Queer Lit Q&A: Mark Ward

Meet Mark Ward, my favourite handsome-gay-Irish-poet-playwright-cabaret-noise-musician. Read more from him in The Myriad Carnival (he says, self-promotingly) or in lots of other anthologies that are almost as good. (See below for details.)


1. Tell me about a poem of yours that you’re particularly proud of…

I’m going to cheat and talk about two, one that I’m most proud of and one that’s the most recent.

The first is a poem which I’m very proud of that was originally featured in a magazine called Glitterwolf. The poem, Night Sweats, is taken from this big long epic I’ve been writing for a few years, and will probably be writing for the next decade. The whole thing is called American G.I. and it’s three full-length books of poetry that are novels in verse, all about one character – Tommy Martin’s – life. The first, Circumference, is about the town he grew up in in the late 1930s/early 1940s, the boy he fell in love with and returning to the town almost twenty years later when he finds out his father is dying. Night Sweats is set in 1939, when Tommy is 14 and realising that he really is gay. The poem was later reprinted on The Good Men Project and can be read here.

The second is a poem called Gown recently published as part online at HIV Here + Now, Michael H. Broder’s stunning poem-a-day to 35 years of AIDS (June 5, 2016). It’s autobiographical and based around a scary hospital visit I had a while back. The poem can be read here. There are currently 326 (!) contributions, with a print anthology of selected works to follow.

2. Recommend me a novel/short story/poem/collection by someone else that you think everyone should be reading… 
Breaking the rules again, I’m going to recommend two things, a collection of poems and a novel.
After much anticipation, I finally got my hands on D.A. Powell’s epic Divine Comedy trilogy, Tea, Lunch and Cocktails, which was recently collected together as Repast, which is great because both Tea and Lunch are out of print. Repast is very much that; a big, filling meal of a book. His way with words is a sheer joy. Powell’s work is funny, sexy, breathtaking, sensual, modern, difficult, perfect – it’s everything I want from a poet, and of the books of his I’ve read, this collection is my favourite by far.
The novel I’m recommending is mostly because I’ve just finished it – What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell. It has been such a long time since I’ve read such beautiful, considered, deft and at times even profound prose. Telling the story of an unnamed American living in Bulgaria, and his relationship with a rentboy called Mitko could’ve been clichéd but Greenwell’s handling of it is perfect. It’s one of those books that I can’t adequately describe at all because it’s just so good. It’s the type of fiction that I’ve always hoped to write myself, once I managed to clear all the projects I’m working on at the moment. I read a library copy and I’m going to have to buy my own copy so I can highlight passages when I re-read it. If you like literature, at all, read this, seriously. You won’t regret it.

markwardMark Ward 
is a poet from Dublin, Ireland. He was the 2015 Poet Laureate for Glitterwolf and his work has appeared in Assaracus, Tincture, The Good Men Project, HIV Here + Now, Off the Rocks, The Wild Ones, Emerge and the anthologies, Out of Sequence: The Sonnets Remixed, The Myriad Carnival and Not Just Another Pretty Face. He has recently completed his first chapbook, How to Live When Life Subtracts, and is currently working on a novel-in-verse called Circumference. As Chris Colby, he has been featured in the anthology, Threesome: Him, Him and Me and is currently working on his first novel.



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