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literature

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-B  C-E  F-L  M-Z

     
Poetry: Gay Male  
 
page: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  

An example of the latter type of operation is the "Gay Verse" series produced by the Gay Men's Press in London. Although the press was founded in 1979, it did not publish verse until Martin Humphries's anthology Not Love Alone in 1985. Humphries went on to act as poetry editor to a series of titles, most of which used the work of two or three writers.

Humphries and Steve Cranfield had reached an advanced stage in the editing of an AIDS-related poetry anthology in 1992 when the directors of the press decided to close down the verse series. Poetry had flourished in the epidemic, only to catch its death in a recession.

Sponsor Message.

More committed to the promotion of poetry, the lesbian and gay Oscars Press appeared to be in a good position to take over where the Gay Men's Press had left off. Oscars had started early in 1986 as a reading group involving poets who had appeared in Not Love Alone; they published the first of a series of chapbooks in 1987 and the first of their paperback anthologies in 1990.

By the time one arrives at an event like the publication of Carl Morse and Joan Larkin's Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time (1988), it is clear that the culture of homosexuality has been established for long enough to be able to sustain not only the replacement of one canon with another, but also the simultaneous implication that many younger writers are strongly placed to invade the new canon in due course.

The book's dust jacket claims that it includes poetry written between 1950 and the time of publication--though, in fact, two of the three Auden poems included date from 1937 and 1938, and at least two of the Langston Hughes poems are from earlier than 1950.

Be that as it may, the book balances canonical homosexual (W. H. Auden), gay (Allen Ginsberg), and lesbian writers (Adrienne Rich) with the new wave of much younger poets (Mark Ameen, Dennis Cooper, Alexis De Veaux, Kitty Tsui, and so on).

Thematically, it moves from quietly affirmative voices of the McCarthyite era to the more flamboyant celebrations of Gay Liberation--though this historical progression is obscured by the editors' decision to arrange the poets not chronologically but alphabetically--and it incorporates poetry of the AIDS epidemic seamlessly into its cross-section of cultural development. Its portentous title clearly expresses the seriousness of its canonizing intent.

Conclusion

Even given the effects of homophobia on the production, distribution, and evaluation of texts, we are in charge of our own culture. We have our own requirements, and set our own standards thereby. It is the gay reader who decides what is a good gay poem. This is why gay-edited anthologies and gay-authored critical works are at the crux of the development of gay reading practices.

As important as the poem itself are the ways in which we come to hear of it, find a copy of it, read it, and keep it to ourselves or pass it on to others. Gay poetry emerges from a network of readers as much as from poets themselves. The encyclopedia you are reading continues the process.

Gregory Woods

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literature >> Overview:  Decadence

Nineteenth-century Decadent literature either describes aspects of decadent life and society or reflects the decadent literary aesthetic.

literature >> Overview:  Elegy

A poetic response to the death of a greatly loved person, the elegy has had since classical times a homoerotic component.

literature >> Overview:  Modernism

Despite the widespread homophobia in the Modernist movement, several of its practitioners were homosexual; some of them wrote openly about homosexuality, and the groundwork was laid for the gay liberation movement.

literature >> Auden, W. H.

One of the most accomplished poets of the twentieth century, W. H. Auden found that his gayness led him to new insights into the universal impulse to love and enlarged his understanding of all kinds of relationships.

literature >> Bacon, Sir Francis

Although he condemned homosexuality in his more magisterial, philosophical works, Bacon inserted homosexual innuendo elsewhere in his writings, particularly in several essays.

literature >> Barnfield, Richard

The English Renaissance poet Richard Barnfield wrote two volumes of homoerotic verse.

literature >> Baudelaire, Charles

Baudelaire was among the first French poets to include lesbians as subjects.

literature >> Beckford, William

Extremely wealthy and connected to the aristocracy, British author and connoisseur William Beckford was ostracized by English society for the last sixty years of his life because of his homosexuality.

literature >> Broumas, Olga

Greek-born lesbian poet and translator Olga Broumas writes openly erotic poems that combine ancient Greek echoes and late twentieth-century idiom.

social sciences >> Burton, Sir Richard F.

