Read Proud: Poetry for Adults

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Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh engages all of our communities in literacy and learning. Check out the titles below for contemporary poetry of LGBTQIA+ individuals and ask your local librarian for more.

Build Yourself a Boat

This is about what grows through the wreckage. This is an anthem of survival and a look at what might come after. A view of what floats and what, ultimately, sustains. Build Yourself a Boat redefines the language of collective and individual trauma through lyric and memory. You can also check out this title as eBook on Hoopla.

Doomstead Days

Doomstead Days is a lyrical series of experiments in embodied ecological consciousness. Drafted on foot, these site-specific poems document rivers, cities, forests, oil spills, mountains, and apocalyptic visions. They encounter refineries and urban watersheds, megafauna and industrial toxins, each encounter intertwining ordinary life and ongoing environmental crisis. Through these poems, we experience the pleasure and pain of being a body during global climate change. You can also check out this title as eBook on Hoopla.


Evolution follows the author’s critically acclaimed Afterglow, as well as a volume of selected poems, I Must Be Living Twice. In these new poems, we find the eminent, exuberant writer at the forefront of American literature, upending genre in a new vernacular that radiates insight, purpose, and risk while channeling of Quakers, Fresca, and cell phones. You can also check out this title as eBook on Hoopla.

Homie: Poems

Rooted in the loss of one of Smith’s close friends, this book comes out of the search for joy and intimacy within a nation where both can seem scarce and getting scarcer. In poems of rare power and generosity, Smith acknowledges that in a country overrun by violence, xenophobia, and disparity, and in a body defined by race, queerness, and diagnosis, it can be hard to survive, even harder to remember reasons for living. But then the phone lights up, or a shout comes up to the window, and family–blood and chosen–arrives with just the right food and some redemption. You can also check out this title as eAudiobook on Hoopla and as eBook on Overdrive/Libby.

Hustling Verse: Anthology of Sex Workers’ Poetry

More than fifty self-identified sex workers from all walks of the industry (survival and trade, past and present) explore their lived experience through the expressive nuance and beauty of poetry. In a variety of forms ranging from lyrics to list poems to found poetry to hybrid works, these authors express themselves with the complexity, agency, and honesty that sex workers are rarely afforded. You can also check out this title as eBook on Hoopla.

Odes to Lithium

In this remarkable debut, Shira Erlichman pens a love letter to Lithium, her medication for Bipolar Disorder. With inventiveness, compassion, and humor, she thrusts us into a world of unconventional praise. These are necessary odes to self-acceptance, resilience, and the jagged path toward healing. With startling language, and accompanied by her bold drawings and collages, she gives us a sparkling, original view into what makes us human. You can also check out this title as eBook on Hoopla.

Soft Science

Soft Science explores queer, Asian American femininity. A series of Turing Test-inspired poems grounds its exploration of questions not just of identity, but of consciousness–how to be tender and feeling and still survive a violent world filled with artificial intelligence and automation. We are dropped straight into the tangled intersections of technology, violence, erasure, agency, gender, and loneliness. You can also check out this title as eBook on Hoopla.

The Tradition

Brown’s poetic concerns are both broad and intimate, and at their very core a distillation of the incredibly human. Brown makes mythical pastorals to question the terrors to which we’ve become accustomed, and to celebrate how we survive. Poems of fatherhood, legacy, blackness, queerness, worship, and trauma are propelled into stunning clarity by Brown’s mastery, and his invention of the duplex–a combination of the sonnet, the ghazal, and the blues–is testament to his formal skill. You can also check out this title as eAudiobook on Overdrive/Libby, as eBook on Hoopla, and as eBook on Overdrive/Libby.