There are so many LGBTQ+ poets I’d like to celebrate this Pride month, so consider this list a brief spotlight of 2020 LGBTQ+ books of poetry. Whenever possible, I prefer to recommend books of poetry from writers who are working today because so often recommended books of poetry tend to be over twenty years old.
To quote poet Sasha West’s April 30 Friday Reads: “In POSTCOLONIAL LOVE POEM, Natalie Diaz brings us into the heart of love. Sometimes we move through desire: ‘I sleep her bees with my mouth of smoke,’ sometimes through a yearning for what colonial history erased: ‘we blossom from the original body: water / flowering and flowing until it became itself, and we, us.’ Through careful, luminous celebration, Diaz calls us back to the force of the world—What we are to each other. How we can care for each other. I am grateful for how her poems re-make my mind.”
We’d also like to congratulate Diaz again for recently winning the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
To quote myself from a previous Friday Reads: “As its name suggests, cuts are a core motif of Eduardo C. Corral’s GUILLOTINE. The opening poem “Ceremonial” sees the speaker removing a mole from their body, separating self and body. Other poems in the collection cut across land and borders, following the split of the self from the homeland. Despite its titular emphasis on the cut, GUILLOTINE still reads like a poetics of yearning — one that I come back to again and again.”
I love this book — a book that is so full of tenderness, kindness, and, well, love. This is a book that is ambitious in its form, to be sure, but it is also wide-reaching in heart. So often joy and intimacy can feel fleeting and rare, but in their search to capture kinship on the page, Danez Smith has created a wonderful celebration of friendship and chosen family.
From the publisher: INDIGO merges elegy and praise poem in an exploration of life’s complexities. Whether her subject is oysters, high heels, a pork chop, a beloved dog, or a wife’s return to health, Bass pulls us in with exquisite immediacy. Her lush and precisely observed descriptions allow us to feel the sheer primal pleasure of being alive in our own “succulent skin,” the pleasure of the gifts of hunger, desire, touch.
Here is the Sweet Hand by francine j. harris
In Here is the Sweet Hand, francine j. harris adeptly experiments with language and image to create a collection that feels rich in evocative ideas and speech. One of the things I most appreciate about this collection is its confident comfort in being in dialogue with writers such as Toni Morrison and hip-hop artists like Ty Dolla $ign.