Introducing: Ian Humphreys
February 2019 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall uprisings. This revolution, stemming from a New York bar, sparked lesbian, gay, bi and trans protest around the globe both on the streets and through policy making. Pushing for social, political and legislative change, these leaps aimed for better representation and visibility of LGBTQI voices.
Image: Daria Fane protests at NYU's Weinstein Hall, 1970.
Paths to publication and the development of writing practice are treacherous enough without adding further obstructions, so as Managing Editor of Butcher's Dog poetry journal it is incredibly important to me that I hold the gate open for both established and emerging poets, however they identify. It is my ambition to publish excellent work that shares an intersectionally diverse range of voices.
To keep this agenda inclusive and democratic, everyone is welcome to submit for free. We only publish poems that meet our exacting standards, work that is sprung with the capacity to wow our readers. If those poems can also highlight hidden histories, put right wrongs and educate our readers emotionally, socially or otherwise, then we're doing our job well. What became immediately clear to me is that in order to do this successfully, the selection of that work must also be shaped by those voices.
It is only through the generation of editorial opportunities and access to professional platforms that marginalised people and their voices otherwise missing in the publishing industry can position themselves amongst the typically privileged white CIS male gatekeepers.
For issue 12 of Butcher's Dog, I have approached Ian Humphreys (pictured) to join me as co-editor. I first discovered his work when co-editing issue 9 with Ed Doegar and Degna Stone. This edition was assembled a year after Brexit became a thing and alongside, homophobic attacks rose by a jaw dropping 147%.
Humphreys' poems make the graft of craft near-invisible, moving seamlessly through sound and image to depict queer perspectives on the histories and cultures of being both LGBTQI+ and of multiracial identities. Zebra (out next month with Nine Arches Press) buzzes with all the exuberance and resistance. This forthcoming collection is filled with poems-as-placards. Poetry-as-pride.
His awards include first prize in the Poetry Society’s Hamish Canham Prize. In 2018, he was highly commended in the Forward Prizes for Poetry. Ian is a fellow of The Complete Works, which promotes diversity, quality and innovation in British poetry. In 2017, a portfolio of his poems was published in Ten: Poets of the New Generation (Bloodaxe).
Despite informing popular culture for so long, queer history is predominantly untold and where it is told, it is often distorted or told by those lacking the experience. To tell LGBTQI+ experiences and perspectives through literary art is to reclaim them. To publish them is an overtly political and statement, to do more than countenance that there are currently over seventy countries today that govern with discriminatory laws against LGBTQ+ people.
Humphreys brings a fresh editorial eye to Butcher's Dog. I'm so excited to work together on issue 12. We share the approach that writing by marginalized voices should not be restricted to narratives about marginalisation but should instead be able to roam freely, like the imagination of any other writer.
To find out more, check out Ian's website: http://www.ianhumphreyspoet.com/