Although evidence of his own homosexual leanings is inconclusive, in his lifetime Sir Richard Burton was regarded with suspicion because of his knowledge and understanding of same-sex sexual activity.

literature >> Byron, George Gordon, Lord

The bisexual Lord Byron treated many of his homosexual love affairs in his poetry, encoding them by the use of classical references or by purporting that they were affairs with women.

literature >> Carpenter, Edward

Edward Carpenter, a champion of both women's and homosexuals' liberation, was one of the great socialist visionaries of England at the turn of the twentieth century.

literature >> Catullus

The Roman poet Catullus incorporated homoerotic themes in his verse, both reflecting the passionate character of same-sex friendships and describing several of his own homosexual adventures.

literature >> Cavafy, C. P.

Alexandrian Greek poet C. P. Cavafy has written some of the greatest homoerotic poems of all time.

literature >> Cooper, Dennis

Controversial writer Dennis Cooper is best known for his series of strikingly original, critically acclaimed, albeit transgressive and contentious, novels exploring the nature of sexual obsession, alienation, brutality, and death.

literature >> Corn, Alfred

An intelligent observer and chronicler, and a master of poetic technique, Alfred Corn has been praised as one of his generation's finest poets and included in a line of gay visionary poets.

literature >> Crane, Hart

A successor to Walt Whitman, Hart Crane found spiritual transcendence in homoerotic desire.

literature >> Douglas, Alfred Bruce

Lord Alfred Douglas is remembered today for his tumultuous association with Oscar Wilde and as a minor poet.

literature >> Duncan, Robert

Robert Duncan wrote a remarkable series of poems that deal directly with the love of men for other men.

literature >> Eliot, T[homas] S[tearns]

Although Eliot tried to suppress the fact, The Waste Land is an elegy for a young Frenchman whom he met and loved in Paris and who died in the Great War in 1915.

literature >> Field, Edward

Edward Field's poetry is an account of coming to terms with homosexuality in the literary world of New York in the second half of the twentieth century.

literature >> Friend, Robert

An American-born Israeli, Robert Friend was both an accomplished poet in his own right and also an exceptionally skillful translator of poetry from many different languages.

literature >> George, Stefan

Stefan George, one of the foremost German poets of the turn of the twentieth century, encoded his homosexuality in his works.

literature >> Gide, André

André Gide, one of the premier French writers of the twentieth century, reflected his homosexuality in many of his numerous works.

literature >> Gilgamesh

The ancient Sumerian poem Gilgamesh is structured around the love that the heroic male couple Gilgamesh and Enkidu have for each other.

literature >> Ginsberg, Allen

The forthrightly gay Allen Ginsberg is probably the best-known American poet to emerge in the post-World War II period.

literature >> Gray, Thomas

Thomas Gray, the best-loved English poet of the eighteenth century, wrote several poems that express the love he felt for other men.

literature >> Gunn, Thom

The Anglo-American writer Thom Gunn was a major gay poet and a perceptive critic of gay poetry.

literature >> Hafiz

Much of the sexuality in the lyrics of the great Persian poet Hafiz is homoerotic and infused with a homosexual mysticism.

literature >> Hemphill, Essex

Despite his relatively brief literary career, Essex Hemphill became arguably the most critically acclaimed and best known openly gay contemporary African-American poet.

literature >> Horace

In his highly accomplished and influential poetry, Horace reflects the easy bisexuality of the Roman upper class in the first century B. C.

literature >> Housman, A. E.

A. E. Housman's poetry is inextricably rooted in homosexual experience and consciousness and is also a significant reflector of gay history.

literature >> Howard, Richard

Richard Howard's searching and witty poetry, in which homosexuality is not a problem but a solution, is a significant contribution to the gay and lesbian literary heritage.

literature >> Huysmans, Joris-Karl

J. K. Huysmans, an important figure in the Aesthetic and Decadent movements, exemplified a style of homosexuality at a pivotal moment in the emergence of a gay identity.

literature >> Isherwood, Christopher

A major Anglo-American novelist and a pioneer in the gay liberation movement, Christopher Isherwood created gay characters whose homosexuality is a simple given, an integral part of the wholeness of personality and an emblem of their common humanity.

literature >> Juvenal

The works of satirist Juvenal are crucial for exploring attitudes toward (homo)sexuality in ancient Rome.

literature >> Lawrence, D. H.

