Continuing the theme of this year’s LGBT+ History Month: ‘Body, Mind, Spirit.’ To celebrate and recognize this, the School of English’s Centre for Gender, Sexuality and Writing has put together a list of poems available online—written by LGBT+ poets—that explore and reflect these themes.
Doctrine by queer Jewish poet sam sax (he/him) is a poem that communicates with force the political consequences of language, playfully exploring the ideological position that states art has the responsibility to resist.
“what i meant over breakfast / is the time’s too urgent for work / that doesn’t have blood in it. / what i meant is insurgency / is our birthright”
one art by 20th century poet Elizabeth Bishop (she/her) is a villanelle which recounts the inevitable heartbreak of loss by presenting it as a series of instructions on how to master it. Painstakingly crafted—Bishop wrote 17 drafts of the poem—it is a testament to the subtleties of poetic craft.
“Lose something every day. Accept the fluster / of lost door keys, the hour badly spent. / The art of losing isn’t hard to master.”
On World-Making by poet and anthropologist Nomi Stone (she/her) is a meditation upon the ways in which we are called into being through our connection with others. Built around quotes from philosopher and gender theorist Judith Butler, the poem connects the philosophical with the materiality of human experience.
“The attachment to you,” it is written, / “is part of what composes who I am.” I know/knew / those hands, hers. I watched her dust the sourdough with flour /at midnight a moon between her fingers.”
Pedagogy by Cherokee Two-Spirit/Queer poet, activist and performer Qwo-Li Driskill (s/he; hir) is a thorough account of the precarity of Native American and Two-Spirit bodies and minds; the danger of discussing those precarities in abstract terms within classroom spaces; and the possibilities of language as a weapon of resistance against oppression and incarceration.
“This class will not save you / This class will not save any of us / I pray you take some words with you / like sharpened spoons / ferry them away up your sleeves / under your tongues”
Check back next week for the final instalment – Spirit