THIS SITE HOSTS A POEM-A-DAY COUNTDOWN TO 35 YEARS OF AIDS ON JUNE 5, 2016.
Why June 5?
On June 5, 1981, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report ran a story about five cases of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) among previously healthy young gay men in Los Angeles. This was the first media report of any kind on what would come to be known as AIDS.
A month later, on July 3, 1981, The New York Times published an article by Lawrence K. Altman entitled “Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals.” Doctors in New York and California had diagnosed Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), a rare and fatal form of cancer.
This mysterious condition was soon given the name GRID, for Gay Related Immune Disorder. Once the condition was observed in other groups besides gay men, the name was changed to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS.
On June 5, 2015, The HIV Here & Now Project began an online poem-a-day countdown leading up to 35 years of AIDS (inspired by Arielle Greenberg and Rachel Zucker’s poetry project during the first 100 days of the Obama administration in 2009). The poems in the countdown address 35 years of AIDS directly or indirectly, literally or metaphorically. Poems deal with long-term survival, recent infection, racialization of HIV, criminalization of HIV, globalization of HIV, and living with HIV risk, among other topics. Many of the poems are not apparently related to HIV or AIDS at all, but are simply beautiful poems honoring a day in the countdown.
POEMS FOR WORLD AIDS DAY 2018 : A monthlong poem-a-day lead-up to World AIDS Day on December 1, 2018
POEMS FOR WORLD AIDS DAY 2016 : A monthlong poem-a-day lead-up to World AIDS Day on December 1, 2016
POEMS FOR 35 YEARS OF AIDS: A yearlong poem-a-day countdown to 35 years of AIDS on June 5, 2016
Contributing Editor Joss Barton is a writer, photographer, journalist, and artist documenting queer and trans* life and love in St. Louis. She was a 2013 Fiction Fellow at the Lambda Literary Foundation’s Emerging LGBT Writers Retreat and this summer was a contributing artist for Nine Network’s Public Media Commons Artist Showcase. She is an alumni of the Community Arts Training Institute of the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission. Her work appears in The Contemporary HIV Zeitgeist: A Fresh Look at Gay Men and HIV (Ethica Press, 2015), co-edited by Robert Birch and Marcus Greathearted, Vice Magazine, and Vetch Poetry: A Transgender Poetry Journal.
Contributing Editor CJ Stobinski is an activist and advocate for the HIV community. He serves as a Youth Ambassador for Youth Across Borders, as well as Youth Ambassador for the social media campaign Rise Up To HIV. He has competed in races wearing the campaign’s No Shame About Being HIV+ tee shirt since May 2015. CJ is currently on his Undetectable=Untransmittable Racing Tour, educating people about undetectable viral loads, and bringing people’s knowledge of HIV into the 21st century. He is a Certified Community Health Worker in Toledo, Ohio, working as a Referral Assistant for the Northwest Ohio Pathways HUB, combating infant mortality and adult chronic health conditions. In his spare time, he loves to cook, play with his two fluffy cats, train for his upcoming triathlons, and is pursuing a yoga teacher certification.
With the online countdown behind us, we are editing the print anthology and keeping the site lively with blog posts by contributing editors and guest bloggers (many of whom contributed poets to the online countdown and will be represented in the print anthology). Blog posts address long-term survival, recent infection, racialization of HIV, criminalization of HIV, globalization of HIV, and living with HIV risk, among other topics.
The HIV Here & Now Print Poetry Anthology is a place for poems about HIV and the experience of HIV in this world right here and right now.
The poet does not have to be HIV-positive or have AIDS. The poems, however, must have a connection to HIV or AIDS on some level, be it direct or indirect, literal or metaphorical.
The HIV Here & Now Print Poetry Anthology will draw poems from the online poem-a-day countdown to 35 years of AIDS that ended on June 5, 2016. Any poems that were posted as part of that project or submitted to that project are already under consideration for the The HIV Here & Now Print Poetry Anthology.
Our mission is always expanding—to new media, new audiences, new goals and objectives. Follow us, join us, live, learn, struggle, and love with us.
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