Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Collective Brightness

Subtitled LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion & Spirituality, the anthology is edited by Kevin Simmonds, published by Sibling Rivalry Press. The first part of my "Bull Eclogues" is reprinted; it looks helpless without the rest of the sequence. I think I may have made a poor decision to publish one part on its own. Many countries are represented in the anthology. I am amused to see Singapore listed immediately after the United States on the back cover. There are three of us in the anthology: Irfan Kasban, Cyril Wong and me. Gay. Singaporean. Poets. No women. It's a shame.

The anthology is very lightly edited. The poems are organized by the poets' names in alphabetical order. The introduction claims a number of firsts, but says little about queer poets' take on spirituality, beyond the general affirmation that through this book queer poetry has taken its place at religion's table. It has nothing to say about the historical relationship between queer poetry and religious faith. No mention even of Whitman and Dickinson, the obvious American precedents. The gap is perhaps just as well since the anthology's ambition is very modest. It aims to provide the general reader with an assortment of poems written by queer poets on matters religious. The poems, without any kind of contextualization, are left to fend for themselves. One that does it well is Benjamin Grossberg's "Beetle Orgy," which gives the anthology its name.

No comments: