BOOKS OF POETRY BY JOAN LARKIN
My Body: New and Selected Poems
Hanging Loose Press, 2007
My Body: New and Selected Poems, winner of The Publishing Triangle’s 2008 Audre Lorde Award, is Joan’s first book since the 1997 Lambda Award-winning Cold River. My Body includes substantial selections from previous books and more than 40 new poems. Order My Body from your local bookseller or online from Hanging Loose Press or Small Press Distribution.
Praise for My Body:
“Over the decades of writing, Joan Larkin has proved her
mastery, whether the poem is mythic, elegiac, or biographical. Her
honesty is overwhelming, but it is coupled with poetic cunning,
gorgeous language and a rhythm and tone so precise and appropriate
that it is—as in the great poets—transparent. There
are no tricks and no evasive moves, nothing that in ten years
she will be ashamed of or confused by. She is a poet of
compassion and pity. Where it is appropriate, she is merciless,
especially to herself. I love reading her poems; I love
reading them over and over. I salute her.”
“Joan Larkin’s high-wire poetic acts unite both
electric tension and steadfast balance. Deft, probing language
surges in these poems, to the music of free verse, metric invention,
high rhetoric, & demotic wit. She needs all these,
to reach the full range of felt life she intends for us.”
“Joan Larkin knows how to write a crown of sonnets so
vividly revelatory that it gave this reader goosebumps. Deaths
from AIDS, family deaths, a suicide—dark subjects
deftly and honorably portrayed.”
“For nearly 40 years, Joan Larkin has written poems that stake out a territory of relentless self-examination, taking on love and death, family and sexuality in a voice that is unsentimental, ruthless and clear-eyed. . . . It's a remarkable statement, tracing the evolution of a poet from her earliest efforts. . . to the stunning sweep and simplicity of her current work. . . . This is poetry without pity, in which despair leads not to degradation but to a kind of grace.”
—David Ulin, Los Angeles Times, April 15, 2007
[read the full review here]
Painted Leaf Press, 1997
Cold River, winner of a Lambda Award for Poetry, includes harsh and tender elegies. These strong lyrics take on desire, loss, and the gifts of wholeness and self-knowledge in the age of AIDS. Cold River is out of print but some copies may be available here.
Praise for Cold River:
“In Cold River, Joan Larkin’s poems move deeper than ever into grief and tenderness and praise, her own wild and quiet voice the embodiment of desire.”
“I return to Joan Larkin’s poems again and again because I love their clarity, their revelatory strength, their allegiance to something like history and their great and surprising humor. But there is more. The poems in this little book that face AIDS are certainly some of the bravest and most eloquent ones on the subject. To put it simply, they floor me.”
A Long Sound
Granite Press, 1986
Poems of addiction and healing, memory and praise form the nucleus of Joan’s second collection. The sonnet crown "Blackout Sonnets" at its center marries formal ingenuity with devastating honesty.
A Long Sound is out of print but may be purchased here and here:
A video recording of Joan reading the “Blackout Sonnets” in 1987 may be seen here.
Praise for A Long Sound:
“Taking brave, and transcendent, possession of her histories, the poet presents us with the facts of her outstanding craft. . . . A stunning testament to personal and artistic triumph. She digs deep. She shines.”
“With imagery as exquisite, unsparing and precise as a scalpel, A Long Sound shocks us through an underworld of black-out and soul-death into the realm of spiritual and sensual freedom we, with the poet, can call recovery.”
Out & Out Books, 1975
Housework was Joan’s first published book of poetry. It includes Mimi Weisbord’s paintings of dollhouses, which hint of primal family dramas. Housework was typed on an IBM Selectric; the cover was created on an improvised light table using letters pressed-on by hand. It was printed at the Print Center in Brooklyn with the imprint Out & Out Books, a collective formed by Joan, Jan Clausen, Elly Bulkin, and Irena Klepfisz during the feminist publishing explosion of the ‘70s.
Housework is out of print but may be purchased here:
Praise for Housework:
“I love Joan Larkin’s poems, for their music, their tensile strength, their truthfulness, their clarity. . . .”
—Adrienne Rich, in Ms. Magazine
TRANSLATIONS BY JOAN LARKIN
Sor Juana's Love Poems
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
Translated by Joan Larkin and Jaime Manrique
Painted Leaf Press 1997
University of Wisconsin Press 2003
Sor Juana’s Love Poems is a book of poems in English and Spanish by one of the world’s most daring erotic writers. Joan has created English versions with Jaime Manrique.
These exquisite love poems, some of them clearly addressed to women, were written by the visionary and passionate genius of Mexican letters, the seventeenth-century nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. In this volume they are translated into the idiom of our own time. Some of them are rooted in Renaissance courtly conventions; others are startlingly ahead of their time, seemingly modern in the naked power of the complex sexual feelings they address.
Sor Juana's Love Poems is available in bookstores or directly from the press.
Glad Day: Daily Meditations for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender People
The daily meditations in Glad Day explore such themes as change, fear and faith, success and failure, and openness to ourselves and others. Interwoven with references to the transforming experiences of coming out and of recovery, they remind us of the wholeness and beauty of each of our natures. Order Glad Day here.
If You Want What We Have: Sponsorship Meditations
This book is a portrait of a year in recovery, written as daily conversations between sponsor and sponsee in twelve-step recovery. These daily meditations explore the concerns and struggles involved every day in recovery. They offer insights for both sponsors and sponsees and model a relationship based on compassion, humor, and mutual trust. Order If You Want What We Have here.
ANTHOLOGIES EDITED BY JOAN LARKIN
A Woman Like That : Lesbian and Bisexual Writers Tell Their Coming Out Stories
Avon/Bard Books 1999
Harper Paperbacks 2000
This anthology collects portraits of desire and courage, creating a rich, diverse picture of the meaning and impact of “coming out.” Thoughtful, wise, and often hilarious, A Woman Like That includes strong writing by both famous and lesser-known writers, among them Pat Califia, Chrystos, Judy Grahn, Bertha Harris, Jill Johnston, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Elizabeth Lorde Rollins, and Tristan Taormino.
It was nominated for both a Lambda Award and a Publishing Triangle Award for Non-fiction.
Read a review of A Woman Like That here
Order A Woman Like That here.
Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time
Edited by Joan Larkin and Carl Morse
St. Martin’s Press, 1988
Gay and Lesbian Poetry In Our Time, winner of a Lambda Literary Award for Poetry, is the first of its kind, an anthology of poetry by both lesbians and gay men. It brings together the work of nearly 100 poets, from the famous to the hitherto unknown, a multigenerational group spanning a wide range of cultural heritages. Among the poets included are Frank Bidart, Chrystos, Cheryl Clarke, Edward Field, Allen Ginsberg, Judy Grahn, Essex Hemphill, Adrienne Rich, Muriel Rukeyser, and Tennessee Williams.
Order Gay and Lesbian Poetry In Our Time here:
Lesbian Poetry: An Anthology
Edited by Joan Larkin and Elly Bulkin
Persephone Press, 1981
This early lesbian feminist anthology collected strong work by a large number of lesbian poets, reflecting the rich diversity of age, race, class, and experience among poets identifying as lesbians. Some of the poets included are Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Gloria Anzaldúa and Judy Grahn. Lesbian Poetry is out of print but may be purchased here:
Amazon Poetry: An Anthology
Edited by Joan Larkin and Elly Bulkin
Out & Out Books, 1975
One of the first anthologies of lesbian poetry, this ground-breaking book gathered a wide range of poetry and poets, some appearing for the first time in a lesbian literary context. Amazon Poetry is out of print but may be purchased here: