Approximating Diapason

or, How to Milk the Con & the In

j/j hastain & t thilleman


ISBN  978-1-881471-01-1         $42.00 US        346 pages

Struggling to find a mythos to convey our early twenty-first-century malaise, hastain and thilleman approximate a “diapason,” a “fixed standard of pitch,” a “compass of a voice.” But because existing notions about literature have led us in circles, the authors “leap into existences from a transcendent root-stem.”

     Dean Kostos in The Brooklyn Rail


In Approximating Diapason, hastain and Thilleman engage in an epic correspondence, creatively paralleling, intersecting, and intertwining their very distinct poetic vocabularies and intelligences.  What results is a collaborative treatise on the metaphysics of creativity, the physics of the compositional page, the philosophy and ethics of form, the ontology of ghosts and gods, and the future of the mythographic imagination.  But this is just scratching the surface.

     Michael Leong


j/j and TT make a correspondence in Emerson’s sense—the original green building, if you will—when two have the inside with the outside. They begin with the commercial (the outside, publishing industry’s inside), and the correspondence grows organically from there to include exchanges on the nature of sexuality (both inside and manifest on the social outside) and the relevance of the mythological in our postmodern living (tracing myth back to origins, inside ancient humans, but in the context of literature, which is outside us and socializing). I come away from reading their high-energy 300-plus pages with my clearest sense to date—and I have been wrestling with psychomachiatic truths for several years now—of what amounts to a statement for our generation on the significance of Poetry.

      Rich Blevins, author of Medieval Ohio


In approximating diapason poets j/j hastain and t thilleman have formed out of a conversation through letters a collaborative and deeply sensory account of their expeditions in life and poetry.  I don’t use expedition lightly, as hastain and thilleman like the shamans of old, transform themselves into their revelations as they speak.  Indeed, prophecy fills each page of this 21st century manifesto, a manifesto of poetics, but also of sexual elaboration and personal embroidery.

     Jeffrey Beam in Galatea Resurrects


How con(text)ual is body? When one’s perceivably clothed skeleton becomes the brain’s text, what is broken through? A word began as just letters pressed together. Then, the evolution of meaning, labeled speech and signification. Watch out for misinterpretation. Let go of restrictions and expectations. Thankfully, the entirety of this text forces the reader out of these borders.

    Aimee Hermann


Approximating Diapason is a going beyond, a pushing through, a penetration that has an oracular feel, although it is a dialogue between the poets t thilleman and j/j hastain, who discover and create in these pages a visionary poetics for our time.

      Stephanie Dickinson, author of Lust Series

j/j hastain lives in Colorado, USA with xir beloved. j/j is the author of numerous cross-genre works previously published and forthcoming (a few of which are): prurient anarchic omnibus (Spuyten Duyvil), long past the presence of common (Say it with Stones), a womb-shaped wormhole (BlazeVox), treOOA(with Eileen Tabios/ Marsh Hawk Press). j/j’s writing has appeared in numerous journals including Trickhouse, Vlak, Big Bridge, The Offending Adam, Dear Sir, Eccolinguistics, Housfire, EOAGH, Aufgabe, Queerocracy Art, Masculine Femininities, Caketrain, Plath Profiles, Bombay Gin. j/j is currently in the process of curating an Anthology of Queer Nudes (Knives Spoons and Forks Press, 2013) and has helped curate (and participated in) two major Trans anthologies. j/j is an Elective Affinities participant, a member of Dusie kollektiv, writes for Lit Pub and is a regular contributor to Sous Les Paves. j/j currently writes creative reviews for Big Other, Jacket2, Horse Less Press, PANK and Emprise Review. j/j’s work appeared in a Queer-focused show at the Leslie-Lohman Annex in New York. j/j’s books have been finalists in the Kelsey Street, Grey Book Press, Grace Notes Books, Switchback, Omnidawn, DIAGRAM and Ahsahta book and essay competitions.  j/j’s work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Publishers Triangle. j/j’s manuscript extant shamanisms won the Pavement Saw poetry award. j/j’s manuscript dear secondary umbilical, won second place in the Mad Hatter’s Wild and Wyrd Poetry Contest. In 2011 j/j’s book we in my Trans was nominated for the Stonewall Book Award and j/j’s book prurient anarchic omnibus was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award.




tt moved to New York from the Mid-Western State of Wisconsin in the early 80s. He is the author of numerous poetry collections, most recently Three Sea Monsters, Ononyxa & Therseyn and the novel Gowanus Canal, Hans Knudsen.