cover image Queer Nature

Queer Nature

Edited by Michael Walsh. Autumn House, $24.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-6376

This significant anthology features three centuries’ worth of more than 200 LGBTQ poets’ writing on the natural world. Walsh defines nature poetry broadly and deeply. “Many of these poems,” he explains in his introduction, discuss “appetite, body, death, desire, gender, habitat, home, hope, love, metamorphosis, monstrosity, nation, race, and of course, sex.” At the heart of his project are two questions: “Who belongs here and why? Who and what gets to be natural?” Walsh’s contributors provide luminous, curious variations, answers, hypotheses, and questions of their own. June Jordan observes a “profusion of certain/ unidentified roses... abiding in perpetual near riot... and... promiscuous cross-fertilization.” Robert Duncan’s tells of a meadow “that is a place of first permission.” Audre Lorde speaks of an “ill-pulled tooth with a ragged edge.” Indeed, in many of these poems, the body becomes the landscape. “What would it feel like if I loved/ this body?” Jubi Arriola-Headley asks, “Like I was/ a beacon, a craze, &/ folk flocked to me, flies to honey,/ maggots to rotting flesh.” This beautifully curated anthology reshapes the genre of nature poetry and awakens readers to its richness. (Apr.)