The author explores the thematics of transsexuality, untranslatability, and figuration in a recent volume of poetry by the Canadian poet and scholar Trish Salah, Lyric Sexology Vol. 1. Lyric Sexology confronts historical, aesthetic, and political questions that are best understood in the framework of translation and its failure. Drawing on Barbara Cassin's philosophical reflections on untranslatables, the author argues that gender as a representational system necessarily experiences trans configurations of gender as untranslatables, which it “never ceases (not) translating.” The author deploys Salah's collection of poems, which explores a number of historical discourses and sciences oriented around understanding transsexuality, to help think through some of the questions that the paradigm of untranslatability opens. This article argues that Lyric Sexology stages an analogy between linguistic and literary translations and historical attempts to categorize transsexuality, thus rendering transsexuality legible within normative gender categories. In this account, categorization is treated as a historical analogue of translation, the repetitions and failures of which can be understood as a response to transsexuality as an untranslatable. Through a reading of Salah's poems, the author develops an interpretation of categorization as dependent upon figuration to achieve its intended effect of translating its targets into, in Salah's words, one “of those things you have words for.” The author's interpretation of Lyric Sexology through the history it proposes thus helps her to develop a paradigm for understanding the functions of untranslatability and figuration in determining the past and present configurations of trans social relations.

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