7 Queer Poets You Should Know

Poems from LGBT writers Richard Blanco, Frank Bidart, Eileen Myles, Mark Doty, Judy Grahn, CAConrad, and Tim Trace Peterson explore what it means to be queer in America.



"HI" by Eileen Myles


            for Steve Carey


You made me smell.

I didn’t smell at

all before I met you

smells are pouring out of

my clothes, feet, my

socks my hair

this is gross

you’ve made me monstrous

and I love it

I knew a man who laughed

at himself

for being this way

stinking of love

it was what he was

a stinking factory of his love

lying there all day

going out to get a smoke

I’m the east coast version

of that

since I met you

since the era of my famous

resistance to you ended

it began like the wind

I am a window to the world

the mailman can see me

he waves; children out there playing

it’s even this way when I’m out


except when I hold your hand

I want it; to be this exception

I’ve become

not a woman or a man

The heart pumps

the man is dead and it’s


it’s a smelly season

don’t you think

the earth knows

the bugs are beginning to look


you’re throwing your mother’s

old stuff out

your friends are beginning

to understand

I want to show

mine something different

the ripples I’ve become

I’m influence

the way language changes

and rocks heal & burn

meat stretches

your little round animal

face keeps coming around

the corner but

oh no now you’re coming down

I’m looking up

Excerpted from Snowflake/different streets by Eileen Myles. Copyright 2012. Excerpted with permission from the author and Wave Books.

Eileen Myles is the author of more than 20 books of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, plays, and libretti, including Snowflake/different streets, Inferno (A Poet’s Novel), The Importance of Being Iceland (for which she received a Warhol Creative Capital Art Writers Grant) and Sorry, Tree. A former director of St. Mark’s Poetry Project, Myles campaigned as an openly female write-in candidate for U.S. president in 1992. She received a Guggenheim fellowship in 2012. She lives in New York.