In The Field: Conversations With Our Contributors—luna rey hall

by May 14, 2024

Your poem, “wearing a dress for the first time,” is rich with tension. The first phrase, “do you want me to be honest?” carries so much emotional weight. What prompted you to start with this question?

i think that honesty is an inherent part of the trans and/or gender nonconforming experience—not only asking honesty of people in my life but of myself as well. that line acts as an opening into me being honest with my experience. the uncomfortable nature of the experience and not being afraid to talk about that with people that love me. obviously, it also works for the narrative and introduces the mother figure as this voice of uncertainty and confusion, that eventually becomes the throughline for the entire poem. the most interesting aspect of the trans experience to me has been how it affects and shapes the people around you and ultimately, this poem is one moment in that story. 

As I read this piece, I equated the spacing you use in this piece to difficult pauses. While it’s a friction-filled scene, the language flows beautifully across the page. What was your creation process like for this poem? Did the spacing come later or when you were writing? What was the revision process like for this piece?

space and spacing are always in the front of my mind when i write pieces. i learned early on in my writing career to allow the white space to be as important as the words and because of that a lot of my writing is shaped by those pauses, the little moments of brevity in often hard truths or dense imagery. 

i look back on the creation process, and really the revision process too, for this poem in particular as something i could replicate in more poems as it didn’t change much from the original free write to the finished version that appeared in print. the content and structure remained the same, the key differences were line breaks, small details, etc.

I heard you read this piece at the Water~Stone reading in November, where you said this poem was based on an actual day. How did you decide to put this moment into poetry instead of nonfiction prose?

at this point, my brain simply functions best in poetic lines. prose, in all its infinite forms, is scary—i say as i’m working on a novel.

What themes do you find that you keep returning to in your writing? What are new themes you want to explore?

right now, it’s extinction(s) that i keep returning to and continue to explore in possible future books. i’m very much an obsessive person by nature, for better or for worse, and i do tend to get stuck on a subject for years. for a lot of my writing it’s finding the intersections of my obsessions, whether that be gun violence in America, masculinity, queerness, mental health, the body, transness, grief, family, isolation, AI, or any number of true horrors that permeate the human experience.  

What are you writing now?

i’m always juggling several different projects at the same time—right now, i’m finishing up my next novella (the bizarre disappearance of bella riley) that comes out next year, working with a publisher on a chapbook about 

transness and loss, starting the early stages of revision for a novel, and then putting together the next full-length collection.


luna rey hall is a queer trans nonbinary writer. they are the author of four books, including the patient routine (Brigids Gate Press, 2023). their poems have appeared in The Florida Review, The Rumpus, and Raleigh Review, among others. they live in St. Paul, Minnesota.


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