Poetry & Creative Writing

Poetry & Creative Writing In the AIDS Library

Here are some of the books of poetry and short-form creative writing available for check-out in the AIDS Library.

  • Americano, by Emanuel Xavier – A collection of poems by a gay Latino poet
  • Angels In America, Parts One and Two, by Tony Kushner – An epic “gay fantasia on national themes”
  • Beyond Definition: New Writing from Gay and Lesbian San Francisco, edited by Marci Blackman and Trebor Healey – A collection of poems, stories, and other literary offerings concerning lesbian and gay experiences
  • Blood Whispers: L.A. Writers on AIDS, edited by Terry Wolverton – An anthology of stories and poetry by writers who have been affected by HIV/AIDS
  • Brother to Brother, edited by Essex Hemphill and conceived by Joseph Beam – Stories and poetry by Black Gay men
  • City Lights Review, edited by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Nancy J. Peters – A collection of varied literary works with a portion specifically addressing the cultural response to AIDS
  • Confronting AIDS through Literature: The Responsibilities of Representation, edited by Judith Laurence Pastore – Part 2 of this book contains literature, including poetry, regarding AIDS
  • Does Your House Have Lions?, By Sonia Sanchez – An epic poem on a family affected by the death of a brother from AIDS
  • An Immediate Desire to Survive, by Bill Becker – An 18th-month diary in verse beginning with the author’s first suspicions he has contracted AIDS
  • In the Life, edited by Joseph Beam – The groundbreaking collection of fiction, poetry, and theater on being black and gay in America
  • Las Marcas/The Markers, by John Michael Irwin – Poems about grief and life in the age of AIDS
  • Poets for Life, edited by Michael Klein – A selection of poetry about AIDS, its effects and people’s responses
  • Persistent Voices, edited by Philip Clark and David Groff – A collection of poetry from 45 celebrated poets lost to AIDS
  • Rent, by Jonathan Larson – The complete book and lyrics of the Broadway musical about bohemians in Lower East Side NYC
  • Unending Dialogue: Voices from an AIDS Poetry Workshop, by Rachel Hadas – Essays, prose and poetry in response to AIDS, mostly written during a poetry workshop given at Gay Men’s Health Crisis in New York City

Poetry & Creative Writing in Philadelphia

There are many places in Philadelphia where poets and writers have get their work read.  These are some organizations that run creative writing events or collect information about such events.  Note that none are HIV/AIDS-specific.  Click on the links for locations, times, and other details.

The William Way Center hosts a free “Queer Writers’ Collective” on the 4th Saturday of every month at 4pm.

The website of the organization First Person Arts has information about

The Philadelphia Poetry Collective’s News Page has info on open mic events and other readings.

The Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement’s Events Page has readings, workshops, and poetry slams.

The Free Library of Philadelphia’s Monday Poets Series includes some open mic events along with readings from talented local and regional poets.

PhillyPoetry.com Calendar lists upcoming events in the greater Philadelphia area.

Poetry & Creative Writing About HIV/AIDS Online

These are websites where you can read poetry and creative writing related to HIV/AIDS, and some where readers can submit writing to be published online.

As with almost any topic, The Body.com has a wealth of resources, including:

United Methodist Global Ministries publishes a collection of scripture, poems, prayers, reflections, journal excerpts, and other devotional resources that relate to HIV/AIDS ministry.

The Official AIDS Awareness Poets website features poetry about HIV/AIDS, and accepts submissions to be published on the website.

All Poetry is a website that allows users to submit poetry about any topic including HIV/AIDS, and includes an active community of users giving feedback on each other’s poems.  To sign up and submit poetry click here.

Online Info About Getting Published

The following websites are not HIV/AIDS-specific or Philadelphia-specific.  They are meant to be places to start for anyone interested in getting their writing published.

A general search on the web for tips on getting writing published will result in many commercial sites.  Here are a few publishing advice websites that aren’t trying to make money off users:

To find a writing program or workshop, see the website of The Association of Writers & Writing Programs.

There are many books on creative writing and on getting published.  This is outside the realm of the AIDS Library’s collection, but click here to see Some Highlights of the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Collection.

The PEN American Center has a Prison Writing Program with details on:

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