By Gregg Shapiro
Observed every April since its 1996 launch, National Poetry Month was created by the American Academy of poets as a means of celebrating and calling attention to poetry. Special events scheduled for National Poetry Month in 2018 include the continued airing of the star-studded PBS series Poetry in America, the Dear Poet project in the schools, as well as a multitude of events in public libraries, as well as the famous month-long O, Miami festival. If you prefer your poetry on a solitary, one-on-one basis, consider the recent titles below.
Lesbian poet Julie Marie Wade calls Same-Sexy Marriage (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2018) “a novella in poems” and it’s a fitting description for the 17 linked poems, based on a little white lie told by her mother, that are alternately, heartbreaking, amusing, and always insightful.
With content drawn from six books – The Other Man Was Me, What the Body Told, Landscape With Human Figure, The Enemy and Alternative Medicine – Comfort Measures Only: New and Selected Poems, 1994-2016 (Duke, 2018) expands on Rafael Campo’s respected reputation with 31 new poems.
Recipient of a 1996 Lambda Literary Award for All-American Girl, lesbian poet and educator Robin Becker returns with her eighth full-length poetry collection The Black Bear Inside Me (University of Pittsburg, 2018).
Tommy Pico, a finalist in the Gay Poetry category for the 30th annual Lambda Literary Awards for his book Nature Poem, completes his poetry trilogy with Junk (Tin House Press, 2018), the third installment in the Teebs series, which began with 2016’s IRL.
Together and by Ourselves (Copper Canyon Press, 2017), the second poetry collection by gay poet Alex Dimitrov, in which the poet traverses the coasts, in search of answers to “existential questions” connected to “the reality of our current moment.”
The pocket-sized Take Me With You (Plume, 2018) by Andrea Gibson, is separated into three sections – “On Love”, “On The World” and “On Becoming,” and features illustrations alongside the poems (one-liners, couplets, and longer pieces).
Translated by David Colmer, The Sexy Storm (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2018) by Dutch novelist and children’s book author Edward Van De Vendel is described as a collection of “modern love poems” tracing a relationship from first blush to last kiss.
Edited by Julie R. Enszer, with an introduction by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, Sister Love: The Letters of Audre Lorde and Pat Parker 1974-1989 (Sinister Wisdom, 2018), collects the correspondence between the late lesbian poets Lorde and Parker, in which they share the intimate details of their lives as writers and queer women, including the times in which each of them lived with cancer.
Not a member of the LGBTQ community, but a marvelous poet nevertheless, James Wright is the subject of the thorough bio James Wright: A Life in Poetry (FSG, 2017) by Jonathan Blunk. If you don’t know Wright’s poem “A Blessing,” you owe it to yourself to read it.