50th ANNIVERSARY OF STONEWALL

Lee Mokobe

Lee Mokobe © Kaya Mtengwane

In his impressive performances slam poet Lee Mokobe (b. 1990 in Cape Town, South Africa) deals with social and political subjects and with his experiences as a black, transqueer member of the LGBT* community.

He is the founder and artistic director of the Vocal Revolutionaries, an organisation dedicated to nurturing new literary talent in Africa, and has won both an Adobe Creative Catalyst Prize and a fellowship from the Awesome Foundation.

Mokobe’s work has already been awarded many international prizes and is taught in various universities around the world. He is a three-time TED and TEDx speaker and in 2015 was the youngest ever recipient of a TED fellowship. The video clip of his performance reflecting on his transgender identity has been clicked on more than 1.5 million times.

Mokobe is currently working on his first collection of verse and teaching photography, poetry and film to young people from all over the world.


Awards:

Brave New Voices International Slam Poetry 1st Place, 2015

TED Fellow, 2015

Brave New Voices International Slam Poetry 2nd Place, 2014

Gold Medal-South African Youth Slam Champion, 2014

Jericho Brown

Jericho Brown © Mike Doyle

In his latest collection of poems, The Tradition (2019), Jericho Brown, who grew up in Louisiana, writes about the ambivalence of living in a country characterised by mass shootings and violent attacks on unarmed people by the police. In his poems, the body forms a place of refuge for living and surviving. At the heart of The New Testament (2014) Brown looks at what it is like living in the USA today as a black gay man. The collection won him the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was listed by the Library Journal, Coldfront and the Academy of American Poets as one of the best books of the year. His first collection of poems, Please, won the American Book Award in 2009.

Jericho Brown has won the Whiting Writers’ Award and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the National Endowment for the Arts.

His work has appeared in such places as Buzzfeed, The Nation, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Time and The Pushart Prize Anthology, as well as being included in several volumes of the anthology series The Best American Poetry. He teaches at Emory University in Atlanta as an Associate Professor and Head of the Creative Writing Program.


Publications:
Please, UPNE 2008

The New Testament, Copper Canyon Press 2014

The Tradition, Copper Canyon Press 2019


Awards (selection):

American Book Award 2009

Whiting Writers‘ Award 2009

Scholarship of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University 2009

National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Poetry 2011

Anisfield-Wolf Book Award 2014

Fellow of the Guggenheim Fellowship  2016

Angélica Freitas

Angélica Freitas © Bianca de sá

Angélica Freitas (b. 1973 in Pelotas, Brazil) is a journalist, editor and poet for whom conventions, whether literary or social, are suspect. In her poems she overcomes the rigid rules of traditional Brazilian poetry, preferring to recall poetry’s roots in oral culture. Poet Ricardo Domeneck places her in a line with Christian Morgenstern, the Dadaist Hans Arp and Gertrude Stein.

Her first solo collection of poetry, rilke shake, was published in 2007 and has been much translated. The English edition, translated by Hilary Kaplan, was published by Phoneme Media in the USA in 2015. Her collection Um útero é do tamanho de um punho, in which she takes a critical and humorous look at lesbian sexuality and challenges constructions of gender, followed in 2013.

Freitas' poems have been published in many journals and magazines around the world, including Granta, Modern Poetry in Translation and The White Review, as well as being included in many anthologies, including Poesia Gay Brasileira, the first compilation featuring poems by Brazilian LGBT writers. In 2012 she also published a graphic novel, Guadalupe, in collaboration with the artist Odyr Bernardi.


Publications (in Portugese):
rilke shake, Cosac Naify, São Paulo 2007

Um útero é do tamanho de um punho, Cosac Naify, São Paulo 2013

Guadalupe (with Odyr Bernardi), Companhia das Letras , São Paulo 2012

Urayoán Noel

Urayoán Noel © Luis Carle

Poet and artist Urayoán Noel (b. 1976 in Sancture, Puerto Rico) lives in the South Bronx and as a “stateless poet” leads the Nuyorican (an amalgam of New York and Puerto Rican) tradition in an installative-performative praxis for the age of the smartphone. His aesthetic thinking moves between the co-ordinates of print, body and web, with slam rhythms, the Latin Funk House Kenny Dopes and Rapflows Fat Jons, Big Puns and Oddateees hammering in the background. In syllable-step sonnets, decimes, anagrams configured by app, translations of himself and others done with speech-controlling and on his poetry vlog wokitokiteki.com, Noel explores ways to advance the mixing of English and Spanish-language poetry from the ambit of the Nuyorican Poets Café, which he also investigates theoretically as an Associate Professor at New York University.

Noel sees poems as “unstatements”. What he is looking for are identity-critical text events which propagate unbelongings, whether to nations, territories, categories of text or genre, gender norms, languages or other “syndromes”. His experiences of New York’s queer community also come into it. These text events take place for just a short time in a body that is understood as being deterritorialised, which is also involved in artistic collaborations with choreography, dance, music and composition, etc.


