Get lit with some of our favourite queer poets during lockdown
BY SOPHIE GRIFFITHS, IMAGE VIA ISTOCK
Since so many of us have bags of time on our hands right now, it’s the perfect time to brush up on your LGBTQI literature.
Here’s nine queer poets to make you cry, laugh and think about anything but the global pandemic unfolding around us. Happy reading!
Sappho was an ancient Greek poet who wrote lyrical poetry famous for its intense passion and description of love towards women. She is the mother of all lesbian poets so a great place to start your lez/bi reading. Although, aside from two complete poems, only fragments of Sappho’s work have survived.
Being born on the Isle of Lesbos she is also referred to as the first Lesbian poet. Little is known of her actual life, though she was born around 620BC, and died approximately 50 years later.
A lesbian and feminist pioneer, Adrienne Rich’s poetry has cemented itself as canon in American literature. Her collections, such as A Change of World and Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law: Poems 1954-1962, explore identity and have been praised critically worldwide.
Carol Ann Duffy
Carol Ann Duffy is the first woman, first Scot, and first openly queer Poet Laureate in the UK. Her poems are a combination of tenderness and toughness, dealing with politics, love and tragedy, amongst many poems written about her lady lovers.
It’s fair to say that Jackie Kay MBE is as close to royalty as they come within the LGBTQI literature world (she’s also Carol Ann Duffy’s former partner).
She has served as Scots Makar, the National Poet for Scotland, since 2016 and is a Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University, imparting her wisdom on lucky poets of the future. Her work draws on her unconventional upbringing, sexuality and living as a queer person of colour in Scotland.
Poetry is just one of Kate Tempest’s many talents. Born in South-East London where she still lives, Kate made her live debut as a spoken-word artist at just sixteen years old.
Having initially starting out as a rapper, Kate found her work was also extremely popular at poetry slams; she now comfortably straddles the divide between both poetry and music and gives spellbinding performances for both worldwide.
Lisa Luxx is a writer and performer who writes for freedom, healing and mobilisation. Her poetry and essays have been published internationally, and her work has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and ITV.
A seasoned performer, she has performed at a range of venues, from festivals to the Royal Albert Hall. Lisa’s writing is powerful, beautiful and insightful and tackles sexuality and identity.
A modern legend in the world of queer literature. Known for such classics as Chelsea Girls and Cool For You, Eileen has published over 20 books of poetry, prose and plays. Their wide range of work grapples with lesbianism and trans identities. If you’re a fan of experimental poetry, you’re sure to love Eileen’s work.
Verity Spott is a poet and musician based in Brighton. They use experimental poetry to include trans subjects and identities within their work.
First appearing on Verity blog, the content of their book Prayers, Manifestos, Bravery ranges from concrete poetry to long-form dispatches, confessions, and manifestos touching on questions of identity, gender, justice, and society.
Orion Carloto is a writer, poet, and influencer born and raised in a small town in Georgia. Popularly known on YouTube, Orion seeks to create a visual dream world for the lovers, the dreamers, and the brokenhearted.
Growing up with her nose in a book and in her very own imagination, it came to no surprise that she would write a book of her very own one day.
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