Fancy a dip into the world of queer poetry but not sure where to start? We’ve got your back.
BY MOLLY MOSS
Wordy folk, ASSEMBLE… 📚
Here’s our go-to list of inspiring queers under the influence of beats (that you should definitely check out right now).
LEAH LAKSHMI PIEPZNA-SAMARASINHA
Based in Oakland, Piepzna-Samarasinha is a queer, disabled, nonbinary femme writer, educator and hellraiser with several poetry collections already under their belt.
Aside from being a killer poet, they are a social activist and just as likely to be found at a protest as they are slinging beats on stage.
Their collection Love Cake is unmissable, if not just for the title — both a desert and name of a dessert from the poet’s father’s ancestral land, Sri Lanka. A narrative of queer survival, it looks at how we can resist violence through love and desire. So beautiful it’ll break your heart.
From Love Cake:
last night it was a steady cold
rain. and I so wanted to take all
my clothes off and lie on the
roof with the rain beating down
on my hurt.
Broumas’ poetry attempts to create a lesbian language fit for the experiences of women, and she looks to Greek myths and Sappho to seek it out.
If you haven’t heard of her, you need to check out her lesbian version of Little Red Riding Hood — a must-read for an amazing mashup of wolves, forests and lesbians. What more could you want?
Duffy is the first woman, first Scot, and first openly gay Poet Laureate in the UK. Her poems are a combination of tenderness and toughness, dealing with politics, love and tragedy, among other things.
From her public poem written in the aftermath of the Orlando shootings:
The actress is gay,
spotlight in the smash-hit play;
the butcher, the baker, the candlestick-maker,
our children, are gay.
And God is gay.
Spott is a poet and musician based in Brighton. They use experimental poetry — with its split symbols and images that can’t be salvaged— to refuse the language that excludes and oppresses trans subjects.
They take poetry that step further, using it as something urgent and necessary, and as a tool of survival.
From Trans* Manifestos:
You should be allowed to tear out its sides, the sides of the law, the walls of the language, the surface of liquid. If you want to change you gender, you can.
Eileen Myles. Photo by Peggy O’Brien.
A post-punk queer hero forming their own experimental poetry, Myles writes to grapple with lesbianism and trans identities. They have published over 20 books of poetry, prose and plays — and you should 100% check them out.
Their poetry nurtures a bold and unrestrained dyke love that stands apart from the cis-male gaze.
From An American Poem:
I became a lesbian.
Every woman in my
family looks like
a dyke but it’s really
stepping off the flag
when you become one.
Have you got a favourite queer poet? Let us know about them in the comments section below… 📚
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