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June 6, 2023
9780813198118
English
120
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$29.95 USD, £21.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Paperback / softback
June 6, 2023
9780813198125
English
120
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$19.95 USD, £14.50 GBP
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Electronic book text
June 6, 2023
9780813198132
9780813198118
English
120
8.50 Inches (US)
5.50 Inches (US)
$29.95 USD, £21.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
June 6, 2023
9780813198149
9780813198118
English
120
8.50 Inches (US)
5.50 Inches (US)
$19.95 USD, £14.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Gay Poems for Red States

No one will protect you. Months after being named the 2022 Kentucky Teacher of the Year, Willie Edward Taylor Carver Jr. announced his decision to leave the public school system. His career as a high school English teacher had spanned more than a decade but ended abruptly—another casualty of the cruel and dangerous anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination that is creeping back into the halls of government and the homes of Americans. At the beginning of Carver's career, an administrator warned him about discussing his otherwise openly gay identity at work: "No one will protect you, including me." A new administration allowed for more freedom, but the initial warning eventually rang true. School officials failed repeatedly to address harassment of students and of Carver himself, until he could no longer endure such a purposeful deterioration of human rights. While Carver's testimony before the House of Representatives brought much-needed attention to the need for protections for LGBTQ+ people in schools, the damage was done.

In Gay Poems for Red States, Carver counters the injustice of a persistent anti-LGBTQ+ movement by asserting that a life full of beauty and pride is possible for everyone. More than a collection of poetry, Carver's earnest and heartfelt verses are for those wishing to discover and understand the vastness of Appalachia, and for the LGBTQ+ Appalachians who long for a future—for a home—in an often unwelcoming place.

About the Authors

Willie Edward Taylor Carver Jr. has spent his entire life dedicated to student success. He holds degrees in French and English from Morehead State University, where he focused his studies on advocacy for students, particularly first generation, Appalachian, and minoritized students. He began his work in eastern Kentucky, later studying and teaching in France. In 2022, Carver was named Kentucky Teacher of the Year and Ambassador to the Kentucky Department of Education, where he created a platform of inclusion and advocacy for LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and Appalachian students. His work has been published in Kentucky Teacher, Education Week, and EdPost. Carver's story has been featured on NBC, PBS, NPR, and other outlets.

Reviews

"Willie Carver, award-winning teacher and truth-teller, has written a memoir of narrative poems that poignantly explore his experience as a gay man in Appalachia. Through food, religion, heartache, and a bone-deep love for the hollers, the hills, and the people. These poems hold your gaze and your ear."—Crystal Wilkinson, author of Perfect Black

"Willie Carver is a humane and necessary voice from the hills of Kentucky. He writes with stunning insight, vivid imagery, and enormous courage. This is a powerful book that should be read by everyone."—Chris Offutt, author of Country Dark

"Prepare your heart and soul along with your humanity and intellect to feel and be seen by this book. Each line of this incredible text allows the reader to, like his love Josh says, 'find beauty just by expecting it.' Carver reminds us of the gentle yet fighting spirit in us all and why we must keep building a joyous and just world where every student and educator not only belongs but thrives. Oh, how I wish for a world where all students are lucky enough to have an educator like Mr. Carver."—Juliana Urtubey, 2021 National Teacher of the Year and White House committee member of the Advisory Commission on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Hispanics

"In Gay Poems for Red States, Willie Carver extends grace in two directions: back to the child he was, and forward to the queer young people living in rural places today. Through poems that explore the relationships and dynamics that shaped his identity, Carver creates a mirror for queer youth—the kind of mirror he never had. The kind of mirror we all need in order to find our way into our truest expressions of self."—Neema Avashia, author of Another Appalachia: Coming Up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place

"Gay Poems for Red States will be a centerpiece at my Equity-Driven BookShop. Willie's gorgeous personality shines brightly and the methods he uses to communicate the impact of his intersecting identities is inspiring and insightful. His ingenious use of literary devices both provokes and comforts the reader. He somehow manages to be paradoxically vulnerable and whimsical at the same time and I can't get enough of his writing. Beautiful. Authentic. Compelling. An incredible work of art."—Kelly D. Holstine, Minnesota State Teacher of the Year and owner of WordHaven BookHouse

"The raw emotion of Willie's words paint a vivid and realistic picture of the life many of us gay folks face each and every day as we strive to transform the minds of our neighbors, families, friends, and communities in the red states we call home. This is a must read for our community, but also anyone who considers themselves an ally. To hear these stories is to know us, to grieve with us, and to boldly advocate for change so that those who come after us might have a life that's just a bit easier than ours."—Jed Dearybury, author of The Playful Life: The Power of Play in Our Everyday

"One of the most quintessentially Appalachian books I have ever read. Gay Poems for Red States is destined to be a cornerstone of the pantheon of books describing what's it like to grow up queer in this country during this time in history... for those having trouble being seen and those having trouble seeing, this book is a blueprint for their shared survival. The love embodied in Carver's voice will set off tambourines in your heart."—Robert Gipe, author of Pop

University Press of Kentucky

9780813198118 : gay-poems-for-red-states-carver-carver
Hardback
June 6, 2023
$29.95 USD
9780813198125 : gay-poems-for-red-states-carver-carver
Paperback / softback
June 6, 2023
$19.95 USD
9780813198132 : gay-poems-for-red-states-carver-carver
Electronic book text
June 6, 2023
$29.95 USD
9780813198149 : gay-poems-for-red-states-carver-carver
Electronic book text
June 6, 2023
$19.95 USD

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