After a brutal winter, made even more difficult by the pandemic and killer storms, the Spring Equinox and warmer weather days are in sight. The following new poetry titles are another way to welcome the change in seasons.
As I said in my blurb for Lambda Literary Award-winning lesbian poet and memoirist Maureen Seaton’s Undersea (JackLeg Press, 2021), her “sun- and sea-drenched poetry collection combines all of her strengths: teacher, lover, observer, seeker, reporter, tour guide, singer, naturalist, rover, sibling, and wordsmith. Seaton invites readers to a faulty but irresistible paradise, complete with detailed instructions, and we’d be foolish not to accept. Still playful, still furiously cooking up ways to feed our poetic hunger. Seaton’s Undersea is a thirst-quenching series of love poem postcards to and from Florida.”
Lesbian poet Caridad Moro-Gronlier’s long-awaited full-length poetry collection Tortillera (Texas Review Press, 2021), published as part of the TRP Southern Poetry Breakthrough series, doesn’t disappoint and is highlighted by the inclusion of poems such as “What the White Girl Asked at Our 20th High School Reunion,” “For Marlene, Who Asked Why I Switched Teams” and “Unpacking the Suitcase.”
In Second Story (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021), feminist poet and longtime ally Denise Duhamel turns up the political volume and addresses the horrors of climate change and violence, as well as the challenges of aging and mortality, in this collection that includes references to queer poets Julie Marie Wade, Maureen Seaton, David Trinidad and Eileen Myles.
Poets are known for wrestling with personal and universal matters that others disregard and queer poet Rosebud Ben-Omi is no exception as she demonstrates in poems such as “Poet Wrestling With Rick & Morty But Mostly Rick” and “Poet Wrestling in the Land of a Thousand Dances” from her new book If This Is the Age We End Discovery (Alice James Books, 2021).
For those who think poets take themselves too seriously there’s God I Feel Modern Tonight: Poems from a Gal About Town (Knopf, 2021) a collection of 69 “tragicomic verses” by comedian, podcaster, and cabaret performer Catherine Cohen.
With its abundance of flora, the aptly titled Redneck Bouquet (Lethe Press, 2020) by Jeff Mann, the self-described “gay regionalist who’s stubbornly remained on native ground,” is a garden of erotic poetry (with several focused on Mann’s Tim McGraw obsession), in which the poet also lashes out at religious fundamentalists and conservative politicians, and tantalizes us with regional cuisine (meaning the book is not meant to be read on an empty stomach).
Selected Poems by Emanuel Xavier (Queermojo/Rebel Satori Press, 2021), compiles 27 poems from award-winning gay poet Emanuel Xavier, drawn from his five books – Pier Queen, Americano, If Jesus Were Gay, Nefarious, and Radiance — and features an introduction by the poet that is as revealing as the poems contained within.
Gregg Shapiro is the author of Fifty Degrees (Seven Kitchens, 2016), selected by Ching-In Chen as co-winner of the Robin Becker Chapbook Prize. Other books by Shapiro include the short story collections How to Whistle (Lethe Press, 2016) and Lincoln Avenue (Squares and Rebels Press, 2014), the chapbook GREGG SHAPIRO: 77 (Souvenir Spoon Press, 2012), and the poetry collection Protection (Gival Press, 2008).
He has work forthcoming in the anthology Reading Queer: Poetry in a Time of Chaos (Anhinga Press, 2018). An entertainment journalist, whose interviews and reviews run in a variety of regional LGBT and mainstream publications and websites, Shapiro lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with his husband Rick and their dog Coco.
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