The Queer South nominated for a Lambda Book Award

THE QUEER SOUTH anthology keeps getting accolades. Today it garnered a Lambda Book Award nomination, and earlier this year it made the American Library Association’s top ten LGBT Over the Rainbow titles. My two poems in that anthology, “Brave” and “Spirit Animal Chant”, deal with the trouble of reconciling multiple identities while growing up in West Virginia. Douglas Ray, the editor, deserves a big shout of praise for assembling this Sibling Rivalry Press collection, which features Dorothy Allison, Richard Blanco, and many others. Congtatulations, Douglas!


Moonstone Poetry, 2/25: SCANLON, McQUAIN, JUEDS


Wed., Feb. 25, 2015 – 7:00-9:00 pm – Fergie’s Pub, 2nd Floor, Philadelphia. Moonstone Reading with Kasey Jueds, Kelly McQuain & Eizabeth Scanlon. Hosted by Suzan Jivan.

Elizabeth Scanlon is the Editor of The American Poetry Review. Her most recent chapbook is Odd Regard (ixnay press, 2013). Her poems have appeared in many magazines, including Boston Review, Colorado Review, and Ploughshares.

Kelly McQuain is the author of Velvet Rodeo, winner of Bloom Books’ poetry chapbook prize. He has twice held fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and his work has been published most recently in The Pinch, Painted Bride Quarterly and Kestrel as well as the anthologies Rabbit Ears: TV Poems, Drawn to Marvel: Poems from the Comic Books, The Queer South and Best American Erotica. His criticism appears in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Good Men Project and A&U (Art & Understanding).

Kasey Jueds’ first book of poems, Keeper, won the 2012 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press. Her poetry has appeared in numerous publications, including Beloit Poetry Journal, Prairie Schooner, Manhattan Review, Salamander, Crab Orchard Review, Women’s Review of Books, and 5AM; it has also been featured on Public Radio International’s “The Writer’s Almanac.” Jueds has been awarded residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Soapstone, and the Ucross Foundation. She has new work forthcoming in The American Poetry Review.

What’s the big deal about The Queer South?

This morning I learned that THE QUEER SOUTH anthology made the American Library Association’s top ten LGBT Over the Rainbow titles. I have two poems in that anthology, edited by Douglas Ray. (It features the likes of Dorothy Allison and Richard Blanco.)  In celebration, I think I’ll add those poems to my Monday Poets reading tonight at the Free Library with Amy Small-McKinney. Details here:

Sibling Rivalry Press did an outstanding job overall this year with the ALA and full-length books by their talented poets. SRP’s editor notes the other titles in the message below:

“Sibling Rivalry Press featured (again and again—6 more times!) in the American Library Association’s Over the Rainbow list of recommended LGBT literature.

THE QUEER SOUTH (ed. Douglas Ray) made the TOP 10.
THE EROTIC POSTULATE (Matthew Hittinger)
GOD OF LONGING (Brent Calderwood)
PRIME ( Darrel Alejandro Holnes, Saeed Jones, Rickey Laurentiis, Phillip B. Williams, and L. Lamar Wilson)
JOY EXHAUSTIBLE – ASSARACUS #14 (eds. Bryan Borland and Seth Pennington).

We couldn’t be more proud.” — SRP

Read the entire list:

Monday Poets at the Free Library: McQuain & Small-McKinney

February 2, 2015 – 6:30, Kelly McQuain and Amy Small-McKinney

Kelly McQuain’s writing has appeared in many venues, ranging from the Philly Inquirer to the Painted Bride Quarterly to Drawn to Marvel: Poems from the Comic Books to The Queer South. His chapbook, Velvet Rodeo, recently won BLOOM magazine’s poetry prize. He has twice received fellowships from the Penn. Council on the Arts. Visit him at

Amy Small-McKinney is the author of a collection of poems, Life is Perfect, and two chapbooks of poetry, Body of Surrender and Clear Moon, Frost. Her poems have appeared in many journals, including The American Poetry Review. In 2014 she won the Open Reading Competition at the Green Line Reading & Interview Series. The prize for this is also a prize for Monday Poets, which has the honor of having her here to read for us.

Monday Poets Reading Series: The Free Library is pleased to present The Monday Poets on the first Monday of the month, October through April. Now in its 19th year, it showcases a variety of talented local and regional poets. Readings take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Room 108 of the Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine Street. Copies of the Featured Poets’ books may be purchased at the readings. For additional information, please call the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Literature Department at 215-686-5402.

Hosted by Lamont Dixon.


Speaking of Marvels: Chapbook Reviews

This week Speaking of Marvels, a site that publishes interviews by chapbook authors, published an interview with me about the creation and publication of Velvet Rodeo. Other recent interviews have include poets Danez Smith, Allison Joseph and Elizabeth Savage. For anyone interested in the creation, production, and marketing of chapbooks, the site reveals the various processes and provides sample poems by the authors. Click here to read the review:


Lots of shout-outs in the interview to those folks tagged.

Peter and Jane Learn about Satire

You really don’t want to get me started on discussing satire. Because then I will have to talk about my experience with the Best American Erotica series, Batman, and Simon & Schuster. And then I’d probably have to expand into why the Sony Bono copyright extension act is a death knell for artistic creativity. And you don’t want to hear that. You don’t. So instead, enjoy the story of this lovely pair of artists being sued in the UK. Good times!


From Miriam and Ezra Elia’s We Go to the Gallery.

My Poem for the New Year

A Talisman of Possibilities

There was a sense of dread and impending doom I carried with me so many wasted days of 2014. Did you ever feel it, too? A balloon of dread tethered invisibly to my wrist, a skulking cloud that accompanied me like a shadow. Tonight is the night we hope to let go of such things. We put on our brave, expectant face for the New Year and hope to let old haunts fade. In Philly, the Mummers will be marching tomorrow down Broad Street. This year they’ll be turning east onto Washington Avenue, passing a stone’s throw from our door as they head to Two Street for the after-party. I don’t know if we’ll end up among them, or at a friend’s house. And I don’t know where I’ll be at the end of 2015, either. I just hope there is joy in the journey.

“Two Street, After the Parade”

The rattle of empties beneath your feet
is drowned by banjo strums and saxophone strains,
hoots and shouts, a glockenspiel’s refrain
of “Oh, Dem Golden Slippers”—a string band mumming
with a group of feathered Fancies
dancing in a riot of orange, purple and red. Alive,
this flash of sequins and Day-Glo parasols,
the bright grime of greasepaint that insulates skin
against the day’s cold drizzling plunge
into the coming night’s gloaming. All around you,
kids hoisted atop shoulders, sticky-fingered,
cotton candy glowing like blue beehive hair-dos bobbing above
the crush of paraders and spectators
all jostling so tightly onto narrow Two Street they merge.
Your breath specters the freezing air.
Today, you take your pleasure in random friends: an invitation
back to someone’s cousin’s house
for homemade meatball hoagies: the lot of you,
the lost of you, threading through tossed kettle corn,
bleating plastic horns, pink webs of Silly String
that knit people together only to come
instantly undone. Back slaps, laughter, a spilled beer
disaster narrowly averted by a frantic gulp.
Maybe next year there won’t be fistfights
at Thanksgiving. Maybe next year
no skipped visits come Christmas. Today, a New Year
pours like whiskey into all the unforgiven
pockets of the old—the lost chances, the missed-outs,
what never was—suddenly brushed aside
by an opening door, a welcome warmth, a stranger’s
unexpected joyful kiss hello:
a talisman of possibilities

–Kelly McQuain

A poem for a Philadelphia New Year, courtesy of The Fox Chase Review.

Photo by: