Jazzercise is a Language


Jazzercise is a Language

My second book, Jazzercise is a Language, is forthcoming in 2018 from The Operating System! Pre-order at a 1/3 discount here

Jazzercise is a Language is a long poem that wants to be a smiling, skinny white woman. Here are the leg warmers, head bands, sweat, chants, and two-steps of the 1980's dance aerobics craze, but decked with the baggage of race, pixelation, rituals, violence, and body horror. The women in a hardwood studio inside your TV are so neon it's blinding. But the voice of Judi Sheppard Missett, the muse of Jazzercise is a Language, will carry them along.


"The slinky style of Jazzercise founder Judi Sheppard Missett haunts this book of poems by Philadelphia-based wunderkind Gabriel Ojeda-Sague.  I had not thought I remembered Judi, but a few pages into the volume she returns to grip me again, her patented blend of syncopation, disco beat, showbiz honey with a drop of vinegar, sex appeal tease. She was commanding the whole world to work it. The demands of the social world on the body are Ojeda-Sague’s persistent theme: the shame and fear on which every exercise empire is built, the potential for subverting these tropes by paying attention to the once abjured vehicle of VCR Jazzercise tapes—its grain and pastel and stray pixels—the power and strength and endurance of being gay and of color in the middle of such a disco.  I had trouble imagining this book when he was describing it to me, but now that it’s in my hands, it reads as one of the absolute essentials of our moment in poetry."

-Kevin Killian

"Jazzercise Is a Language is rich with original music and a mysteriously evocative internal movement. It brings us closer to a future magic formed by the tropical energies some of us might keep in our interiors, even if that magic were initially only relatable through the presence of a rooster. Gabriel Ojeda-Sague's poems are 'song[s that] lie sweetly on the wound.' He shape-shifts his interior and exterior selves like the oceans do, and shows us not only that the universe is always speaking to us, but also that it is always speaking to itself in us. I am relieved and renewed as if from a good night of powerful and gentle dreams when I read his poems."

-Roberto Harrison


Pre-order at a 1/3 discount here