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14 January 2011, 12:00 pm 6 Comments

Poetry: Three Queer YouTube Poems for Friday

This post was submitted by John "Jolly" Bavoso

Photo credit: AndreaGibson.org/Casie Zalud

Turns out YouTube is good for something other than keeping current on the latest viral and music videos. Who knew? In fact,  it’s possible to find some incredibly moving (if tragically overlooked) spoken word poems, if you’re willing to do a little digging. I’ve been known to spend entire hours down a YouTube rabbit hole, watching poet after poet blow me away with his or her words. So I’ve done the digging for you and below are three of my current queer-themed favorites to help you pass the time this Friday.

While I’ve already espoused my fanboy love of Stacyanne Chin in a previous post, these are some recent-ish finds (for me – the poems themselves are not necessarily new). While the themes may be diverse, I realize the characteristics of the poets themselves are not (my personal preference is for female slam poets, sorry). But that’s where you come in! Offer up your favorites in the comments below and we’ll feature them in a future post!

“Ashes” by Andrea Gibson

Gibson is considered a goddess among slam poets. This particular piece was inspired by the story of a gay soldier who was burned to death for being queer. Its power is further augmented by a soundtrack provided by queer folk musician and TNG favorite Chris Pureka.

“The Magician is a Drag King” by Marty McConnell

McConnell is a favorite poet of mine who often works in series of poems. This particular piece is from a series that uses the tarot deck to tell the stories of individuals whose sexuality lies outside of the mainstream. It  is a defiant and swaggering celebration of gender performance and identity. (Note: Language NSFW.)

“Boy” by Jeanann Verlee

For the straight ally perspective, I turn to Verlee, who wrote this poem as a tribute to her gay brother and their hardscrabble youth. (Note: Language NSFW.)

**Bonus** “The Hierophant’s a Bear” by Marty McConnell

In honor of it being MAL Weekend in DC, here’s a quick poem also from McConnell’s tarot series that celebrates the hairy among us.

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  • Holly said:

    Regie Cabico — “What Kind of Guys Are Attracted to Me”

  • Selby said:

    Here is a great one about being trans:


  • Selby said:

    Sorry, I guess since the theme is losing time to YouTube, I should have posted the link to the YouTube copy of the poem. The piece is titled “Hir” and is co-performed by two young poets.


  • Selby said:

    Another from the brilliant and amazing Karen Finneyfrock:


  • Selby said:

    And yet another from the fantastic Ela Barton:


  • Selby said:

    I could keep going and going because not only does the Seattle Slam community have some crazy powerful poets, but our local poetry scene is also strongly LGBTQ. If you don’t mind another YouTube rabbit hole, then there is a pretty healthy collection of Seattle poets and Seattle Slam nights that can all be found online. In fact, two of my favorites – Karen Finneyfrock and Tara Hardy (the founder of Bent, a queer writing institute) – performed as part of the same Salt Lines Tour which is the source of the video you posted of “Ashes” by Andrea Gibson.