LGBTQ+ Poetry: The Power of Magazines and Journals
By Jess Emery
From Sapho to Danez Smith, Frank O’Hara to Ocean Vuong, poetry has long been a way of expressing pride, joy, sorrow, and frustration over the LGBTQ+ experience. As Pride month concludes for another year, The Publishing Post is shining a spotlight on poetry in LGBTQ+ magazines/journals. The following incredible publications celebrate and give platform to some of the most beautiful, heart-wrenching, transgressive and hilarious queer poetry around.
Small but mighty, Fourteen Poems is a London-based poetry journal. They publish three times a year, comprising of fourteen poems per issue; each issue is carefully curated to bring the reader the best in contemporary LGBTQ+ poetry. The poems are truthful and visceral. Fourteen Poems is without a doubt the place to search for the next generation of LGBTQ+ poets.
We spoke to Ben Townley-Canning, Editor at Fourteen Poems, who said,
“We launched Fourteen Poems in a bid to counter two things: one, that poetry is boring and inaccessible and two, the lack of attention given to queer poets in particular. We want to help shine a light on the vastly different facets of the global queer experience and help give confidence to queer poets that feel like their voices shouldn't be heard.
Whether they're talking about love, grief, anger or sex, we want people to find these exciting and energising new poets, that may have been overlooked by the mainstream and fall in love with their work. It's been mind-blowing seeing how people have connected to our poems and I couldn't be happier to act as a conduit to the life-long love affair between poet and reader.
What I love about our first year is that we've been lucky enough to publish poets from the UK, but also from Singapore, Nigeria, Australia, Finland, the US, Ireland and Greece, as well as sending out our little books all over the world. And I've really enjoyed hosting our readings and chats on Instagram with most of our poets, allowing them a weekly spot to shine, read their work and also educate me by choosing a favourite poem by another writer. Poetry is unique in that it happily exists on the page and as a performance, so it's been a joy to have both these experiences.
It's an exciting time to be part of the queer literature scene and I'm excited to see what poets we work with in the future!"
“A literary magazine for queer writing”, Queerlings publishes poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and reviews. They have created an online space for some of the freshest and most promising queer writers on the scene. Particularly encouraging submissions from BIPOC, trans, non-binary and other underrepresented voices in the community, the writing Queerlings publishes is as inclusive as it is emotive.
We spoke to Scott Aaron Tait, Fiction & Poetry Co-editor at Queerlings,
“For us, Queerlings offers LGBTQIA+ writers a safe, inclusive and supportive queer space to champion their work. We formed the magazine to give as much opportunity as possible to new and emerging, marginalized queer writers to show – on an international platform – the sheer talent that the LGBTQIA+ community has to offer the world. We focus on work that explores individual understanding and experience of 'queerness' and as such, we feel our past issues stand as a testament to the incredibly diverse experience of what it means to be queer.
To see past contributors, go from strength to strength with their writing has made all the voluntary hours worthwhile! We feel privileged to work on this platform and grateful to all our contributors and readers for their continued support.”
Literary magazines and journals are a crucial platform for up-and-coming writers, offering an alternative space to mainstream publishing. The hard work which the editors do in creating these spaces (especially LGBTQ+ safe spaces) and in promoting new talent cannot go unrecognised.