There is something inherently beautiful in the acting of transing language itself; tearing Chaucerian English apart and putting it all back together in order to make it acknowledge you, in order to make space for an existence of a nature considered nonexistent.
We look to poetry to put into words tragedies and love and heartbreak in a way that tides over grief, in a way that documents every iota of trauma and lets you know: “hey, you’ll be making it through this.” There’s a reason my copies of “madness” and “bury it” are well-thumbed through, especially with the kind of year we’ve been instilled with.
We are creatures inclined to include far more in letters we believe no one can ever read, to pack far stronger punches in raw words untranslated, mistranslated. Rare it is to find artists willing to break apart the too messy too pretty too heavy experience of displacement, in both body and immigration, and Ocean Vuong does so masterfully.
Ah, where would I be without Faggots and their Friends Between Revolutions? “There is more to be learned from wearing a dress for a day than wearing a suit for a lifetime,” Larry Mitchell once wrote, and I’d be hard pressed to find any other quote that has stayed with me for this long as a comfort.
Richard Bruce Nuget
Be it the sharp cut figures of his art set in gorgeous black and white, or the syncopation emotion that bleeds deep in “Smoke, Lilies, and Jade”, I’ve found Nuget’s works – as one of the very first published gay authors – to be enticing in its deeply heartfelt approach.
Junpei Tarashi is currently considering the life cycle of fruit flies, and how desperately they tried not to include Richard Siken on this list. Their most recent work has appeared in After Happy Hour, and they’re currently the editor-in-chief at the Agapanthus Collective.