. There’s a strangeness and power in the play structure of the work; the ‘dialogue’ flattens out to intensify the horror of violence and aggression (micro and macro) in such a way that it’s intensely moving when Romeo and Juliet finally speak after the hole of their silence. The continuous stream of abuse, discrimination and violence allowed (shockingly) to become a ‘background’ in certain media and institutions (or even to people who come to accept its inevitability) is here brought forward to become the foreground, and the main drama playing out (shockingly in a different way!) under the spotlights.”
- Susie Campbell, author of The Sleeping Place
“Noises Again holds together scraps of stories, news articles, overlooked statistics & discriminatory representations in a collaged bombardment of persistent oppressions against LGBTQIA+ communities. It does not “get better” in this experimental reworking of Romeo and Juliet, where trans folks are murdered, gay couples assaulted and lesbians discriminated against. By rendering the romantic hero and heroine silent, Howse erases the standard heterosexual conflict from the text, instead asking us, relentlessly, to listen to the violence perpetuated against queers across the globe. But queers are also taken to task, Howse refusing to offer any hagiography gay subjects. After being offered observances of commonplace events ‘in plainest diction, without verbal trickery’, Howse ends with a poetic sequence creating ‘a song / From the ashes’ for ‘strain dying / sweet’ and ‘unspeakable comfort’. Noises Again is uncompromising and courageous, its impact coming from the refusal to turn away ‘from the nest of death’, and inviting us, along with Lady Capulet, to say ‘Enough of this’, not for want of silence, but in protest.”
- Declan Wiffen, Kent University