LGBT+ history month: Body

The theme of this year’s LGBT+ History Month is ‘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.

Whether you’re a budding LGBT+ poet or simply a reader looking to engage with LGBT+ poetry, this list offers access to a range of voices each articulating individual experiences of what mind, body and spirit can mean.

Small Talk by Alok Vaid-Menon, an Indian-American gender-non-conforming transfeminine writer and performance artist (they/them), is a prose poem about interconnectedness, forms of relation and the ways in which we create ourselves through language.

“as if language is all that we are. i believe that we are more than language.”

 I Sing the Body Electric by nineteenth century American poet Walt Whitman (he/him) is a joyful celebration of the human body in all its forms and constituent parts; an exuberant and triumphant love-letter to the human corporeal form.

 “The lung-sponges, the stomach-sac, the bowels sweet and clean, / The brain in its folds inside the skull-frame”

our happiness by queer American poet Eileen Myles (they/them) captures a reflective moment of quotidian beauty. A poem of quiet connection, it recreates in short lines of sparing, unworked language, the remarkable in the everyday and the contentment to be found in small, shared human intimacies.

“later we stayed / in the darkened / apt. you sick / in bed & me / writing ambitiously / by candle light / in thin blue/ books”

To the Man Who Shouted “I Like Pork Fried Rice” at Me on the Street by queer Korean-American poet Franny Choi (she/her) is a ruthless critique of the racialized objectification and sexualized exoticization of Asian women. Reflecting back, with fierce irony, a multitude of stereotypes and tropes about women—and Asian women in particular—the poem is a powerful reclamation of identity from the mire of Western patriarchy.

“taste like dried squid. lips puffy / with salt. lips brimming / with foreign so call me / pork. curly-tailed obscenity / been playing in the mud. dirty meat.”

Read ‘Mind’ and ‘Spirit’