For his time, D. H. Lawrence was a maverick in his open and adventurous discussion of all sexual issues and especially homosexuality, both male and female.

literature >> Lehmann, John

One of the most distinguished and discerning British men of letters of the mid-twentieth century, John Lehmann is best known as an editor and publisher.

literature >> Marlowe, Christopher

Christopher Marlowe represents homoerotic situations and incidents in his plays and poems more frequently and more variously that any other major English Renaissance writer.

arts >> McKuen, Rod

The poems and songs of the amazingly prolific Rod McKuen express a bittersweet, aching tenderness that has endeared him to millions of fans.

literature >> Melville, Herman

The most important American novelist of the nineteenth century, Herman Melville reflects his homosexuality throughout his texts.

literature >> Merrill, James

James Merrill's significance as a gay writer lies in his deliberate use of a personal relationship to fuel his poetry.

literature >> Michelangelo Buonarroti

Best known for his genius in art and architecture, Michelangelo was also an accomplished author of homoerotic poetry.

literature >> Moss, Howard

Howard Moss, one of the leading figures of American letters in the latter half of the twentieth century, is the author of a significant body of elegant, erudite, and urbane work, especially poetry. 

literature >> Petronius

Petronius' Satyricon is both the best evidence for homosexual behavior at the height of the Roman Empire and one of the most bumptious homoerotic picaresque narratives ever written.

literature >> Peyrefitte, Roger

As one of the most famous homosexuals in France in the latter half of the twentieth century, novelist Roger Peyrefitte helped shape the public perception of homosexuals in the days before gay liberation.

literature >> Picano, Felice

Prolific author Felice Picano, a founding member of the Violet Quill, is also a pioneer in gay publishing, having founded two publishing houses.

literature >> Platen, August von

The poems of Count August von Platen are homoerotic expressions of Platonic love, idealism, beauty, friendship, and longing.

literature >> Plato

Among Greek writers on homosexual themes, Plato is preeminent not only as a major philosopher but also as the greatest master of Greek prose.

literature >> Plomer, William

Although overt homosexuality is absent from William Plomer's novels and poems, the relevance of his sexuality to his work is evident.

literature >> Plutarch

No ancient is more instructive about pederasty than the Greek biographer and essayist Plutarch.

literature >> Porter, Fairfield

Bisexual artist Fairfield Porter is recognized as a major twentieth-century American Intimist painter.

literature >> Proust, Marcel

Marcel Proust is the author of A la recherche du temps perdu, one of the major achievements of Modernism and a great gay novel.

literature >> Rich, Adrienne

Adrienne Rich, who aestheticized politics and politicized aesthetics, is America's most widely read lesbian poet.

literature >> Rimbaud, Arthur

Because his writing stresses liberation, the French "boy-poet" Arthur Rimbaud, whose art is based solely on his individual creativity, is a progenitor of modern gay poetics.

literature >> Roditi, Edouard

Poet, translator, literary and art critic, and short story writer, Edouard Roditi was associated with most of the twentieth-century's avant-garde literary movements from Surrealism to post-modernism.

literature >> Rolfe, Frederick William

Frederick William Rolfe (Baron Corvo) is important for the gay literary heritage because of his distinctive decadent prose style, his outrageous decadent lifestyle, and his unashamed celebration of eroticized male friendships in his works.

literature >> Santayana, George

Although late in fully understanding his sexual preference, George Santayana wrote a series of sonnets celebrating his love for a friend who died young and described his male friendships in rhapsodic terms in his autobiography.

literature >> Schuyler, James

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet James Schuyler, a prominent member of the New York School of poets and painters, wrote openly about his homosexuality.

literature >> Shakespeare, William

As one of the key figures that western civilization has used to define itself, William Shakespeare stands in a complicated, fiercely contested relationship to homosexuality.

literature >> Spender, Sir Stephen

In his poetry and his autobiography, Stephen Spender wrote about his homosexual experiences in his early life.

arts >> Subjects of the Visual Arts: Harmodius and Aristogeiton

Athenian lovers Harmodius and Aristogeiton were remembered in ancient Greece as the great tyrannicides and celebrated as lovers, patriots, and martyrs.

literature >> Symonds, John Addington

John Addington Symonds was the most daring innovator in the history of nineteenth-century British homosexual writing and consciousness.

