What the Lambda Literary Awards does best is highlight LGBT voices you should know. This year's nominees include 20 books of gay and lesbian poetry, as well as several LGBT poetry anthologies, for its annual prize.
In celebration of their achievement, The Advocate asked the esteemed nominees — including Tamiko Beyer, Frank Bidart, Rafael Campo, r. erica doyle, Rigoberto Gonzalez, David Gross, Michael Klein, Randall Mann, Kamilah Aisha Moon, Angelo Nikolopoulos, Suzanne Parker, Carl Phillips, Verónica Reyes, Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers, Michael D. Snediker, Trace Peterson, TC Tolbert, Brian Teare, Megan Volpert, and Ana Božičević — to each share one poem from their collections. Here are their poetry selections.
For the full list of nominees or to purchase a ticket to the upcoming ceremony, visit the website of the 26th Annual Lambda Literary Awards, which will be held June 2 at Cooper Union in New York.
From We Come Elemental by Tamiko Beyer
now water becomes tangible to tooth
and gives all :: full-weather assault
and we are not boundless ::
nest, egg, a flutter of a plastic bag ::
the children haven’t even hatched
and I’m thinking of blood, heavier than water,
a mess of desire :: impulse ::
a child will say a name
and that name will become my body ::
no covering of fabric or image
the world enters our room through
the sentimental forgetfulness of building materials
:: no please or thank you when it comes to winter ::
even the overheating radiator is no match for this resolve
I’m wanting to burrow down and ask for a kind of forgiveness
there are parts of what I must call my heart
that I can only touch at times ::
unpredictable slide from one scale to the next
like now, I want to return
to the problem of the white plastic in the kites’ nest :: bully
:: strongest bird :: surviving egg ::
we let go what we create
:: detritus :: our restless imaginations ::
but I take more than I give up
:: I’ve met very little without protection,
without a little bit of defense ::
now I’m raw :: holding nothing across my chest
Excerpted from We Come Elemental by Tamiko Beyer with permission from the author. Copyright 2013. Published by Alice James Books.
Tamiko Beyer is the author of We Come Elemental from Alice James Books and bough breaks from Meritage Press. She is a winner of the Alice James Books Kinereth Gensler Award. A Kundiman fellow, her poems have appeared in The Volta, Octopus, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere. She is the Associate Communications Director at the Boston-based watchdog organization, Corporate Accountability International, where she harnesses the written word to challenge some of the most powerful and abusive corporations in the world.