Pride Month is coming to a close, and one of the most powerful ways for LGBTQ+ people have shown their pride is through the written word, especially poetry. As a Black-Asian nonbinary queer poet, I’ve found poetry to be one of the most affirming and creative art forms to exist. Recently, I’ve come across some evocative poetry books by a variety of LGBTQ+ people. Check out these LGBTQ+ poetry books to read for Pride Month and all year round.
“Pride in Your Words” zine showcases five book excerpts along with author Q&As, conversations with queer booksellers, illustrators, and drag queens.
Published by Bottlecap Press, A Flamboyance is Jasper Joyner’s debut poetry chapbook. In their own words, “A Flamboyance is a collection of prose, poetry, and a short story that (loosely) addresses the theme of flamboyance, or trying your best to be yourself as loudly and boldly as possible. Sometimes succeeding, sometimes not. All in hopes of finding love, community, and connection.”
For Black Trans Girls Who Gotta Cuss A Mother F***** Out When Snatching An Edge Ain’t Enough by Lady Dane Figuroa Edidi
Available via Lulu, “For Black Trans Girls is a book of poetry that can also act as a script,” Lady Dane states. “I believe Art should be a mirror that centers, celebrates, challenges, and exposes. For Black Trans Girls is a celebration of Trans Women, Goddesshood, a lament for our fallen, a sword for our living and a challenge to white supremacy, structural oppression and any who would dare try to erase us from existence.”
From Graywolf Press, We Are Mermaids is Stephanie Burt’s newest poetry collection. In this book, mermaids, werewolves, and superheroes don’t just fret over divided natures and secret identities, but celebrate their wholeness, their unique abilities, and their erotic potential. Flowers in this collection bloom into exactly what they are meant to be—revealing themselves, like bleeding hearts, beyond their given names.
Published by Button Poetry, Urbanshee is Siaara Freeman’s retelling of fairy tales and mythological stories through a modern and urban lens. This collection discusses the weight of being Black in America, Freeman’s relationships to lovers and family, and how the physical place you grew up can become part of your identity.
Available from Interstellar Flight Press, Beautiful Malady is a siren song of queerness, disability, and myth, these poems reinvent love, life, and death. This chapbook is also an exploration of pain, weaving speculative poems about fairy tales, folklore, fantasy, and the supernatural with the reality of chronic illness and disability. Ennis Rook Bashe deftly creates a world where the broken body is beautiful.
From Deep House Publishing comes KB Brookins’ debut poetry collection, Freedom House, which explores transness, politics of the body, gentrification, sexual violence, climate change, masculinity, and Afrofuturism all while chronicling their transition and walking readers through different “rooms” of a house. The speaker isn’t afraid to call themselves out while also bending time, displaying the terror of being Black/queer/trans in Texas, and more, with a heavy dose of humor and skillful craft.
Published by BOA Editions, Chen Chen’s second collection of poetry discusses family—both blood and chosen—and examines what one inherits and what one invents as a queer Asian American living through an era of Trump, mass shootings, and the COVID-19 pandemic. With irrepressible humor and play, these anarchic poems celebrate life, despite all that would crush aliveness.
Available from Button Poetry, You’d Better Be Lightning is a queer, political, and feminist collection guided by self-reflection. The poems range from close examinations of the deeply personal to the vastness of the world, exploring the expansiveness of the human experience from love to illness, from space to climate change, and so much more in between.
Published by Bell Pointe Press, Spellbook for the Sabbath Queen uses Jewish mysticism and themes of intimate relationships, religious beliefs, and a longing for home. Through these, Elisheva Fox evokes the spirit of Emily Dickinson in order to answer the question, “How can we build meaningful lives within limits beyond our control?”
From Tin House comes the fourth poetry book in Tommy Pico’s Teebs tetralogy, following the books IRL, Nature Poem, and Junk. It’s an epistolary recipe for the main character, a poem of nourishment, and a jaunty walk through New York’s High Line Park. Among its many questions, Feed asks: what’s the difference between being alone and being lonely? Can you ever really be friends with an ex? And most important of all: How do you make perfect mac & cheese?♦