poem index

LGBTQ Poetry

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.


Featured Poems

Lullaby” by W. H. Auden
Lay your sleeping head, my love …

Queer” by Frank Bidart
Lie to yourself about this and you will …

elegy for kari edwards” by Julian Talamantez Brolaski
damesirs of fishairs …

A Queerification” by Regie Cabico
queer me …

Confetti Allegiance: Love Letter to Jim Brodey” by CAConrad
Is there a deceased poet who was …

The Distant Moon” by Rafael Campo
Admitted to the hospital again …

The Next Table” by C. P. Cavafy
He can’t be more than twenty-two …

Grief Work” by Natalie Diaz
I have gazed the black flower blooming …

The Embrace” by Mark Doty
You weren’t well or really ill yet either …

from Bharat jiva [I can not begin to know]” by kari edwards
I can not begin to know …

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

For K. J., Leaving and Coming Back” by Marilyn Hacker
August First: it was a year ago …

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

The Talking Back of Miss Valentine Jones: Poem # one” by June Jordan
well I wanted to braid my hair …

Whom You Love” by Joseph O. Legaspi
The man whose throat blossoms with spicy chocolates …

Lullaby” by Lyubomir Levchev
The boy was standing at the exit …

At a Dinner Party” by Amy Levy
With fruit and flowers the board is decked …

Love Poem” by Audre Lorde
Speak earth and bless me with what is richest …

Dressing Down” by Kamilah Aisha Moon
When you’re gay in Dixie …

My Lover Is a Woman” by Pat Parker
my lover is a woman …

Exclusively on Venus” by Trace Peterson
Roses are red / violets are transsexual …

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

Twenty-One Love Poems [The Floating Poem, Unnumbered]” by Adrienne Rich
Whatever happens with us, your body …

Antique” by Arthur Rimbaud
Graceful son of Pan …

Syntax” by Reginald Shepherd
Occasionally a god speaks to you …

Blue” by May Swenson
Blue, but you are Rose, too …

Love Returned” by Bayard Taylor
He was a boy when first we met …

Calamus [In Paths Untrodden]” by Walt Whitman
In paths untrodden …

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Featured Audio

Taking My Father and Brother to the Frick” by Derrick Austin
Disembark the Turners seem to say …

The Armadillo” by Elizabeth Bishop
This is the time of year …

At the End of Hell” by Jericho Brown
So what if I love him …

Ceremonial” by Eduardo C. Corral
Delirious …

My Mother Would Be a Falconress” by Robert Duncan
My mother would be a falconress …

A Supermarket in California” by Allen Ginsberg
What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman …

Living on Someone Else’s Money” by Tom Healy
What it means is flowers always on the table …

To a Maple” by Wayne Koestenbaum
Green leaves outside my window …

I Do” by Sjohnna McCray
Driving the highway from Atlanta to Phoenix …

Joan” by Eileen Myles
Today, May 30th, Joan …

The Anactoria Poem” by Sappho
Some say thronging cavalry, some say foot soldiers …

Largo” by Brian Teare
Now the rain …

Dear Melissa—” by TC Tolbert
a curve billed thrasher …

Prayer in a Time of Sickness” by Mark Wunderlich
So far I have warded off the worst of things …

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Featured Videos

Allen Ginsberg Sings \"A Western Ballad\"

Video: Allen Ginsberg Sings "A Western Ballad"

Allen Ginsberg sings “A Western Ballad” on the roof his apartment in the East Village. This video was recorded as part of Poetry Breaks—a series of poetry shorts featuring celebrated poets reading their poems.


Frank O'Hara reads \"Having a Coke with You\"

Video: Having a Coke with You

In this 1966 video, from "USA: Poetry: Frank O'Hara," produced and directed by Richard Moore, for KQED and WNET, Frank O'Hara recites his popular poem "Having a Coke with You."

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Featured Essays

Queer Poets on the Poems That Changed Their Lives
In celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month, we asked several poets to tell us about the poems that influenced their lives as LGBTQ writers and individuals. Read about the powerful and long-lasting impact poetry had on their identity.

The Letter Q
The poets in this collection—Ching-in Chen, Timothy Liu, Dawn Lundy Martin, Eileen Myles, Ely Shipley, and Stacy Szymaszek—present letters they’ve written to their younger selves about their queer identities and experiences.

Eros and the Lyric Imagination, by Marilyn Hacker
Marilyn Hacker discusses eros as the “fuel of the lyric imagination” and discusses a selection of lyric poems featuring and fueled by eros.

