This week, we turned our calendars to July, officially placing Pride month in our archives. But, our pride does not have to be over. I have compiled a list of ten contemporary poets who identify as LGBTQIA+ with recent poetry that speaks on behalf of their experiences.
1. Billie R. Tadros
Billie R. Tadros received a Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana and her M.F.A. in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She has published three books of poetry and intends to write more about her experiences as an injured queer woman. Tadros teaches English and Theatre at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.
From We Were Women, We Were Already Receding:
It’s too cold in the fall on the water
we fall in, too naked for falling in
naked and docking unanchored like this.
I remember. You’d kiss me and shiver.
2. Blas Falconer
Blas Falconer has received numerous awards for his poetry including the 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award from Poets & Writers. He completed his M.F.A from the University in Maryland and his Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston. Currently, Falconer lives in Los Angeles with his family where he teaches the M.F.A. program at San Diego University.
My father had blue eyes, blonde hair,
though mine are brown.
My father could not speak
Spanish and wondered, How can you love
another man? We rarely touched.
When my son
is counting, I count
with him. I say, I am
your father, too. 1…2…
3. Cameron Awkward-Rich
Cameron Awkward-Rich earned his Ph.D. in Modern Thought & Literature from Stanford University. His poetry focusses on his experiences of being a queer Black transman. Currently, he teaches Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts where he is working on his book surrounding trans literature and theory.
From Faggot Poetics:
what it wants: to be a hallway
where men hang their photos
on the wall. Does that make sense?
To want to own the image of the man
but not the man? To bask in that memory
of what first nailed you to the dark?
4. Chen Chen
Chen Chen earned his M.F.A. from Syracuse University and a Ph.D. from Texas Tech University. He has written four chapbooks and has been awarded the Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Kundiman. His work focuses on his identity as a gay Chinese-American. Currently, he is the Jacob Ziskind Poet-in-Residence at Brandeis University and lives in Waltham, MA with his partner.
From I Invite My Parents to a Dinner Party:
In the invitation, I include a picture of my boyfriend
& write, You’ve met him two times. But this time,
you will ask him things other than can you pass the
whatever. You will ask him
about him. You will enjoy dinner. You will be
enjoyable. Please RSVP.
5. Gala Mukomolova
Gala Mukomolova was born in Moscow and lives in Brooklyn, New York. She earned her B.A. from Hobart and William Smith Colleges and her M.F.A. from the University of Michigan. She has been awarded the 2016 Discovery Prize from 92nd St. Y and residencies at ASYLUM Arts, Pink Door, and Vermont Studio Center. Currently, she writes about astrology for NYLON Magazine and co-hosts Big Dyke Energy Podcast.
From But, like, where is the body:
I’m crying fruit tears inside the Goblin Market. I am
Lizzie calling Laura up the
garden. Did you miss me? Come and kiss me. Never
mind my bruises, hug me, kiss
me, suck my juices.
6. Jari Bradley
Jari Bradley earned their M.A. in Ethnic Studies from San Francisco State University and an M.F.A. at the University of Pittsburgh. They have been awarded numerous fellowships from Calloo, Cave Lantern, and Tin House. Their poetry often surrounds social justice as it is often fueled by their experiences as a Black genderqueer poet and scholar. Currently, they are the Poetry Editor of the University of Pittsburgh literary magazine called Hot Metal Bridge.
The body is a set of complex feedback systems
nothing is as it appears
the coexistence of a
beard & breasts
evidence of the body’s
willfully defiant nature
7. Joy Ladin
Joy Ladin earned a Ph.D. in American Literature from Princeton University and an M.F.A in Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts as well as a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College. She has written eleven books and has given numerous talks and readings at colleges and universities as well as TEDx. She is widely recognized. Currently, she is the Ruth Gottesman Chair in English at Stern College for Women at Yeshiva University. This placed her as the first openly transgender professor at an Orthodox Jewish Institution. She continues to teach, speak, and write about Judaism, social justice, and her experiences coming out as transgender.
From A Bridge on Account of Sex: A Trans Woman Speaks to Susan B. Anthony on the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment:
A few years later, about the age
I devoted myself to getting tenure at a school
that still doesn’t hire black professors
and pays women less than men
(I got a bonus for pretending
I was one of them),
you devoted your life to making
the kind of trouble
I spent my life avoiding
8. Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Leah Lakishmi Piepzna-Samarasinha identifies as a queer disabled femme with passing privilege as a Sri Lankan with a white mother. Not only a writer and poet, she is also an organizer, educator, and performer focussed on uplifting queer and transgender people of color. She has earned an M.F.A. from Mills College and a fellowship at VONA.
From Brown Love:
Brown love is getting the pat down but not the
and waiting after you clear to make sure the Sikh
the Black woman or the hijabis behind you get
9. Pamela Sneed
Pamela Sneed is a poet, performance artist, activist, and teacher from New York City. Her work focusses on her experiences as a Black lesbian. She has been featured in the New York Times, Artforum, Hyperallergic, and many others. She earned her B.A. from Lang College at the New School and an M.F.A in New Media Art and Performance at Long Island University.
From I Can’t Breathe:
I guess what stands out to me is that they both were
gay black mountains of men
Felled too early
And it makes me think the biggest and blackest are
almost always more vulnerable
My white friend speculates why the doctors sent one
If he had enough antibodies
Did they not know his HIV status
10. Raquel Salas Rivera
Raquel Salas Rivera is a bilingual Peurto Rican poet who is dedicated to uplifting transgender voices in literature. They earned a B.A. from the Universidad de Puerto Rico and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. They received the 2019 Lamba Literary Award for Transgender Poetry and awarded the 2018 Ambroggio Prize from Bilingual Press in 2020. They also served as the 2018-2019 poet laureate of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Currently, Rivera is the first poet in residence at La Impresora.
From memories of the good daughter:
my first girlfriend is from a similar town.
we text each other in the bathroom.
i tell her i miss her.
she tells me they’re going to the church retreat.
when i come out, my body molds itself
to certain postural expectation
Awkward-Rich, Cameron. “About.” Cameron Awkward-Rich. 2016. http://www.cawkwardrich.com/about.
Bradley, Jari. “Jari Bradley.” Jari Bradley. 2020. https://www.jaribradley.com/.
Chen, Chen. “About.” Chen Chen. 2020. https://www.chenchenwrites.com/about.
Ladin, Joy. “Joy Ladin.” Joy Ladin. 2020. https://joyladin.wordpress.com/.
Falconer, Blas. “Blas Falconer.” Blas Falconer. 2020. https://blasfalconer.com/.
Mukomolova, Gala. “About.” Gala Mukomolova. 2020. https://galacticrabbit.com/.
“Pamela Sneed.” The Poetry Project. 2019. https://www.poetryproject.org/people/pamela-sneed/.
Piepzna-Samarasinha, Leah Lakshmi. “About Leah.” Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. December 18, 2019. http://brownstargirl.org/about/.
“Raquel Salas Rivera.” Poets.org. 2020. https://poets.org/poet/raquel-salas-rivera.
Tadros, Billie R. “Billie R. Tadros.” Billie R. Tadros. 2020. http://www.billiertadros.com.