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What to Read this Week: LGBTQ+ poets

What to read this week

In “What To Read This Week,” CHALK contributor Faith Maddox suggests novels, poetry, articles and other forms of writing, often centering around a timely topic or theme. This week, Maddox highlights LGBTQ+ authors who are currently transforming the world of poetry.

LGBTQ+ voices offer rich insights into literary traditions, specifically poetry. Blending personal experiences with language that dissects social movements, check out this list of LGBTQ+ authors who are changing the face of poetics.

Jen Levitt

From references to popular media to themes of sapphic love, Levitt’s work quickly establishes itself as an emotional touchstone for queer women.

Currently residing in New York City as a high school teacher, she received her MFA in poetry from NYU and published her first book in 2016. One of her most popular pieces, “Sometimes, Gender”, encapsulates the balance of eloquence and colloquial language that makes Levitt an accessible poet to any reader.

Dawn Lundy Martin

Martin is a landmark voice in queer poetry.According to her website, she broaches topics of intersectional identities to highlight the importance of including racial justice and LGBTQ+ rights in discussions of feminism.

She works as a multimedia artist, merging the boundaries between prose, poetry and visual art. In 2016, Martin co-founded the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics with Terrance Hayes.

For an introductory glance at her prolific work, check out “Our Wandering,” a poem that exemplifies her unique and lyrical voice.

George Abraham

A highly lauded poet, Abraham’s work is versatile in genre and form.

Currently a PhD candidate in engineering at Harvard, he also teaches writing at Emerson College and edits for several literary magazines. Abraham writes about his identity as a Palestinian-American, often examining the overlap between his identity as a queer man and his experiences with racism and colonialism.

Two of his poems are available here, giving readers a taste of his experimentation with structure and emotional language.

Chase Berggrun

Fans of erasure poetry and classic literature will find solace in Berggrun’s “R E D.” Berggrun erases portions of “Dracula,” transforming it into a tale of reclamation and survival. She received her MFA in poetry from NYU and has been featured in several publications. Her work highlights her experiences as a trans woman, as well as topics of sexual violence and systems of power.

Person 1: This song slaps.

Person 2: Your mom slaps.

Person 1: Thank you, my mom is a kind and wonderful lady.


 Person 1: I’m so sick of alcohol.

Person 2: I don’t know, I’m getting stronger every day. I love it.


Person 1: Do you do the vegan wrap here?

Person 2: We can do the chicken wrap with no cheese?

Person 1: I’ll take the Beyond Burger please. 


Person 1: Oh my God! I feel like I know you somehow…

Person 2: Yeah, we went to high school together. 

Person 1: Oh! *walks off*


Guy 1: Is the black market even real? Has anyone ever been on it?

Guy 2: I tried once but I couldn’t figure out how to get on.


Guy 1: I stayed up until 2 am watching Disney plus

Guy 2: I told my girlfriend I fell asleep but I was actually watching the Mandalorian.


Girl 1: How long have you guys been dating?

Girl 2: Since the summer, well actually for like two years but it’s a long story.


Girl 1: Who are you looking for?

Girl 2: This guy, wait I found him. Fanny pack boy. He flipped off my professor after a test and ran out of the classroom.


Girl 1: How did you choose KU? 

Girl 2: Honestly, I flipped a coin. 


Boy 1: Did I tell you? I think I had a threesome this weekend.

Boy 2: Woah, hold up. You think?


Boy 1: I was born a Phi Delt.

Boy 2: Please don’t ever say that again.


Girl 1: How do you get your boobs to look like that?

Girl 2: I don’t ever wear a bra? I don’t know. 


Girl 1: I just really want a guy to bend me over you know?

Girl 2: How do you know? You’re a virgin!


Guy: Sometimes I wish I could just be a dog and sleep all day. 

Girl: You wake up at like three every day. 

Guy: I know.

Girl: So…

Guy: So does that make me a dog or something?


Girl 1: I wish I was a little bit taller.

Girl 2: I wish I was balder.

Girl 1: I wish I had a...wait, wait, wait balder?


Guy 1: Let’s slap dicks

Guy 2: You ever pee and it feels like throwing up?


Woman 1: *holding baby* He would have been safer at the Hawk

Woman 2: Oh absolutely.


Girl 1: I would never date that guy.

Girl 2: Well, it depends how much money he has.


Girl 1: I’m going to the doctor to see if I have bronchitis before I hook up with him again.

Girl 2: Yeah that’s smart so you don’t give it to anyone else. 

Girl 1: No I mean I want to make sure I infect him.


Guy 1: I'm cutting some of my unnecessary costs, starting with Juuling.

Guy 2: Ight man, good luck.

Guy 1: Actually I might just start chewing


Guy 1: How was work?

Guy 2: My manager was chastising me for not dressing up in a Halloween costume, she doesn’t understand I’m strictly here to get paid.


Guy 1: I am so tired of this week, man

Guy 2: Dude it’s Monday

Guy 1: I know


Person#1: I want to be on the first ship to mars

Person#2: Not me, I doubt they have Wi-Fi

Perons#1: Yeah but at least they’re evolving up there. We’re all just devolving.


Girl 1: Um, I don’t eat pig.

Girl 2: You eat bacon all the time, bitch.


Guy 1: You better get going. 

Guy 2: Yeah, see ya. I’m off to get some Adderall.


Girl 1: Are you home right now?

Girl 2: Yeah, why?

Girl 1: I bought a cat


Girl 1: I just don't understand what fishing is for.

Girl 2: I don't know. Food, maybe?


Guy: I’m just gonna have to like carry an entire box of spiders up the hill tomorrow.

Girl: What?

Guy: Yeah, just like a hundred spiders in a box.


Guy 1: Sometimes ya just gotta give yourself a haircut.

Guy 2: Dude, you shaved half your head. That’s not a haircut, that’s a mess.


Girl 1: Can you eat fruit raw?

Girl 2: How else are you supposed to eat it?


Girl: That class is killing us. ​But they say rest is for the dead.

Guy: Well, at least we'll be rested.


Girl: She's not in class this semester

Guy: Maybe she's dead

Girl: Or studying abroad