Monday, August 25, 2008

Gay Poetry

Sometime ago, I questioned whether I am a 'gay poet'.

I am human. You will forgive my many foibles. My question was, simply because I am a poet who was gay, would one classify my writing as 'gay poetry'? I thought that would be an aspiration to a title that I have not earned. And, yes, I was wondering whether there is such an entity as 'gay poetry'. My question, just because we share sexuality, would that make us write the same?

Well, we live and learn.

I have just been delving more into the words. Poetry, Gay Love Poetry, as the book is titled.

If this is gay poetry, that is how I wish to write.

I have not read many of the poems. I have literally been enthralled by a few that I happened to read after opening the book at random. No magic about that. Just open the book, get one poem that strikes my fancy, and read it.

If this is gay poetry, this is what I aspire to.

Simple language. [No, I am not talking about Shakespeare.]

Simple, satisfying wordage. Words that seem to sink in with meaning, at the first reading. And are etched on the heart at subsequent readings. Like a great wine, you don't read this at a gallop. No, sip by satisfying, filling, feeling sip. To run on the tongue, palate. To inhale the scent, heady to the nose.

Some are poems about death. And AIDS. The poignancy, the bravery. The remembrance of those gone, and those who have survived, or are living, with the virus. Love features, and hate, fear.

We are unconventional people, we gay human beings. And the cutting edge of that runs through the poems, though they be about love. Ours are unconventional loves. Sometimes we may seek to define them, according to terms that have been around for eons. Yet, unique as each of us is, we embrace life as we are. From the moment that we learn that we are different, through living life, to the point of death.

This runs through them, the poems. We are of our world, and our world is of us, yet each and every one of us is unique, and different. And we dare to embrace our difference and uniqueness.

We are human. Our successes are of varying degrees. Yet, we cannot but try.

Normal is a boundary we define. Like all others. Experiences are sampled and stored. Like life for others.

A torrent of emotion, deep, personal, personalized. Running through the poems, conventional and unconventional.

If this is gay poetry, I would love to write like these gay poets did, bringing to life their innermost feelings, and musings, fears, courage, failings, and, most of all, humanity.



Anonymous said...

You wake up at last...except this book is years you are still only half-awake.

gayuganda said...


that cant be true.

You see, you make me catty, and I dont think that being awake. Unless that is what you mean?

And, by the way, better go back to the awake world out there. Not interested.

spiralx said...

Don't get how poetry can be "out of date". If it speaks to you, it's as real and as valid as the latest Top Ten Number One.

Anon, stop being a jealous bitch and do something useful with your life?

Anonymous said...

spiralx, NB the comment that the book is out-of-date/touch, not the poetry. (A poem worth as much as the Top Ten Number One wouldn't be worth much). Do try reading exactly what anonymous wrote. Here's a simple question. Where's the strong Black gay poetry expressing its African roots in this edition? Why isn't it there? It existed in 1997. Why as a Black gay man haven't you asked the obvious question?

gayuganda said...


Has the opportunity to be a very interesting conversation, this.

Yet I am always a bit worried being drawn into politics. But this seems my day for it...

A few questions,

my beef with Anon was his belittling idea, that I am waking up. My deal is, this my life. And if I wanna be asleep, then let him respect my respectful doze...

As for the book being old, well, frankly, I didnt care at all. I have been reading one which is older, and I am still going back to that one. So, is that a problem? If it is, then of course it is MY problem.

As for "strong black gay poetry expressing its African roots," I will immediately claim that I am a baby in this fight, and dont know (would rather not know??) the politically correct positions for me to take. Ahem.

Hey, I read poetry for my personal enjoyment. I like it for its, very self.
Now I am sort of realising there is a whole political side to it..., but well, we live and learn, so, I am pulling out the chair, willing to learn!

Hey, Spiralx, I dont know you, but, are you a black man? You've said enough about your being gay! Dont worry, you dont need to answer. To me it is immaterial.

Delroi, it is funny but most of us here tend to be unschooled in the matters of political correctness. So, of course I take advantage of that by appearing naive. Which I am, anyway...
But, what is that obvious question???

spiralx said...

I don't see what racialism (as opposed to racism) has to do with it. Love is universal, being a gay man is pretty much universal. It's easier to come out in the West (whatever the colour of your skin), but not easy - and sometimes fatal.

Delroi, tell us of the black gay poetry of which you speak. Give us titles that you recommend. From 1997 onwards.

Anonymous said...

Tongues Untied (1987)
The Road Before Us (1991)120 Gay Black Poets!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here to Dare (1992) 10 Black gay poets.

Wishing for Wings, Assoto Saint(1994)
Phoenix Rising, Vega, (1995).
Ceremonies, Essex Hemphill (2000).
Pastoral, Carl Phillips (2000).

1997 isn't the important date.It is simply what existed and what was ignored around that time. And the obvious question is: Why have Black gay poets been ignored?

gayuganda said...


fantastic. Am salivating. Reading for years and years to come!!!!!

Thanks delroi!

Anonymous said...

"Love is universal, being a gay man is pretty much universal." Is it really? That's the one thing that all the Black gay poets would disagree on. Seems spiralX likes to bitch at the bitches but doesn't know much about much in detail.

Anonymous said...

Ah, poetry!

When I heard at the close of the day how my name had been
receiv'd with plaudits in the capitol, still it was not a happy
night for me that follow'd,
And else when I carous'd, or when my plans were accomplish'd,
still I was not happy,
But the day when I rose at dawn from the bed of perfect
health, refresh'd, singing, inhaling the ripe breath of
When I saw the full moon in the west grow pale and disappear
in the morning light,
When I wander'd alone over the beach, and undressing bathed,
laughing with the cool waters, and saw the sun rise,
And when I thought how my dear friend my lover was on his
way coming, O then I was happy,
O then each breath tasted sweeter, and all that day my food
nourish'd me more, and the beautiful day pass'd well,
And the next came with equal joy, and with the next at evening
came my friend,
And that night while all was still I heard the waters roll slowly
continually up the shores,
I heard the hissing rustle of the liquid and sands as directed to
me whispering to congratulate me,
For the one I love most lay sleeping by me under the same
cover in the cool night,
In the stillness in the autumn moonbeams his face was inclined
toward me,
And his arm lay lightly around my breast - and that night
I was happy.

gayuganda said...


Beautiful. Beautiful.

Yes, that was a beautiful, happy day.

Wish you many more like that, and the song of the poet touching them and resonating out like it so did.


gayuganda said...

Hey Delroi,

didnt realise that that was Whitman.

Have not read much of him, though what I have I realy love.

But a question I am curious to know the answer to. Why did you post it here?


Unknown said...
here you will most of my Settian/Gay poetry


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