Bridges span liminal (threshold) spaces between worlds, spaces I call nepantla, a Nahuatl word meaning tierra entre medio. Transformations occur in this in-between space, an unstable, unpredictable, precarious, always-in-transition space lacking clear boundaries. Nepantla es tierra desconocida, and living in this liminal zone means being in a constant state of displacement–an uncomfortable, even alarming feeling. Most of us dwell in nepantla so much of the time it’s become a sort of “home.” Though this state links us to other ideas, people, and worlds, we feel threatened by these new connections and the change they engender.

– Gloria Anzaldua


Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color is an intentional community space. Our mission is to nurture, celebrate, and preserve diversity within the queer poetry community. Through this journal, we are attempting to center the lives and experiences of QPOC in contemporary America. Thus, we view the journal (and our reading series) as part of a whole artistic project and not individual fragments of work. We believe that (here) the high lyric must encounter colloquial narrative. Here, we must provide space to celebrate both our similarities and our differences. We are one community with an array of experiences; we write in different formats, in different tones, of different circumstances. Nepantla is not the sort of journal that can project a singular voice (not if we want to reflect the various realities of our community). Nepantla is a journal of multiplicity, of continual reinvention.


Nepantla is not an apolitical literary journal. We stand strongly against racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, classism, xenophobia, etc. We do NOT believe in the notion of “craft” as an excuse to justify oppressive language. If (for some reason) you, the reader, feel discriminated against by the language used in our poems then please let us know. Keep us accountable. We have done our best to provide a safe space for the QPOC community. We hope you enjoy the fierceness!



(click image above to access the full online journal)



Joy KMT  to whom it may concern:
Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes  The Terror of Clean
Xandria Phillips         r e a s o n s  f o r   s m o k i n g
Crysbel Tejada    Ominous Light
Eduardo Martinez      I NEVER WANTED TO SPEAK
Darrel Alejandro Holnes      Prometí Nunca Hacer Drag
Roberto F. Santiago        Florals
Justin Phillip Reed         You Construct Intricate Rituals
JP Howard                         Diva Doll
t’ai freedom ford         the beautiful people
Danez Smith      On Grace
Kevin Simmonds           I expected to be sad in New Orleans
Dwayne Martine  Aporia
Paul Tran                THIS TIME, THERE WAS NO
Joey De Jesus    Eastchester Bay [ending with an offering]
Pamela Sneed         Survivor 2014
Myriam Gurba  Constellated
Mariah L. Richardson         Butter Cream
Muriel Leung           Cry Wolf
Naima Woods      Necropsy
Kazim Ali             Bird Hospital
Cam Awkward-Rich    Another Middle-Class Black Kid
Tries To Name It
Yani Robinson      Lou Sullivan’s Birthday
Rajorshi Das           My Father’s Boyfriend
Roberto Montes       no subject) –
Chen Chen               Spell to Find Family
Lara Weibgen         I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Derrick Austin     Major Arcana: Judgment
Rosebud Ben-Oni              She Calls Once That Is A Lie
Metta Sáma            {insert terror}
Amber Atiya  if my slumlord allowed pets


To download an epub file of the Nepantla Journal click here.


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12 Responses to “Read Now! The Inaugural Issue of ‘Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color’”

  1. […] have a poem in Nepantla‘s inaugural issue along with many other amazing queer poets of complex/ion. Follow the link […]

  2. […] am one of the many contributors in the inaugural Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color. My poem, Florals (page 13), is very important to me because it is a work that tries to tackle […]

  3. […] You can read the inaugural issue here: http://www.lambdaliterary.org/features/09/04/read-the-inaugural-issue-of-nepantla-a-journal-dedicate… […]

  4. […] Nepantla […]

  5. […] Nepantla, a journal dedicated to queer poets of color, releases its inaugural […]

  6. […] Literary posted Read Now! The Inaugural Issue of ‘Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color’ and New in September: Sarah Waters, Cookie Mueller, Christos Tsiolkas, Jericho Brown, Saeed […]

  7. 13 September 2014 at 2:52 PM #

    I want to subscribe and submit work.

