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Mask for Mask

A debut full-length poetry collection.
Publication Date: April 6, 2021
Publisher: New Rivers Press (Minnesota State University Moorhead)
ISBN: 978-0-89823-403-9
Pages: 93 pages
Press Kit: PDF Download
Teaching Guide: PDF Download

Book Description

JD Scott conjures up unruly personae that are propelled by queer fantasies, youthful regrets, incantations, and apocryphal parables. Mask for Mask is a kaleidoscopic poetry collection, one that is both formally innovative and an imaginative descent into LGBTQ+ undergrounds and underworlds.

Advanced Praise for Mask for Mask

The fact that JD Scott writes about jjimjjimbangs (Korean saunas) should be enough for me to love this collection but it’s also the fact their poetry is exuberant and scintillating. It’s a magpie’s nest of verbal delights plucked from the late capitalist rituals of wellness, queer kitsch, and text-speak. This book is the queered language of artifice that points at artifice. In a world that buffs our bodies down to whetstones of sameness, Mask for Mask celebrates excess, and I’m all for it.

—Cathy Park Hong, author of Minor Feelings

JD Scott’s queer-divine poems are both exorbitant and restrained, a decoction of 19th century urges regaled in the “lace and stain” of diction, harnessed in stanzas, belted into the Escalade of lyric and driven through a 21-st century synthscape of emporia and empyreans. The result is an ensorcelling surface riven with a deeper moire, to wit: what is the “cytoplasm that keeps this car crash together”? Could it be youth, desire, or something altogether rarer, like tenderness, or care?

—Joyelle McSweeney, author of Toxicon and Arachne

Melding the profane with the sacred, the mundane with the mythic, JD Scott’s work shines poetry’s searchlight into the nightclub toilets of youthful debauchery to reveal transcendent cathedrals of timeless yearning. Tender as it is bold, spiritual, and erotic, this collection was “sucked into my lungs [so] that every exhale after will be called offering.”

—Heidi Lynn Staples, author of A**A*A*A

Review Pullquotes

“When Scott embraces the complexity of their subject, the poems buzz with a frantic excitement that also charges their moments of felt beauty…Readers will find this a memorable and energetic debut.”

Publishers Weekly

“Ultimately, the poems themselves in Mask for Mask arise out of smoke. You reach to grasp something, and out comes a letter or a word, and out of that word is triggered a memory of some sort of self that had been tucked away that has been let out from behind the mask or the cage. … It is the fluency of expression, a dreamscape underwater, where Scott’s narrator swims and drowns, reminding us to “[u]se the mouth in the way that only you know how”—perhaps to breathe and live, to speak our truths or, simply, surviving another day to keep asking the questions that bring us closer to ourselves and one another.”

Michigan Quarterly Review

Press & Mentions


“Youngblood” — Originally published in Texas Review

I. Companion Mask
“Eros ↔ Thanatos” — Forthcoming in The Queer Movement Anthology of Literatures
“Equinox” — Originally published in Spoon River Poetry Review
“Meditations from the Public Bathhouse & All Its Many-Themed Rooms” — Originally published as “Spa Castle” in Tammy
“Garçon” — Originally published in Denver Quarterly
“Illusionary Silver Crystal” — Originally published in F(r)iction
“Night Errands” — Originally published as “11PM in Williamsburg” in Night Errands chapbook
“Red, or, a Shade Resembling Such a Color” — Originally published as “Red” in Funerals and Thrones chapbook
“As Concord the Hustlers Sing” — Originally published in Texas Review
“Ten of Swords” — Originally published in Funerals & Thrones chapbook
“King of Swords, Reversed” — Forthcoming in Bayou
“King of Cups” — Originally published in The Rookery + forthcoming in the 78 tarot-themed poetry anthology
“Gomorrah, or, a Recursion” — Originally published as “Days After” in LEVELER
“Tribulation” — Originally published on
“Variations on an Attachment to” — Originally published in RHINO
“Gany (Mead)”
“Judgment (XX)” — Originally published in Funerals & Thrones chapbook

II. Salvation Mask
“Cathedral” — Originally published in Obra/Artifact
“Edenic” — Originally published in SPECS Journal
“Goth Jams” — Originally published under the title “Goth Jams 2012” on the 30 x Lace Tumblr project for National Poetry Month 2013
“S★T★R★” — Originally published in The Atlas Review
“Equestria” — Originally published in Powder Keg
“D⚡︎Student” — Originally published in Tammy
“Milk Toast” — Originally published in Yes Femmes
“Cannibals in Love” — Originally published in Funerals & Thrones chapbook
“Middle V, or, a Diss-Hex to Ward Evil Ex-Boyfriends Away” — Originally published as “Middle V” in Small Po[r]tions
“Cantica” — Originally published in the Best American Experimental Writing 2015 anthology

III. Aftermask