| Books |

Reading Queer Poetry Anthology to Unite South Beach and Wilton Manors

Maureen Seaton and Neil de la Flor, co-editors of Reading Queer's upcoming anthology.EXPAND
Maureen Seaton and Neil de la Flor, co-editors of Reading Queer's upcoming anthology.
Courtesy of Reading Queer
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

As Miami’s cultural landscape boomed in the past decade — with the influx of major art fairs, new museums, and local galleries opening in up-and-coming neighborhoods — the city’s queer culture was in flux. Reading Queer, a Knight Foundation-sponsored cultural organization, is looking to change that fact by highlighting voices from a community that remains fractured between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Recently, the group announced a publication deal for a paperback anthology of poetry from local bards and internationally recognized queer writers.

“I think it’s the first Miami-based anthology of queer voices,” says founder Neil de la Flor, who has also contributed to New Times. “Poetry has had a resurgence because of the political climate and the need to huddle together and connect. Queer writers have an ever greater need to reach each other through every means," he says, including social media and poetry.

Thanks to Reading Queer, Miami’s LGBTQ community has had a forum that gives voice to underrepresented stories. It’s badly needed in a city whose queer culture was split in two after the gentrification of South Beach.

In the late '80s and '90s, South Beach became a mecca for artists, freaks, and queers fleeing New York City for cheaper rents and white sands. Thanks to their work, Miami Beach received a badly needed jolt of energy. Soon came hotels, clubs, and restaurants, largely financed and managed by the new crop of residents. That special mix of cultures and sexualities made South Beach a world-class destination. But it didn’t last.

In the early '00s, as rents began to rise, the first wave of gentrifiers — now 20 years older — were priced out and slowly migrated north to Wilton Manors and adjoining neighborhoods in Broward County.

“Miami just simply got too expensive, especially since the epicenter of queer culture took place on South Beach in the '90s,” de la Flor explains. Yet he doesn’t think the line in the sand between the two centers of South Florida’s queer scene is impenetrable.

“I guess I see I-95 as a bridge, not a divider, between the Miami queers and the Wilson Manors queers. In fact, most of my friends live in Fort Lauderdale. Wilton Manors is South Beach of the '90s, or maybe Provincetown, in that it concentrates so many of us in one big collective community huddle. Safety in numbers. Also, more fun in numbers too.”

It’s that same sense of safety through community engagement that de la Flor has worked to cultivate in Reading Queer’s yearly programing. With the publication of the new anthology, not only will queer writers get a platform they never had, giving voice to the local communities’ stories, but also the connection between the two will undoubtably strengthen.

Reading Queer: Poetry in a Time of Chaos is set for release February 10, 2018. The book can be preordered at anhingapress.org.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.