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yet the reader in me still bristles at the disorganization— the random-feeling tracklist— of a collection that is billed as ‘a must-have book for all’ as one blurb puts it. I’m all for abundance, but where Black Nature shines in cultivating intersectional and intergenerational black voices in a space that feels at all times meaningfully curated, Queer Nature suffers a bit from it’s untended distension. Where this collection truly shines is in the inclusion of lesser known contemporary poets, like the aforementioned Jensen and Ang, as well as other newcomers like Kayleb Ray Candrilli and Aaron Apps. It’s a good idea to place these types of voices along with more established living contemporaries like Phillips and Ocean Vuong along with the passed away giants of the 20th and 19th centuries, and I enjoyed the experience of seeing poems I’ve encountered and liked on Twitter share the same binding as Audre Lorde’s Diving Into The Wreck, Elizabeth Bishop’s Song For The Rainy Season, and Emily Dickinson’s Could I but ride indefinite.

And these poems do speak to each other, if sometimes at a strange remove. As Walsh notes in his introduction, the dynamic speaker in Benjamin Garcia’s Ode to the Corpse Flower is certainly gazing backwards with a few words for Walt Whitman. And Whitman certainly has some things to say back through the abyss: his morbid fascination with the rotting meat beneath the soil in This Compost is beautifully paired with Garcia’s rumination on the Corpse Flower (“fuck Whitman fuck pound // give me Emily D”). But as Whitman declares “I will run a furrough with my plow, I will press my spade through the sod and turn it up underneath,” I can’t help but wish to read a reply from William Blake, himself a sort of queer ecopoet, reaching across another century, and over an ocean entreating Whitman to “drive your cart and plow over the bones of the dead.” And this is where I’m left as a reader of Queer Nature: wanting a bit less from this collection, in order to glean a bit more.



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