Publications (selection):

Buzzing Hemisphere / Rumor Hemisférico, University of Arizona Press 2015

In Visible Movement. Nuyorican Poetry from the Sixties to Slam, University of Iowa Press 2014

Hi-Density Politics, BlazeVOX 2010

Kool Logic/La lógica kool, Bilingual Press 2005

Translations:

Pablo de Rokha: Architecture of Dispersed Life. Selected Poetry, Shearsman Books 2018

Wingston González: No Budu Please, Ugly Duckling Presse 2018

Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki

Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki © Marta Sputowska

Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki (b. 1962 in Wólka Krowicka near Lubaczów) is the great outsider in contemporary Polish poetry. He is a poète maudit par excellence. His texts grow wild at the edge of language, telling of his mother’s schizophrenia, of the death of his friend, of the mouths of callboys and of Lublin brothels.

Tkaczyszyn-Dycki was influenced by Ukranian culture and language even as a child. These encounters have left their traces in his work to this day and express his fascination with sound and with language. His poems are an exciting blend of old-fashioned and contemporary Polish, in which words encompass fundamental and elementary human experiences such as sorrow, loneliness and death.

Tkaczyszyn-Dycki has received many prizes and awards for his 17 collections of poetry and one volume of prose, including the 2009 Nike Literature Prize, Poland’s most prestigious literary award.


Publications (in Polish):

Nenia i inne wiersze, 1990

Przewodnik dla bezdomnych niezależnie od miejsca zamieszkania, 2000

Zaplecze, 2002

Dzieje Rodzin Polskich, 2005

Piosenka o zależnościach i uzależnieniac, 2008

Oddam wiersze w dobre rece, 2010

Imię i znamię, 2011

Podaj dalej, 2012

Kochanka Norwida, 2014

Piosenka o zaleznosciach i uzaleznieniach, 2016


Awards:

Babara Sadowska Literature Award 1995

Award of the Deutsch-Polnische Literaturtage in Dresden 1998

Gdynia Literary Award 2006

Hubert-Burda-Preis 2007

Wrocław Poetry Award „Silesius“ 2012

Edmund White

Edmund White © Andrew Fladeboe

Edmund White (b. 1940 in Cincinnati, USA) is one of the most significant gay writers of the 20th Century. With other writers he founded the Violet Quill group in the early 1980s, which had a profound influence on gay literature in the USA. His book States of Desire (1980), a survey of gay life in the USA at the beginning of the gay liberation movement, attracted international attention for White.

As a novelist he is best known for his semi-autobiographical trilogy A Boy's Own Story (1992), The Beautiful Room Is Empty (1988) and The Farewell Symphony (1997). His novels and autobiographical books made him the literary chronicler of gay life in the USA.

When he was a cultural correspondent in Paris he also published internationally-respected biographies of Jean Genet, Arthur Rimbaud and Marcel Proust.

Since 1990 he has lived in New York and teaches at Princeton University and elsewhere. White has been awarded many prizes for his literary work, including the Award for Literature of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Book Critics Circle Award and in 2018 the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction.

 

Publications (selection):

The Joy of Gay Sex, with Charles Silverstein, Crown Publishing 1977, dt. Die Freuden der Schwulen.

Ein Handbuch zum Leben und Lieben, Gmünder 1989

States of Desire, Dutton Adul 1980, dt. Staaten der Sehnsucht, S. Fischer 1982

A Boy's Own Story, Modern Library 1982, dt. Selbstbildnis eines Jünglings, Kindler 1990

The Beautiful Room Is Empty, Knopf 1988), dt. Und das schöne Zimmer ist leer, Kindler 1991

The Burning Library: Writings on Art, Politics and Sexuality 1969-1993, Knopf 1994, dt. Die

brennende Bibliothek. Essays, Kindler 1996

The Farewell Symphony, Knopf, 1997, dt. Abschiedssymphonie, Kindler 2000

The Flâneur: A Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris, Bloomsbury 2008

Hotel de Dream, Bloomsbury 2008, dt. Männerschwarm Verlag 2015

Jack Holmes and His Friend, Bloomsbury 2012, dt. Jack Holmes und sein Freund, Gmünder 2012

City Boy. My Life in New York during the 1960s and '70s, Bloomsbury 2009, dt. City Boy. Mein Leben

in New York, Albino Verlag 2015

Our Young Man, Bloomsbury 2016

The Unpunished Vice: A Life of Reading, Bloomsbury 2018

Eileen Myles

Eileen Myles © Shae Detar

Eileen Myles (b. 1949 in Cambridge, Massachusetts) began their career as a poet in the New York City of the 1970s, where they were influenced by the second generation of writers of the New York School including James Schuyler, Alice Notley and Bernadette Mayer. They did their first readings in CBGB‘s, the famed club in the East Village of Manhattan, where such bands as the Ramones, Patti Smith, Johnny Thunders and Blondie played. They are now something like a rock star in the American poetry scene. The backs of their books carry blurbs by the likes of Lena Dunham and Kim Gordon. Myles describe themselves as “an angry white lesbian wandering through the burning streets”, as a “bastard poet from the conservative diaspora” who came to New York City to stir things up. They certainly succeeded in that in their incomparable way, with their typical short-lined, laconic style and to date 20 books of verse to their name.

Publications (selection):

Chelsea Girls, Black Sparrow Press 1994                                                                                      

Must Be Living Twice: New and Selected Poems 1975-2014, Ecco Press 2015

Afterglow (a dog memoir), Grove Press 2017

Evolution, Grove Press 2018