is a satric response to the so-called "gay gene" that made
headlines in 1993. Noting that no genetic marker for "lesbianism"
has been found, the poem quickly becomes ensnared in footnotes. Mock-inquiries
into the biology of lesbianism in the vocabulary of genetics and linguistics
result in a hybrid world where the category of "woman" is
a "dense, fibrous tissue." More concerned with codes of
conduct than with genetic codes, Xq28 does not take sides on
the nature/nurture question as much as it plays around in the ideological
context of the debate.
Jennifer Martenson's poems have appeared in Re: Chapbook 4, HOW2
and Insurance. She lives in Chicago. Xq28 is her first
Martenson appropriates the
authoritative diction and discourse of science, and makes it boomerang
back on itself.... [It] provides a deadpan mask for her ambition, behind
which she exercises a talent for almost subliminal nuances of rhetoric.
The loop-the-loop of qualifications, piled-high clauses, and parenthetical
statements complicates arguments until they're hanged by their own cockeyed
logics.... She stitches in seamless slips of language aimed at exposing
the cultural fallacies and sexist assumptions inherent in the cross-fire
environment of the so-called gay gene (a chromosomal region designated
Xq28).... There's nothing artificial or superficial about her
own deeply investigatory impulses. She bonds description to rhizomic
narrative in an admirable sort of 'molecular origami.'
--Christine Hume, Chicago Review