chapter  10
SPEAKING ITS NAME: THE POETIC EXPRESSION OF
The poetic expression of gay male desire
ByCharles Lambert
Pages 18

In this chapter I identify some of the linguistic strategies adopted by gay men poets to establish their sexuality as a central factor governing the expression of desire in texts. In order to do this, I shall examine in section 2 the ways in which the work of gay men poets has been categorised over the past twentyfive years, principally by anthologists. I shall show that a commonly held distinction exists between the notion of a naturalised, implicitly heterosexual, poetic expression of desire and a non-naturalised, explicitly gay poetry. In section 3 I will argue that this distinction creates a dilemma for gay men poets, whose specific sexual identity needs to be forged within a genre that tends to elide it by rendering it universal. I shall then discuss in sections 4 and 5 some of the formal and linguistic features gay men poets have adopted in order to make their sexuality explicit and look at some of the problems that may arise as a result of these ostensibly liberating strategic choices.