We've rounded up 25 of our favorite queer poets to close out National Poetry Month, which takes place in April. From seasoned legends to budding up-and-comers, here's 25 of the best wordsmiths to read this spring.
Photography: Allan Warren/ Gretchen Sayers/ Paul Alberts.
Self-described as “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” Lorde is a leading queer and feminist voice in the world of literature, especially poetry. She's quoted in an interview with Callaloo as saying: “My sexuality is part and parcel of who I am, and my poetry comes from the intersection of me and my worlds…" Read some of her stuff here.
Danez Smith is a queer, poz writer and performer from Minnesota. Their Don't Call Us Dead (2017) was a finalist for the National Book Award and [insert] Boy (2014) the winner of the Lambda Literary Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Read selections here.
Photography via danezsmithpoet.com
A lesbian and feminist pioneer, Rich's poetry has cemented itself as canon in American literature. Her collections, such as A Change of World (1951) and Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law: Poems 1954-1962 (1963), explore identity and have been praised critically. Read some of her work here.
Allen Ginsberg is celebrated as one of the great queer voices of all time in writing. A leader of the Beat Poetry movement, he first rose to prominence with Howl and Other Poems. Read some of his work here.
Photography: Hans Van Dijkanefo.
Andrea Gibson is a contemporary slam poet who's risen to international fame online through video content. The artist focuses on gender identity in their work—take a look here.
Photography by Coco Aramaki.
C.P. Cavafy is a 20th century Greek poet, known for his highly homoerotic and sexually explicit poetry. While he remained mostly obscure during his lifetime, he's now come to be revered as one of the great gay poets of the past hundred years. Read here.
OUT 100 honoree Eileen Myles is a modern legend in the world of queer literature. Known for such classics as Chelsea Girls and Cool For You, she'll release a new book this year: Evolution. Read some of their poems here.
Photography by Gavin Bond.
While she remained somewhat obscure for much of her career, the lesbian poet Elizabeth Bishop won the Pulitzer Prize for her second collection of poetry, Poems: North & South/ A Cold Spring. Read some here.
The Spanish poet was a contemporary of such artists as Salvador Dali and Luis Buñuel. His work often incorporates elements of fantasy and folklore. Read some of his highly-acclaimed work here.
Frank Bidart's early work focuses much on the concept of guilt, but his status as canon in American literature was solidified by some of his later pieces, like Desire, Star Dust, and Watching the Spring Festival. Read some of his work here.
Ifti Nasim was a gay Pakistani-American poet who moved to the States to escape persecution for his sexuality back in his hometown. He became known for establishing Sangat, a group which supports LGBT south-Asian youth. Hear some of his poetry here.
Kerouac was a prolific French-Canadian poet active in New York City in the mid-20th century. He's best known for his 1957 masterpiece On The Road. Read some of his work here.
Baldwin is known as one of the great, proud gay artists of all time. His work is unabashedly queer and intersectional. While he's best known for his novels, like Notes of A Native Son and Giovanni's Room, he was also a celebrated poet—read some selections here.
Photography: Allan Warren.
Giorno was in Andy Warhol's first film, Sleep, and the two had a romantic relationship. A poet and visual artists, he also counted names like Patti Smith and Robert Rauschenberg as friends. Read some of his pieces here.
Photography: Paul Alberts
June Jordan was a pioneering poet, playwright, and essayist who worked for women's rights, civil rights, and sexual freedom. Jordan's work is now for its accessibility—she often wrote in vernacular for a sense of immediacy and familiarity. Read here.
Tea is a queer postpunk poet based in Massachusetts. She's known for pieces like Valencia and Rose of No Man's Land. She's received a Lambda Literary Award and was Zale Writer-in-Residence at Tulane University. Read here.
Photography: Gretchen Sayers.
Murray was a civil rights and women's rights activist, lawyer, author, and poet. She often contemplated issues of sexual and gender identity. Her volume of poetry is titled Dark Testament and Other Poems. Read more here.
Photography: Associated Press.
Blanco immigrated to the States from Madrid—his work has received prizes including the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize, the PEN/American Beyond Margins Award, the Tom Gunn Award, the Maine Literary Award, and the Paterson Prize. Read some of his poems here.
Saeed Jones' poetry explores race, power, and intimacy, among other concepts. His debut collection Prelude to Bruise (2014) received critical acclaim. He's gone on to win several presitigous awards and now works as literary editor at Buzzfeed. Read some of his work here.
Photography: Drew Reynolds
Walt Whitman is one of the great poets of all time, and a champion of homoeroticism in the literary form. He's celebrated for his collection Leaves of Grass as one of the great world poets in history. Read selections here.
Mokobe is a trans South African poet and speaker for TED Talks. He's performed alongside such artists as Chance the Rapper and Mos Def. Watch his poem about his transness here.
Photography: @leemokobe/ @andymkosi
Alok is a gender non-conforming performance artist and poet who rose to worldwide social media fame under the moniker 'DarkMatter.' Read some of their work here.
Photography: @alokvmenon on Instagram.