literature >> Tennyson, Alfred Lord

Although he was sexually attracted to women, Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote poetry suffused with homoeroticism, including the most beautiful homoerotic elegy in the English language.

literature >> Theocritus

The ancient Greek poet Theocritus is the first great voice in the homoerotic pastoral tradition in Western literature.

literature >> Thoreau, Henry David

In essays, journals, and poems, Henry David Thoreau recorded impassioned expressions of the beauty and the agony of love between men.

literature >> Verlaine, Paul

The poetry of Paul Verlaine celebrates both heterosexual and homosexual activity, including lesbian relationships.

literature >> Virgil

Virgil wrote approvingly of male love in many works, and his second eclogue became the most famous poem on that subject in Latin literature.

literature >> Welch, Denton

Largely autobiographical, the novels of Denton Welch are suffused with homosexuality.

literature >> Whitman, Walt

Celebrating an ideal of manly love in both its spiritual and physical aspects, Walt Whitman has exerted a profound and enduring influence on gay literature.

literature >> Wilde, Oscar

Oscar Wilde is important both as an accomplished writer and as a symbolic figure who exemplified a way of being homosexual at a pivotal moment in the emergence of gay consciousness.

literature >> Winckelmann, Johann Joachim

The art historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann, the first German to have been publicly acknowledged as a homosexual, developed an aesthetic deeply rooted in his homosexuality.

arts >> Yeomans, Lee Calvin "Cal"

A trailblazer in post-Stonewall gay theater, Cal Yeomans explored sex and sexuality so directly in his critically-acclaimed plays that it made his work difficult to produce even in the gay community.


    Bibliography
   

Andersen, Patrick, and Alistair Sutherland, eds. Eros: An Anthology of Male Friendship. London: Anthony Blond, 1961.

Carpenter, Edward. Anthology of Friendship: Ioläus. London: George Allen & Unwin, 19O2; enlarged, 1906.

Coote, Stephen, ed. The Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse. London: Penguin, 1983.

d'Arch Smith, Timothy. Love in Earnest: Some Notes on the Lives and Writings of English 'Uranian' Poets from 1889 to 193O. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1970.

Edwinson, Edmund. Men and Boys: An Anthology. New York: privately printed, 1924.

Humphries, Martin, ed. Not Love Alone: A Modern Gay Anthology. London: GMP, 1985.

Jay, Peter, ed. The Greek Anthology. New York: Penguin, 1981.

Klein, Michael, ed. Poets for Life: Seventy-Six Poets Respond to AIDS. New York: Crown, 1989.

Leyland, Winston, ed. Angels of the Lyre: A Gay Poetry Anthology. San Francisco: Gay Sunshine, 1975.

_____. Orgasms of Light. The Gay Sunshine Anthology. San Francisco: Gay Sunshine, 1977.

Martin, Robert K. The Homosexual Tradition in American Poetry. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1979.

Morse, Carl, and Joan Larkin, eds. Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time: An Anthology. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988.

New Songs from a Jade Terrace. New York: Penguin, 1986.

Paris, Renzo, and Antonio Veneziani, eds. L'amicizia amorosa: antologia della poesia omosessuale italiana dal XIII secolo a oggi. Milano: Gammalibri, 1982.

Reade, Brian, ed. Sexual Heretics: Male Homosexuality in English Literature from 1850 to 1900: An Anthology. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1970.

Saint, Assotto. Here to Dare: 10 Gay Black Poets. New York: Galiens Press, 1992.

Saint, Assoto [sic], ed. The Road Before Us: 100 Gay Black Poets. New York: Galiens Press, 1991.

Woods, Gregory. Articulate Flesh: Male-Homoeroticism and Modern Poetry. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987.

_____. "'Absurd! Ridiculous! Disgusting!' Paradox in Poetry by Gay Men." Lesbian and Gay Writing. Mark Lilly, ed. London: Macmillan, 1990. 175-198.

Young, Ian, ed. The Male Muse: A Gay Anthology. Trumansburg, N.Y.: Crossing Press, 1973.

_____. Son of the Male Muse: New Gay Poetry. Trumansburg, N.Y.: Crossing Press, 1983.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Woods, Gregory  
    Entry Title: Poetry: Gay Male  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated October 30, 2007  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/literature/poetry_gay.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 1995, 2002 New England Publishing Associates  
 

 

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