Joan Larkin

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Joan Larkin
Born1939 (age 83–84)
Massachusetts, United States
Occupationpoet, playwright, teacher

Joan Larkin (born April 16, 1939 in Boston) is an American poet and playwright. She was active in the small press lesbian feminist publishing explosion in the 1970s, co-founding the independent publishing company Out & Out Books. She is now[when?] in her fourth decade of teaching writing. The science fiction writer Donald Moffitt was her brother.


Joan Larkin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Swarthmore College, a Master of Arts degree in English at the University of Arizona, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in playwriting at Brooklyn College.

Larkin has served on the faculties of Brooklyn College, Sarah Lawrence College, and Goddard College, and as Distinguished Visiting Poet at Columbia College Chicago. She is a member of the core faculty of the Master of Fine Arts Program in Poetry Writing at Drew University.

Larkin has also participated in institutions and theater companies as a visiting instructor (poet-in-residence) at West Side YMCA Writers Community in New York for a couple of years (1994-1996). Additional to that, Larkin Co-founded Out & Out Books (1975), a Lesbian Poetry Archive, with her bibliography, "Housework" is located in Brooklyn, NY: Out & Out Books.

Works and themes[edit]

Joan Larkin's most recent poetry collection is My Body: New and Selected Poems (Hanging Loose Press, 2007). Previous books of poetry include Housework, A Long Sound, Sor Juana's Love Poems (translated with Jaime Manrique), and Cold River.

Her writing includes The Hole in the Sheet, a Klezmer musical farce, and two books of daily meditations in the Hazelden recovery series: If You Want What We Have and Glad Day. The Living, her verse play about AIDS, has been produced at festivals in Boston and New York.

Literary prizes[edit]

Larkin is the 2011 recipient of the Academy of American Poets Fellowship. She has also received the Poetry Society of America's 2011 Shelley Memorial Award. Poet Rigoberto González is co-recipient of the award. She has also received the Publishing Triangle's 2008 Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry, for her book My Body: New and Selected Poems. In addition, Joan Larkin has received the Lambda Literary Award for poetry twice, in 1988 (for Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time, with Carl Morse) and in 1997 (for Cold River). In the 1970s, she co-founded the independent small press Out & Out Books and co-edited the anthologies Amazon Poetry and Lesbian Poetry (with Elly Bulkin). Her anthology of coming out stories, A Woman Like That, was nominated for a Publishing Triangle award and a Lambda Literary Award for nonfiction in 2000. She served as poetry editor for the first three years of the queer literary journal Bloom. She is co-editor, with David Bergman, of the Living Out autobiography series at the University of Wisconsin Press. In addition to Larkin's Lambda Literary Awards (1989), her awards include fellowships in poetry and playwriting from the Massachusetts Cultural Council (1995), New York Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts (19787-1988), as well as a Creative Artists public service grant from the New York State Council of the Arts in 1976 and in 1980.



  • Housework (Out & Out Books, 1975) ISBN 0-918314-02-X
  • A Long Sound (Granite Press, 1986) ISBN 0-9614886-1-1
  • Cold River (Painted Leaf Press, 1997) ISBN 0-9651558-5-4
  • Sor Juana's Love Poems/ Poemas de Amor (in Spanish and English, Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz, Joan Larkin, Jaime Manrique; Painted Leaf Press, 1997, ISBN 0-9651558-6-2, reprinted, University of Wisconsin Press, 2003) ISBN 0-299-18704-7
  • My Body: New and Selected Poems (Hanging Loose Press, 2007) ISBN 978-1-931236-74-4


  • If You Want What We Have: Sponsorship Meditations (Hazelden, 1998) ISBN 978-1-56838-192-3
  • Glad Day: Daily Meditations for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender People (Hazelden, 1998) ISBN 978-1-56838-189-3

Collections edited[edit]

  • Amazon Poetry: An Anthology (with Elly Bulkin, Out & Out Books, 1975) ISBN 0-918314-07-0
  • Lesbian Poetry: An Anthology (with Elly Bulkin, Persephone Press, 1981) ISBN 0-930436-08-3
  • Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time: An Anthology (with Carl Morse, St. Martin's Press, 1988) ISBN 0-312-02213-1
  • A Woman Like That: Lesbian and Bisexual Writers Tell their Coming Out Stories (Avon/Bard Books, 1999) ISBN 978-0-380-80247-0
  • Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiographies (with David Bergman and Raphael Kadushin, Painted Leaf Press)
  • Women Writers Calendar (1982-1984)
  • Blood & Tears: Poems for Matthew Shepard (with Scott Gibson, Painted Leaf Press, 1999) ISBN 978-1891305153


Limited editions[edit]

  • ‘’A Garden,’’ letterpress broadside (Center for Book Arts, NYC, 2005)
  • ‘’Waste Not,’’ letterpress broadside (Bridge Press, Vermont, 2005)
  • ‘’Boston Piano,’’ Belladonna limited edition poetry chapbook, June 2003
  • ‘’Hard Differences,’’ letterpress broadside, American Populist Poetry Series, 1980

Plays: staged readings, productions[edit]

  • The AIDS Passion, staged reading, Mount Holyoke College, April 1995
  • The Living, staged reading, Huntington Theater Company, Boston, December 1996; full production, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, June 2000
  • The Hole in the Sheet, book and lyrics for a klezmer musical farce, music by Steve Elson (currently seeking production)
  • Wiretap, Jean Cocteau Repertory Theater, NYC, December 2001, staged reading by Brooklyn College Theater Department
  • Brother Dust, a hip-hop version of Sophocles' Antigone (currently seeking production)

External links[edit]