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LGBTQ Poetry Print

Celebrate pride and explore the rich tradition of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer poets and poetry through a showcase of audio, video, poetry, and prose—resources as exciting and diverse as the communities they represent.
Gay & Lesbian Anthologies

Queer Poets & Love Poems
A list of gay and lesbian poets, along with a selection of queer love poems.
Great Anthology: Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time
Published in 1988, this anthology collects nearly one hundred varied and distinct gay and lesbian voices representing various cultural backgrounds including Asian American, Native American, Jewish, Hispanic, and African Americans.
Queer Video Archive

Mark Wunderlich discusses his first connections to poetry, his influences, and an early letter he received from the gay poet Mark Doty.

Kay Ryan, the first out lesbian U.S. Poet Laureate, reads a poem and describes an surprise experience that occurred while reading the funnies in bed with her partner, Carol.

Spotlight Audio

My Mother Would Be a Falconress Hear it!
by Robert Duncan
My mother would be a falconress, / And I, her gay falcon treading her wrist...

The Armadillo Hear it!
by Elizabeth Bishop
This is the time of year / when almost every night...

The Anactoria Poem Hear it!
by Sappho
Some say thronging cavalry, some say foot soldiers...

Lecture: Why Poetry Matters Now Hear it!
by Mark Doty
"When you're safe, fed, out of the weather, and loved, you can turn your attention to a more complex human need and desire to create..."

Joan (audio only) Hear it!
by Eileen Myles
Today, May 30th, Joan / of Arc was burned...

Living on Someone Else's Money (audio only) Hear it!
by Tom Healy
What it means is flowers always on the table...

A Poem about Intelligence for My Brothers and Sisters (audio only) Hear it!
by June Jordan
A few years back and they told me Black...

To a Maple (audio only) Hear it!
by Wayne Koestenbaum
Green leaves outside my window...

The Black Unicorn Hear it!
by Audre Lorde
The black unicorn is greedy...

Queer Love Letters

Letter to Peter Doyle
"Dear comrade, I think of you very often. My love for you is indestructible..."

Two Love Notes to Alice B. Toklas
"Dear dainty delicious darling, dear / sweet selected [enemifier?] of my soul..."

Online Resources

An encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer literature and culture

Lambda Literary
A resource for LGBT book awards, reviews, author interviews, opinion, and literary news

ONE Archives
An organization promoting the collection, preservation, documentation and understanding of LGBTQA history and culture

Featured Poets

May Swenson
Born into a large Mormon family, May Swenson moved to New York's Greenwich Village as a young woman. Her poems often employ sensual images and erotic language.

Frank O'Hara
A figure in both the literary and visual art worlds of the 1950s and 60s, O'Hara is associated with the New York School movement in poetry. His poems were impromptu lyrics, a jumble of witty talk, journalistic parodies, and pop culture references.

Dawn Lundy Martin
As well as being awarded numerous prizes for her poetry, Martin is also the co-founder of the Third Wave Foundation for social justice.

kari edwards
Author of Bharat jiva, posthumously, edwards lived in San Francisco and was active in the local poetry and transgender communities.

Poems of Queer Experience

A selection of poems exploring same-sex relationships, homosexual desire, and gender identity:

by Frank Bidart
Lie to yourself about this and you will / forever lie about everything.

by W.H. Auden
Lay your sleeping head, my love, / Human on my faithless arm...

elegy for kari edwards
by Julian Brolaski
damesirs of fishairs / princes reginae / I don't need this botheration...

Langston Blues
by Jericho Brown
O Blood of the River of songs...

The Next Table
by C. P. Cavafy, trans. Avi Sharon
He can't be more than twenty-two...

The Embrace
by Mark Doty
You weren't well or really ill yet either...

The Hug
by Thom Gunn
It was your birthday, we had drunk and dined...

An Untitled Sonnet
by Marilyn Hacker
You did say, need me less and I'll want you more...

He would not stay for me, and who can wonder
by A. E. Housman
He would not stay for me...

by Maureen N. McLane
and if / I were to say // I love you and / I do love you...

by William Meredith
Going abruptly into a starry night / It is ignorance we blink from...

Abandonment Under the Walnut Tree
by D. A. Powell
Something seems to have gnawed that walnut leaf...

Tonight No Poetry Will Serve
by Adrienne Rich
Saw you walking barefoot / taking a long look / at the new moon's eyelid...

Elegy in Joy
by Muriel Rukeyser
We tell beginnings: for the flesh and the answer...

by Arthur Rimbaud, trans. John Ashbery
Graceful son of Pan! Around your forehead crowned / with small flowers and berries...

by May Swenson
Blue, but you are Rose, too, / and buttermilk...

Calamus [In Paths Untrodden]
by Walt Whitman
In paths untrodden... / Escaped from the life that exhibits itself...

Featured Essays

Eileen Myles on Allen Ginsberg
"Allen was such a diligent student of ecstasy and vision that he knew that as the swastikas and belt buckles flicker, something happens, the road opens, and a space opens up..."

Carl Phillips on Reading
"What I offer here is less a list of what to read than an idiosyncratic gathering of those writers who have had an influence on me as a writer and human being in general..."

Marilyn Hacker on Love Poems
"Many love poems are actually poems of seduction. I've preferred to choose poems in which love is a presence, not a pursuit..."

Reginald Shepherd on Beauty
"Without a notion of beauty, an embodiment of the possible beyond the abjections of the mundane, I would not have become a poet, would not, perhaps, have left behind the Bronx housing projects and tenements at all..."

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