Queer voices breaking the norms with the power of poetry

Poetry is way cooler than you may think, and KET Magazine is here to prove it by presenting two queer poets and their stunning literary works. Unconventional, bold and powerful is an understatement when it comes to the poems of this week artists.

dayliGht by Roya Marsh

Roya Marsh, a poet, performance artist, educator and activist who grew up in New York, was always considered tomboyish with her affinity for baggy clothes and bandanas. From a young age, she felt she doesn’t fit into the heteronormative world where a butch girl at best could only be considered “funny-looking”. 

She is well known for her no-bullshit straight to the point slam poetry that tackles LGBTQI+ injustice. For her, poetry is the language of the oppressed and with her electrifying spoken word performances; she is lifting up queer people while dismantling white supremacy.

Growing up, Roya didn’t see her represented in any way, so evidently her 2020 stunning debut explores what it is to be a butch black girl in modern day America? dayliGht talks about butchness, queerness and blackness meanwhile deals with the traumas of the past such as sexual abuse and suicidal thoughts and feelings. In lush, powerful, and vulnerable verses, dayliGht also reveals a deep well of resilience and joy, a cutting sense of irony, and an astonishing fresh talent.Tip: get the audiobook version to experience Roya’s outstanding performance of her beautiful poems.

Dear Herculine – Aaron Apps

Aaron Apps is a doctoral student in English literature at Brown University studying poetry and poetics, and the history of intersex literature. His poetic works Intersex and Dear Herculine, both published in 2015 centre around the experience of being, living in an intersex body.

Dear Herculine is sort of a series of letters written by Aaron to Herculine Barbin, one of the most famous intersex person who lived and tragically died in the late 19th century and who was forced to undergo medical examinations to determine her “true sex and gender identity”.

The poems are conveying experiences from two different people (Aron and Herculine), from two different centuries (19th and 21st) but in their essence they aim to make us understand what it is to live in the “ungendered body” and how can one overcome the shame that is forced upon it by mainstream society.

Although Dear Herculine is a tough and emotional read, its unique prose is like a literary bomb exploded in the reader’s brain. The poems of Aaron Apps are so creative, so visual and so radical but what makes them so powerful is the empathy they evoke in those who read them. 

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Bogat’s recommendations in KET Talks podcast episode 05