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"The poems in Jody Helfand’s collection are brave and transforming on multiple levels. The tension from an inexplicable need in childhood and adolescence, finally released through the courageous affirmation of a transgender change, is exquisitely rendered. Places Male and Female is a bold and brave self-exploration into the realms of suffering caused by an overwhelming desire to be natural, to be open to one’s true sexual self in the face of a world full of curiosity and prejudice toward what is different."
—Juliet S. Kono, author of Hilo Rains and Tsunami Years
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What does it mean to feel like a man who is trapped inside the body of a woman? The poems in Places Male And Female answer this question by taking the reader on a journey through the author's childhood, where feelings of misplaced identity first surface, and then by taking the reader down the path of self-discovery during teen and adult years, where the ultimate decision is made to transition from one perceived gender to the other essential gender, that defines the author's true spirit; the emergence of "A new body, but first the female body, torn down." The intimate po- ems in this collection are a result of ten years of reflection on the process of taking hormones, having surgery, and readjusting to the world as a man who was socialized as a woman, who realizes that "Female places have become like old ghost towns, once teeming with life, now abandoned."