From my perspective, it is always contentious when an effort is made to present the collected work of artists in the context of their race, sexuality, or gender. I understand affirmative action as a process that is necessary to disrupt the cis/white/male axis of power and focus of attention — both within the art world and outside of it — and I likewise cherish the naive hope that one day the mechanics of carving out space for, say, queer poets of color, can give way to a natural diversity within the canon, leaving room only for great poetry. Because, as anyone can tell you after being forcefully subjected to some of the really boring white male poets held up as masters of the form, reading poetry out of duty or obligation is an odious undertaking.
Happily, the writers featured in Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color, published by Nightboat and edited by Christopher Soto, were not chosen based on their gender, sexuality, or race. This might come as a surprise, given the prominence these categories hold in the anthology’s marketing, and the mission of the online journal, founded by Soto, from which the poems are drawn.
Read more here…
(image by Irmand Trujillo, courtesy of Christopher Soto)