Seasonal Velocities


Lambda Literary Award Finalist!

Cover Artist: Jack Dandy/Chris Carraher
Layout/Book Design: A.J. Bryce
Published: April 2012
ISBN: 978-0-9851105-0-5
LOC: 2012932128
139 pgs. Paperback


Seasonal Velocities invites the reader on a fragile and furious journey along the highways and skyways of discovery, retribution, and resolve. Through her poetry, essays, stories, and performances, award-winning writer Ryka Aoki has consistently challenged, informed, and enthralled queer audiences across the United States.

Ryka Aoki appears in the recent trans documentaries “Diagnosing Difference” and “Riot Acts,” Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation (Seal Press), and the forthcoming Transfeminist Perspectives(Temple University Press). She has been honored by the California State Senate for her “extraordinary commitment to free speech and artistic expression, as well as the visibility and well-being of Transgender people.” She has worked with the American Association of Hiroshima-Nagasaki A-Bomb Survivors, and two of her compositions were adopted as its official “Songs of Peace.”Ryka was the inaugural performer for San Francisco’s first ever Transgender Stage at San Francisco Pride 2005, and has performed in venues including the San Francisco Pride Main Stage, the Columbus National Gay and Lesbian Theatre Festival, the National Queer Arts Festival, Ladyfest South, Atlanta Pride, UCLA’s OutCRY, Santa Cruz Pride, and Emory University’s Pride Week. Ryka was keynote speaker at UC Santa Barbara’s 2005 Pride Week, GenderFusions 2008 at Columbia College, UW Madison’s Trans Awareness Week 2009, the 2010 Transaction Week and UC Davis, and the 2010 QPOC Conference at UC Riverside.Ryka has as an MFA in Creative Writing from Cornell University and is the recipient of a University Award from the Academy of American Poets. Her chapbook, Sometimes Too Hot the Eye of Heaven Shines (RADAR Publications) won the 2010 Eli Coppola Chapbook Contest. She is a professor of English at Santa Monica College.

What People Are Saying about Seasonal Velocities…

an iconic book—a book of complicated histories and alliances, of being an outsider amongst outsiders, a book of the coming together of things seemingly separate that were once one.

– TT Jax, Lambda Literary

(read the full review here: The Fruits of Winter: Ryka Aoki’s ‘Seasonal Velocities’)

In the hands of Ryka Aoki, words can be everything – a tool, a fire, a gift, a weapon, a meal, a barricade, a refuge. I was tempted to ration this book, so I’d have some when I needed it, but found myself gulping it down and was so nourished by it the whole way along.
– S. Bear Bergman, The Nearest Exit May be Behind You, and Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation

Seasonal Velocities is a startling gem of a book. With her characteristic honesty and a powerful, fierce grace, Ryka Aoki carries us through fear in the dark, the half-lives of scars, home, and hope. As vivid and unflinching as it is lyrical, this poetry delivers and demands sparkling truth even as it speaks of violence, longing and love. Rather than aiming to transcend, Aoki invites us to make alliance with all the contradictions of being human, to grow stories, to listen, and to build community despite everything.

-A. Finn Enke, Director LGBT Studies, UW Madison

This is truly a collection for all seasons. Aoki’s essays, poems and stories vibrate with honesty and vulnerability, challenging readers to explore our own most wintry memories and springlike transitions.

-Cheryl Klein, Lilac Mines

Ryka Aoki’s subtle, poetic, and mature writing and performance caresses my soul while gut-punching my awareness of more important issues than I can list.

-Scott Turner Schofield, Two Truths and a Lie

Ryka lives in California, so to say her writing is earthshaking is an irresistible temptation, and an easy one to make. Her writing shows the work of the revolutionary with precision, attention to detail, and envelope-shredding perception. If you are the kind of reader who looks to be moved or for a new lens on your surroundings, congratulations!

You’ve found her.


-Karen Garrabrant, Slam Master, Co-Founder Cliterati

I highly recommend Seasonal Velocities. It is unpretentious, beautiful, and intimate. The experience was like getting to know a wonderful new friend.

-Elliott Renehan DeLine, Author of Refuse

(read the full review here: Seasonal Velocities – a review )

Ryka Aoki interview by Author Lee Wind

Ryka Aoki at Homo-Centric

Ryka Aoki at Homo-Centric – After the storm and before

Ryka Aoki at Models of Pride 20

Support local, indie, and collective bookstores! Purchase your copies of Seasonal Velocities by Ryka Aoki at any of these fine establishments:

Philadelphia, PA

Giovanni’s Room – With more than 7,000 titles on the shelves and a data base of more than 48,000 titles in our specialties, Giovanni’s Room stocks thousands more lesbian, gay, and Transgender books than the biggest superstore.

San Francisco, CA

Modern Times Bookstore Collective – As a progressive resource, we view it as our responsibility to maintain an in-depth collection on local, national, and world politics and economics, and to stay ahead of the curve on new social and cultural movements. We were the first bookstore in the city to feature a feminist section as well as a queer section.

Los Angeles, CA

Stories Books & Cafe – Stories Books and Cafe is Echo Park’s stalwart supplier of written works and organic/fair trade coffee and espresso. We carry both new and used books all chosen for their unique worth.