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by tess duncan

  • blood pleasure is a story about self-destruction. here we are confronted with things we may not want to see, truths we may not want to hear. here is where our light and shadows meet, where we are asked to hold both at once. here is a reckoning with our relationship to pain. a study in wounding, healing, and what comes after.

    ~size: 5.5” x 8.5”
    ~length: 30 pages
    ~binding: 3 binder rings
    ~front and back cover: red translucent vellum
    ~contents: poems printed on newsprint paper, interlaced with images printed on sheets of translucent vellum
    ships out within 14 days
    edition of 40 

      $20 USD or more 


  • late bloomer is an all-over crop top tee featuring a photo taken in brooklyn, new york. inner fabric is hand-stamped in black ink with a special collaborative logo designed for the artist and quiet year by brooklyn artist and illustrator jenny scales. very limited run, only 21 made. available in extra small to triple extra large.

    95% polyester 5% elastane
    ships out within 14 days
    edition of 21  8 remaining

      $40 USD or more 


  • bringing together tess duncan's new photo/poetry book "blood pleasure" and photo crop top tee "late bloomer" in a limited bundle set.
    ships out within 14 days
    6 remaining

      $55 USD or more 



50% of proceeds from these items go to callen-lorde, a community health center dedicated to providing comprehensive care to LGBTQ new yorkers, regardless of ability to pay. in addition to primary medical care, callen-lorde offers a range of services including (but not limited to): hormone therapy, trans-affirmative gynecological care, STI screenings, HIV testing and counseling, coordination of gender confirming surgery, mental health counseling and psychiatric services, and more.


as humans, we recall painful memories better than positive ones. this is a means of self-preservation. remembering the pain enhances our chances of survival if we encounter that situation again. we also try to fight this instinct. we are taught to ignore, hide, or cover up negative experiences. if we aren’t dwelling on the memory, we’re trying to repress it. writing offers me an alternate path. one where i face the pain, work through it. where i glean its value and strip it of its power over me.

excluding negative experiences, i have a terrible memory. photos help with that. they also allow me to share the things that i believe deserve our attention. some of these scenes are more conventional than others. there are nice views from the top, moments of joy or intimacy shared between friends, mundane surfaces transformed when the light hits it just right. but i think that even these more obvious, “photo-worthy” subjects often go underappreciated, at a time when most of us are overstimulated, overworked, overloaded with information.

then there are less obvious images. broken eggs on the sidewalk or muddy rose petals on the train station floor. i find myself drawn to these small, innocuous scenes. there’s something melancholy and forgotten-feeling about them. i like to think that by documenting them, i can invite the viewer to look twice. to notice the beauty that lives on the periphery. to not keep walking by.

—tess duncan (she/her)


released July 29, 2021

words, photos, layout, production: tess duncan
poetry editor: mary kinney
friend: mateo ruiz gonzález
logo designer & model: jenny scales
publisher: quiet year



tess duncan Brooklyn, New York

i take photos to catalog things i don’t want to forget.

i write to process the things i can’t forget.

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