Notes Toward Beauty, by Reginald Shepherd
“Without a notion of beauty, an embodiment of the possible beyond the abjections of the mundane, I would not have become a poet,” Shepherd writes in this essay on beauty.

Human Seraphim: “Howl,” Sex, and Holiness, by Mark Doty
Mark Doty recounts his first times hearing Allen Ginsberg read, and discusses the bold sexuality and obscenities of Ginsberg’s “Howl.”

Another and Another Before That: Some Thoughts on Reading, by Carl Phillips
In this essay, Carl Phillips discusses the private act of reading, how reading may inform aesthetics, and how a trip to a library affected his perspective on his own sexuality.

Okay I’ll Call You / Yes Call Me: Frank O’Hara’s “Personism,” by Stephen Burt
Poet and critic Stephen Burt takes on Frank O’Hara’s notable style of casual, personable poetics in this examination of what he calls the poet’s “Personism.”

Why I Write, by Reginald Shepherd
In this essay, Reginald Shepherd reveals his reasons for writing and the nature of his intentions in his poetry.

Repeating Allen, by Eileen Myles
In this essay, Eileen Myles looks at the long lines, repetition, and context of Allen Ginsberg’s seminal work, “Howl.”

"Oh!! kangaroos, sequins, chocolate sodas!": Frank O’Hara’s Excitement, by Wayne Koestenbaum
Wayne Koestenbaum discusses the excitement that characterizes Frank O’Hara’s work, and how it is achieved.

Our Sly Progintor: Revisiting Walt Whitman, by Mark Doty
In this essay, Mark Doty examines Walt Whitman’s relationship with the reader, his slyness, and his humor.

Featured Books

Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time

Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time edited by Carl Morse and Joan Larkin

Published in 1988, Gay and Lesbian Poetry In Our Time: An Anthology collects nearly one hundred varied and distinct gay and lesbian voices of American culture.
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Troubling the Line

Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics edited by TC Tolbert and Trace Peterson

Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics gathers together a diverse range of fifty-five poets with varying aesthetics and backgrounds.
read more

The New Testament

The New Testament by Jericho Brown

“Jericho Brown’s second book fulfills the promise of its audacious title, offering updated gospel dealing with race and sexuality in contemporary America, where ‘[e]very last word is contagious.’”
read more

Apocalyptic Swing

Apocalyptic Swing
by Gabrielle Calvocoressi

“Gabrielle Calvocoressi moves from life to life in poems that are at once personal and draw from a communal sense of history and popular culture. These poems are often set in the past but speak to the ever-present concerns of sexuality, faith, and violence.”
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Howl and Other Poems
by Allen Ginsberg
Howl features Ginsberg’s characteristic use of gritty vernacular and long lines, explicit sexuality, along with descriptions of abject people and places, and the stupor and ecstasy of drugs.”
read more

Unpeopled Eden

Unpeopled Eden
by Rigoberto González

“As the title suggests, Gonzalez’s fourth collection is one in which beauty and the allure of utopia are undermined at every turn by death, absence, and exile.”
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by Timothy Liu
“In these poems, Liu explores the starkness of sexuality. His poems bluntly re-create a sensual loneliness and violence and the sharp edges of strained dynamics between lovers.”
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Collected Poems of Audre Lorde

The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde
by Audre Lorde
The Complete Poems of Audre Lorde brings together this influential poet’s nine books of poetry, including her early, previously unavailable work.”
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Life in a Box is a Pretty Life

Life in a Box Is a Pretty Life
by Dawn Lundy Martin

“‘Make an outline around my form. Use your chisel,’ writes Dawn Lundy Martin in her third collection, a critique of common signifiers of gender, race, and sexual identity.”
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I Must Be Living Twice

I Must Be Living Twice: New and Selected Poems
by Eileen Myles
“A proud and tough lesbian role model for decades, and a defender of ungentrified, Bohemian downtown New York City, Myles can seem to update the improvisational composition techniques of the Beats, at once offhand and in your face.”
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Collected Poems of Adrienne Rich

Collected Poems: 1950
–2012 by Adrienne Rich
“One of the most influential poets of her generation, Rich led poetic discussions of gender, race, and class and pushed formal and societal boundaries with her writing.”
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Dear Prudence: New and Selected Poems

Dear Prudence: New and Selected Poems
by David Trinidad
“This volume of selected poems, David Trinidad’s twelfth collection, spans three decades of work in a volume that D. A. Powell notes is ‘celebratory in tone, panoramic in scope.’”
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