Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color
Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color
Christopher Soto,  editor

Christopher Soto

Poetry | $16.95
paperback, 224 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
Publication Date: forthcoming 2018
ISBN: 978-1-937658-78-6

The first major literary anthology for queer poets of color in the United States

In 2014, Christopher Soto and Lambda Literary Foundation founded the online journal Nepantla, with the mission to nurture, celebrate, and preserve diversity within the queer poetry community, including contributions as diverse in style and form, as the experiences of QPOC in the United States. Now, Nepantla will appear for the first time in print as a survey of poetry by queer poets of color throughout U.S. history, including literary legends such as Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, June Jordan, Ai, and Pat Parker alongside contemporaries such as Natalie Diaz, Ocean Vuong, Danez Smith, Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, Robin Coste Lewis, Joy Harjo, Richard Blanco, Erika L. Sánchez, Jericho Brown, Carl Phillips, Tommy Pico, Eduardo C. Corral, Chen Chen, and more!

"Soto (Sad Girl Poems), a cofounder of the Undocupoets campaign and founder of the eponymous online journal at Lambda Literary, reaches back as far as the Harlem Renaissance to offer a taste of the past century’s “queer of color literary history.” In the introduction, Soto cites Gloria E. Anzaldúa as the source of the journal’s name, which, she writes, is “a Nahuatl word meaning tierra entre medio.” The intention is to convey “the feeling of shifting between various communities and identities,” Soto notes, and the work he reproduces here duly follows that premise. Lighter-hearted, more joyful pieces (Danez Smith, Justin Chin) abut works of emotional turmoil (Paul Tran, Luther Hughes), just as challenging language experiments (Fatima Espiritu, Akilah Oliver) appear amid elegant lyrics (Ocean Vuong, Donika Kelly). According to Soto, three elements were considered in choosing the more than 100 poems included here: a poem’s emotionality, the risks a poet is taking, and whether the poet has been “absolutely pivotal to development of other queer of color poets.” Soto also recognizes the limitations of such an anthology, particularly in regards to the nebulous nature of defining terms of identity and ways included poets self-identify, as well as the various ways the work may be seen by other members of related communities in the U.S. and internationally. Despite these caveats, Soto succeeds in assembling an expansive, sonorous, and literarily significant volume that reveals the broad range of engagements queer poets of color have undertaken over the years."—Publishers Weekly

"Below is a timeline of contributions by queer and trans black poets since the Harlem Renaissance. This article is focused specifically on the literature of queer black poets because American racism was built from the start off of anti-blackness and anti-indigeneity. Many of these poets were not only visionary writers, but also freedom fighters, survivors, legends, and proof that the vital poetry of queer black artists has shaped the world of American letters. All are featured in the Nepantla anthology."—Lithub

"The future owes so much to the work that Ren Hang produced during his lifetime. The braveness of Ren’s life is inspiring. He constantly risked arrest with his nude photographs that broke Chinese censorship laws and his poetry depicted the emotional and sexual intimacy and isolation of queer life in China, where queer people are not always treated with much respect or reverence. Ren was a hero to many people across the world and it’s my hope that his prolific work continues to seep into the public in the years to come."DAZED

"Critique and poetics and pleasure. These three components, so important to queer of color expression, queer of color being, take center stage in the recently published anthology, Nepantla: An Anthology for Queer Poets of Color. Edited by Christopher Soto, the anthology draws from the past 100 years of queer of color poetry, beginning with poets like Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen, moving towards the end of the century with Audre Lorde, Assotto Saint, and Nikki Giovanni, then following through with those writing in our contemporary moment, such as Caleb Luna, Ryka Aoki, and Ronaldo V. Wilson."—Los Angeles Review 

Queer Poets on the Meaning of Pride in Poetry Foundation

What to Read When You're Queer and of Color During Pride featuring Nepantla

Interview with ed. Christopher Soto in the Chicago Review of Books

The Implications of Preposition: An Interview with Christopher Soto

Interview with ed. Christopher Soto in Poetry Society of America

Interview with ed. Christopher Soto in Kenyon Review