Grab some LGBTQ poetry to share with a friend.
Inclusion and representation are important, especially in poetry where a simple verse can speak volumes. Seeing yourself in a poem, your love story, or your struggle is empowering AF. This is just one of the countless reasons why highlighting LGBTQIA+ poets is important – not just during Pride.
Here are a few of our favorite LGBTQIA+ poets. While it might not always be clear a poem is about gay love, a bisexual breakup, or a lesbian coming out story, there is something that speaks to all of us in these poems. That is what makes them so universal, so beautiful.
We all want to be loved. We all want to be accepted. And, though we won’t admit it, we all probably hide candy from our dates – looking at you, Tommy Pico.
Andrea Gibson is a spoken word poet and activist. They have absolutely no problem talking about gender, politics, and the LGBTQ struggle, especially when people don’t want to talk about it. Their poems feature wordplay and repetition, which aid in their performances. Their most recent book is Lord of the Butterflies, but one of their most compelling collections is listed below.
The Madness Vase
If you are looking for more work by Gibson, their early collection The Madness Vase is a great place to start. This collection covers everything from childhood playgrounds to falling in love to falling into depression. They have a knack for taking you by the hand and guiding you through their darkest moments and bringing you into the light on the other side. Each poem challenges us to grow.
While Jones’ poetry collection Prelude to Bruises is a powerful collection, he recently published a memoir, How We Fight for Our Lives, that has been getting a lot of hype. As a poet, he loves to write about sex, race, and power as it relates to manhood. He works as the co-host of Buzzfeed news AM to DM.
Prelude to Bruise
What makes this collection truly stand out is Jones’ ability to dive into the lived experience. He walks right into a discussion on topics such as race, sexuality, family, gender, and politics. He puts himself, a queer black man, into spaces that aren’t normally welcoming to him and claims them as his own. If you look up a summary of this collection, you’ll be met with nothing but great reviews. It is a unique and special addition to any poetry library.
Anouka is an actress and poet. She currently features most of her poetry in spoken word format online or through live poetry readings. She currently doesn’t have any collections published but is working on a poetry pamphlet called Eggs on Toast.
Tommy Pico, also known as “Teebs” is an indigenous poet who grew up on the Viejas Indian reservation and is part of the Kumeyaay Nation. He currently has four collections of poetry out of his “Teebs tetralogy.” His writing is witty, funny, and real – look up his bio on his website
This collection asks what happens when a queer indigenous person is removed from their language, religion, and history by generations of alienation. Pico, a modern reservation born NDN living in Brooklyn, questions his obsessions, impulses, and needs. Are they truly his, or were they given to him by society, by Christianity, by the patriarchy? Is there an ancient goddess calling to him behind art, music, and poetry, or is it just a continuation of colonialism? Pico’s poems are funny and sad, but, most importantly, they hit at the heart.
Fatimah Asghar is a Pakistani, Kashmiri, Muslim American writer. She is also the co-creator and write for the Emmy nominated web series, Brown Girls. She is also a member of the Dark Noise Collective. While her poetry has been featured all across the internet, she only has one collection of poetry available. Fingers crossed we get another collection soon.
If they Come for Us
Using lyrical language and striking experimental forms, Asghar weaves together beautiful stories about her own journey for identity, belonging, and place alongside the complex histories of marginalized people. Growing up an orphan, Asghar came of age without the advice of parents. She had to work through a lot of questions about her sexuality and race on her own. While these poems can be both joyful and sad, they are beautiful. Asghar is certainly a modern poetic powerhouse.
Danez Smith is a writer, poet, and performer from Minnesota. He is also a member of the Dark Noise Collective, alongside Fatimah Asghar. Smith has many awards to his name, including a Pushcart Prize. He is also the co-host of the podcast VS.
Don’t Call Us Dead
Danez Smith is an award-winning poet for a reason. He is able to create collections of poems that strike at the heart of issues facing Black men in America. Don’t Call Us Dead paints a vivid picture of what the afterlife might be like for black men shot by police. That afterlife would be free of suspicion, free of fear and full of love and acceptance. Smith also writes about AIDS and how a body and blood can be deadly. This collection is striking, heartbreaking, and beautiful all at the same time.
There are countless more LGBTQIA+ poets out there. Find them. Read their poetry. Share it with everyone – share it with us! Let’s fill our bookshelves.
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Photo by Delia Giandeini via Unsplash