  8. […] Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color. Una invitación a leer poesía y, por qué no, a ser poetas. Una muestra de lo que podéis encontrar en sus páginas es el poema Prometí nunca hacer drag, de Darrel Alejandro Holnes. Prometí Nunca Hacer Drag Te gusté tan recto como un hombre enamorado de otro hombre podría ser. Pero también amabas a las mujeres, como sus espaldas se ensanchan al aparecer las caderas, como sus cuellos se mecen cuales cisnes bebiendo agua cuando llaman tu nombre, su cabello largo acariciando tu cara al despertar en el nido creado en tu pecho, la mañana siguiente. Y aquí estoy, usando la peluca que hice a imagen de las rubias que preferías pero nunca podrías amar. Aquí estoy ap licando delineador sin planes algunos de lagrimar. Yo nunca lo amaré otra vez, anuncio decidido al espejo mientras golpeo con polvos mi cara hacia la sumisión; como si se pudiera salir de los brazos del héroe sin caer de nuevo al peligro. Hoy, por primera vez, bailo para salvarme, convirtiéndome a la vez en la única mujer que nunca tendrás. Hoy, en el bar Esta Noche, en el Lower East Side, soy distancia. Antes, lo más cerca que estuve de hacer drag fue al ser coronado Rey de la Graduación, pero escogí en cambio la tiara de la Reina; zirconia cúbica de alguna manera más real que la corona acartonada del Rey. Hoy, soy Diamante, extravaganza eleganza, una hembra cantando luz acompañando a Whitney, declarándome la Queen of the Night, dándote that stuff that yo u want, meneando that thing that you need sashay – shantae – strut – shimmy brillando en el escenario, haciendo moverse a la gente de manera indecente al ritmo marcado por el cetro en mi mano. Un rey, que es una reina tan poderosa que rompe las leyes naturales; lycra color de mi piel y leggings que me ocultan donde no brilla el sol. Un corsé de cordones negros cubre la costilla ausente pero deja salir colgando lo suficiente para deslumbrar y sumergirme en el aplauso del público que ama a este hombre vestido de mujer, hombre vestido de hombre amujerado, hombre vestido de suficientemente hombre para transformarse. Hombre transformado, hombre superado, hombre no más. […]

  9. 22 September 2014 at 2:15 PM #

    I love this collection of poetry. I am close to my father who I’ve come to see different as an adult. So I really enjoyed Rage Hezekiah’s “My Father, Swimming.” Thank you all for sharing here. Love Love Love

  10. […] Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color is an intentional community space. Its mission is to nurture, celebrate and preserve diversity within the queer poetry community. Through this journal, Nepantla is attempting to center the lives and experiences of QPOC in contemporary America. With sponsor Lambda Literary, we are celebrating the launch of Nepantla‘s second issue with a national series of readings and launch parties—one in each region of the continental U.S.—in an ongoing effort to ensure the journal’s accessibility, diversity and inclusiveness to all communities of queer and trans people of color. Co-hosted by Graywolf Press and Coffee House Press, the Midwest regional event will feature performances by four outstanding poets—Hieu Minh Nguyen, Cameron Awkward-Rich, Erin Sharkey and Danez Smith. For information:https://loft.secure.force.com/portal/EventDetails?event.id=a1E16000008WJMOEA4. […]

  11. […] Nepantla: A Journal for Queer Poets of Color: Nepantla is an e-journal of poetry, published in collaboration with Lambda Literary. Dedicated to supporting the work of QPOC, the journal is published annually and available for free online. From their website: “Nepantla is a journal of multiplicity, of continual reinvention.” http://www.lambdaliterary.org/features/09/04/read-the-inaugural-issue-of-nepantla-a-journal-dedicate… […]

  12. […] Soto, author of Sad Girl Poems (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2016) and editor of the forthcoming Neplanta: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color (Nightboat Books). Soto, also known as Loma, isn’t afraid to write dangerously. He’s been […]

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