Queer history has teemed with LGBT+ writers, playwrights and poets. From the Allen Ginsbergs to the Oscar Wildes, the Frank O’Haras to the Carol Ann Duffys, homosexual identity has been encapsulated, displayed and celebrated through the power of language. Poets possess the ability to dissect thought and meaning and project it through beauty, lack of beauty and pure humanity. Queer experience is diverse, bleak at times, exciting in others and the LGBT+ writers of today are patch-working their words to form forestss of literary art.
To celebrate World Poetry Day, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite LGBT+ poets across the globe.
McMillan’s poetry is raw, real and urgent, dubbed as “hymns to the male body” and a celebration of what it means to be a gay man. Dealing into a world of masculinity, desire and the departure of desire, his anthology Physical scooped up winner of the 2015 Guardian First Book Award as well being shortlisted for the 2015 Costa Poetry Prize. An elegant stylist and unfashionably honest poet, McMillan’s eye and ear are tuned, exactly, to both the mechanics of the body and the miracles of the heart.
Madisen is a bit of a literary icon of the social media generation. Brewing her words across the likes of Tumblr, Intagram and Twitter, Ms Kuhn rapidly became the face of relatable and accessible poetry, welcoming a whole new generation of poetry lovers across the world. She is smart, humble, well informed and a strong figure in the LGBT+ community as a bisexual writer. Since the release of her debut book, Kuhn has sold over 10k copies and is the name that many a social media teen look up to. Signed off with an ‘m.k’, her works will warm your heart and make you remember that there is still beauty in this world.
You can follow her on Instagram here.
K K Kol-Kes
A self described ‘ARTivist’ Kat Kai Kol-Kes is the trans poet from Botswana winning over the hearts and minds of poetry lovers around the world. As the first openly trans public figure in Botswana – a country still riddled with anti LGBT+ agendas – her work speaks volume and branches out as far more than just works. A fierce social justice warrior, K K is ensuring the bettering lives of LGBT+ experience across Africa through her love of art.
“Is it justified because I’m gay? Am I really gay? Or do I just get off on re-living my tragedies?”
Rollins’ career in poetry has been a trailblazing one, confronting not only queer issues in his work, but opening and supporting a narrative of rape in men. Defying traditional masculinity, his confrontation on the regulations and expectations of who can and cannot be a rape survivor offers Rollins as a queer activist with beauty behind the hurt.
A pioneer in poetry, Trace Peterson is a trans writer who offered the US its first course in transgender poetry. Historical literature eradicates LGBT+ narratives across its boards and Peterson is not only here to celebrate to trans writers of yesteryear, but to create a future for LGBT+ writers. The formidable writer is also the editor and publisher of the journal EOAGH and coeditor of the anthology Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Nightboat Books, 2013), which was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award in 2014.