Discussion: Unit 1: What Is LGBTQ+ Literature?

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  1. The language in Chin’s poetry can be quite abrasive upon first encounters with it. Given that the poetry often deals with surviving the ravages of AIDS (before the advancements of modern HIV/AIDS treatments), what uses might this language serve as a means for (re)gaining or retaining some sense of security? How does Chin’s language differ from that of Cuadros and Hemphill? How is the language of these three authors similar?
  2. Cuadros’s texts often center the ways in which bonds not only unite individuals but also cause pain—particularly in the face of death. In what ways are these bonds similar to, and in what ways are they different from the bonds explored in the texts of the previous unit (i.e., in the works of Whitman and Hemphill)?
  3. Hemphill’s poem, “When My Brother Fell,” mobilizes the language of war in order to remember the author-activist, Joseph Beam who passed due to complications with AIDS. Given his commitment to the black and black gay community, as demonstrated in his works from the previous unit, in what ways might we see race shaping the narrator’s discussion in “When My Brother Fell”? How might the uncovering of race in Hemphill’s works help us see the presence and/or role of race in the works of Chin and Cuadros?

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