Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Celebrate Queer Poetry! YOUR Favorites and Mine: Robert Friend's "Shirts"

It's National Poetry Month, and while there are a world of poems and blogs and other poetry-happy sites up, I had to include some great Queer Poems here at "I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I Read?"

And I'm curious - what are some of YOUR favorite GLBTQ poems of all time? Let me know (in "comments" or in "contact me"), and I'll post some of YOUR favorite Queer poems this month, along with some of MY favorites.

To start the month's celebration off right, here's one I love:


Rereading Cavafy I suddenly remembered
my own Ionian Sea, and a steamer
plying between the islands.
And I remembered, amidst the passengers
crowding the deck of the steamer,
a handsome young Greek
wearing a shirt I very much admired,
and he in turn admiring mine.

We took off our shirts then and there
and exchanged them.

I wore his shirt next to my skin
for many years.
But it was never the same on my body
as on his, and he was not there
to take it off.

Robert Friend was a poet and translator, whose longing for and love of men soaked into some amazing poems. There's a great entry here at glbtq.com on his life.

I found this poem on pg. 144 of "Gay Love Poetry" edited by Neil Powell. The copyright is held by Jean Shapiro Cantu.

Now it's your turn! What are some of YOUR favorite Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Poems of all time? Let's celebrate them - by sharing them!


Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

I received this today (April 16, 2008):

I just noticed that you included my late uncle Robert Friend's poem "Shirts" in your blog. I inherited the copyright to my uncle's poems and translations ten years ago. You have my permission to include the poem (and I'm delighted that you are a fan of his work and are familiar with his biography). I'd appreciate your including the following credit: copyright Jean Shapiro Cantu. I'm currently working on a Wikipedia entry.

I am so pleased at how gracious Jean was in letting the poem remain here.


Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

An update on April 24, 2008:

Dear Lee: I have finally completed my Wikipedia entry on my uncle. Here it is:


Thanks so much for your interest in RF. All best, Jean