LGBTQIA+ Poetry Collections
By Emily Myhill, Carly Bennett and Becca Binnie
Poetry is a creatively rhythmic style of writing that captures the reader in a lyrical narrative. Below the team have chosen just a short number of poetry collections which represent the LGBTQIA+ community. We hope you’ll check them out!
100 Queer Poems by Mary Jean Chan and Andrew McMillan
100 Queer Poems is a beautiful anthology edited by Mary Jean Chan and Andrew McMillan. The anthology includes luminous poems from some of classic and contemporary poetry’s biggest names, such as Langston Hughes, Carol Ann Duffy, Kae Tempest and Ocean Vuong; alongside a range of fresh voices sure to leave you with a new favourite poet. If the gorgeous cover didn’t catch your eye, since its publication in June this year, the fantastic collection has already been shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Readers Award 2022 and has captured the hearts of poetry lovers!
Okechukwu Nzelu, author of Here Again Now, called it “more than a landmark volume,” speaking to the coverage of classic queer poems that paved the way for the modern day and sparklingly fresh contemporary pieces, illuminating the impressive history and current state of queer poetry. 100 Queer Poems is a must-read for any poetry lover, from seamlessly weaving through queer childhood experiences, to the creation and building of our chosen families and friendship, to our experiences in nature and the modern world, something heartfelt can be taken from each piece, and cherished for a long time!
A brilliant place for poetry newbies and veterans alike, there is something for everyone in this heart-warming collection!
Nothing is Okay by Rachel Wiley
Nothing is Okay is Rachel Wiley’s second full-length poetry collection published in April 2017, focusing upon uplifting poems to deconstruct common social myths around our bodies and confidence. A touching collection transcending queerness, body positivity, mental health, race and a sharp critique of modern culture, this is the perfect poetry collection for any feminist looking for poems that pack a punch! With raw and honest language, this is an easily accessible book for any first timer, yet still cleverly crafted to induce frustration and humour in equal parts at the modern world!
If you’re a fan of spoken word poetry, Rachel Wiley has some powerful recordings of this collection on YouTube which will be sure to convince you to pick up the full collection – loud, unapologetic, and bold, Wiley’s voice is truly unique and emotional. The poems will stay with you, empower you and help you open up in equal measures. A beautiful collection that centres fatness and the power of learning to love yourself despite society’s messaging, this is an unmissable collection for any poetry fan’s to be read (TBR) pile.
The Human Body is a Hive by Erica Gillingham
Released in March 2022, The Human Body is a Hive is Gillingham’s debut poetry collection, shining the spotlight on queer love and queer family. Divided into two halves (Pheromones and Honeycomb), The Human Body is a Hive is a slip of a volume that carries a hefty dose of emotional weight, with topics ranging from desire, sex, queer joy and Gillingham’s experiences of the soaring highs and crushing lows of fertility treatment.
This Poem Wants to be a Lesbian Country Song So Bad is a title that absolutely deserves to be highlighted, and Minor English Goddesses is the standout that is as beautiful read aloud as it is on the page. Examining queerness and identity through the lens of nature and science, The Human Body is a Hive is a love letter to the queer experience and a fantastic pick for any readers looking to dip their toe into the world of poetry.
Time is a Mother by Ocean Vuong
From the author of Sunday Times Bestseller and TikTok sensation On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous and 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize winner, Night Sky With Exit Wounds, comes Ocean Vuong’s second poetry collection, Time is a Mother. Published by Penguin in April 2022, Vuong reflects many of the themes present in his first collection of poetry, Night Sky With Exit Wounds, he explores the notion of fragmented identity, loss and family.
The poems capture Vuong’s experience of grief after losing his mother. With the experimentation of form, he conveys both the pain of loss and determination demanded by grief in order to carry on.
Alongside the exploration of grief, Vuong’s work expresses the experience of prejudice based on race and sexuality, the intimate creative expression regarding the intersectionality of identity adds poignancy to this poetry collection. Moreover, the engaging use of emotive and lyrical language connects the audience to the realness of the human experiences being communicated through the poems.
Vuong has once again created an innovative collection of poetry which questions the themes of society and communicates tenderness in the face of violence. Time is a Mother is elegant and artistic. I encourage you to take a look!