“On the bicentennial of Whitman’s birth and the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, over 80 poets pay homage to not only Walt Whitman, but also to queer poets and queer poetry and the vast and various events, revolutions public and private, that have shaken our world since 1819.”
I am proud and grateful that editor Raymond Luczak chose to include two of my poems in this Anthology. It’s funny that the tile, Lovejets, is an allusion to some of the very lines with which I have always found myself most uncomfortable in Whitman’s “I Sing the Body Electric.” That discomfort is a big part of what I address in my poem “Wrestling with Uncle Walt.” And it probably comes from my protestant, puritan upbringing and the cargo of guilt that comes along with that.
It’s good to be able to allow oneself to be sensual and not be ashamed. It’s one thing to have the culture around you grow more accepting, but it’s quite another for them to be comfortable with your holding hands in public, or for me to feel safe to do so, for that matter. The “love that dare not speak its name” has become incredibly outspoken since Walt said those words, but there is still so much perceived obligation of conformity going on.
We all need a place where—a people with whom—we can just be, fully, openly be. And it’s important to be able to write about all that entails.
There are poets in this collection whom I know and love like Philip F. Clark, Bryan Borland, and Seth Pennington, along with writers I’ve adored from afar, including Jericho Brown, Edmund White, and Uncle Walt himself, of course, and so many other fine writers, many of whom I am just getting to know.