To Wayne Dynes and William A

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Paul Knobel

A World Overview of Male Homosexual Poetry, second edition

Sydney, 2009


To Wayne Dynes and William A. Percy

of the United States of America,

Lev Samuilovich Klein of Russia,

Jiri Fanel of the Czech Republic,

Zhang Zaizhou and Liu Dalin of China
this work is respectfully dedicated.

 Paul Knobel 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 Second, corrected and augmented edition.

Suggested subject term cataloguing:

Homosexuals, male in literature

Gay men in literature

Gays’ history

Poetry, male homosexuals—history and criticism

Introduction page 4
Overviews page 7
Works cited page 88
Index of language and language group overviews page 108


This work consists of the Overview entries from my Encyclopedia of Male Homosexual Poetry and its Reception History which was first published on cdrom in 2002 and contained 6,301 entries relating to 243 languages and 118 countries of the world’s about 200 countries (the exact number fluctuates from time to time); in length it came to 1.02 million words. Altogether there are 83 language and language family Overviews here, a total including this Introduction of over 63,367 words. The Overviews are here arranged alphabetically by language and language family under the same name used in the Encyclopedia (where they appear as, for instance, Overview—English, Overview—Italian). In effect A World Overview of Male Homosexual Poetry constitutes a world history of male homosexual poetry. It is also the closest we have to a survey of male homosexuality worldwide since no other work is known which surveys the world so fully for male homosexuality.

Generally, only languages which had more than 7 entries were given Overviews. So, for information on the other 160 languages, the Encyclopedia itself needs to be consulted and readers will need to consult the 2002 cdrom of the whole work (usable on both PC and Macintosh Versions 8 and 9) or the 2009 reprinting of all entries in a pdf file in a single alphabetical sequence. As there are some 6–10,000 living languages of the world and many more dead languages, the record is far from complete, despite the 19 years it took to compile the Encyclopedia. (Its genesis was a 1983 review of *The Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse in The Age Monthly Review (July 1983, 5–7): a card catalog became a computer file in 1990.) It has been estimated that up to 33,000 languages have existed throughout world history, many now dead (2 of these, Akkadian and Hittite, have Overview entries): see the list of languages in volume 10 of the Encyclopedia of Languages and Linguistics (Oxford, 1994). The entries in An Encyclopedia of Male Homosexual Poetry, *Languages of the world, *Cultures, ethnic groups and peoples of the world and *Countries of the world, provide further information. All words with an asterisk (*) in the World Overview and this Introduction to it have entries in the Encyclopedia. The full titles of works mentioned with short titles in the Overviews can be found in the list of the 450 reference works listed here in the World Overview at the end of the Overviews under Works Cited. In Overview entries, as in the full Encyclopedia, short titles for reference works have been chosen in such a way that readers in all cases should be able to go directly to computer based library catalogs to find the work. I hoped with the title chosen to give some idea of the reference work also; my only regret is that I did not include the date of the work since that gives a cutoff year for the knowledge contained in the work.
As an example of the breadth of material in the Encyclopedia, there are 195 entries which are homosexual poetry anthologies. Users of the Encyclopedia 2002 and 2009 cdroms are strongly urged to read the Introduction of those works (which can be printed out for easier reading) to get a better understanding of the work. Nothing is to be assumed of the sexuality of any person mentioned: as its title indicates, An Encyclopedia of Male Homosexual Poetry is a reading of world poetry for homosexuality and not of poets for their sexuality and this holds also for the World Overview.
Two works which were inadvertently missed but should have been cited are the fine German biographical dictionary Mann für Mann: biographisches Lexikon zur Geschichte von Freundesliebe und mannmännlicher Sexualität im deutschen Sprachraum edited by Bernd-Ulrich Hergemöller first published in Hamburg in 1998 and now in a second edition with additional material, and the Spanish biographical dictionary Para entendernos: diccionario de cultura homosexual, gay y lésbica compiled by Alberto Mira (Barcelona, 1999) and also now in a second edition. In English I was not aware in 2002 of Timothy F. Murphy, A readers guide to gay and lesbian studies (Chicago, 2000). The 1987 Encyclopedia of Religion edited by Mircea Eliade (which is a cited work) is now in a second edition (Detroit and London, 2005), edited by Lindsay Jones. In 2002 I was unaware also of another landmark work, Africana: the encyclopedia of the African and African American experience edited by Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates (New York, 1999) which has a splendid article on homosexuality. Encyclopedias increasingly have articles on homosexuality: for instance, a 2004 fascicle of Encyclopaedia Iranica (volume 12, fascicle 5, New York, 2004) has a ground breaking article on Iranian cultures, “Homosexuality” by the editor *Ehsan Yarshater (which nevertheless does not discuss Iranian art). The Encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender history in America (New York, 2004) edited by Marc Stein, at three volumes the most detailed encyclopedic gay and lesbian survey of any culture to date, is another landmark, as was Louis Crompton’s wideranging survey Homosexuality and Civilization (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2003). Naturally gay poetry and gay poetry anthologies continue after 2002.
The US Supreme Court case Lawrence versus Texas (2003), which decriminalized male homosexual acts across all 50 states of the United States has given a huge boost to gay culture and is likely to be influential in other countries and probably was in the 3 July 2009 decriminalization in India by the Delhi High Court (there were still in the United States in 2003 several states besides Texas in which consenting adult homosexual acts were illegal despite 30 years of repeal of laws state by state). Many of the over 120 amicus curiae (friend of the court) interventions in this historic case, some from eminent gay scholars, showed that, far from “sodomy” being universally condemned in Christian cultures, as previous federal United States law had relied on, there was no agreed definition on what *sodomy was. The evolutionary and biological perspective of Bruce Bagemihl’s Biological exuberance: animal homosexuality and natural exuberance (New York, 1998) has come to seem more and more important as it makes clear that *homosexuality and even *pederasty are natural to animal species for those who had any doubt. The scholarly articles of the US psychologist Bruce Rind on adolescent sexuality are also landmarks (some are available on the internet).
Research on my Encyclopedia of Male Homosexual Art, which has extended over 18 years so far, and of which a first version was published in 2005, has taught me that I must constantly check such library catalogs as, in Australia, where most of the work of compilation was done, Libraries Australia, the country’s union catalog (available on the internet), Worldcat, the most wideranging union catalog which merged the United States RLG Union catalog and OCLC’s catalog and was made available freely on the internet in 2007, and COPAC (the British union catalog of major university and public research libraries which is freely available on the internet and is easy to use). Worldcat is the most wideranging of these catalogs. The catalog of the Library of Congress is another source of information. It is freely available on the internet and a magnificent research instrument with 90-95% of the main (Jefferson) reading room card catalog sucessfully converted to machine readable form and where keyword searches yield the most amazing things, though many of the library’s card catalogs in its several reading rooms were not yet included as of 2005. The catalogs of such United States universities as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, the University of California and the New York Public Library (which is especially good for homosexuality) may be checked individually as well; in Great Britain, Cambridge University has an especially good library for the humanities. A research visit to the United States in 2009 showed that Harvard University’s catalog is by far the best for homosexuality with more items showing up for keyword searches for “homosexuality” than even the Library of Congress: some 4,889 items for Harvard versus 4,501 items for the Library of Congress were found on a keyword search for “homosexuality” on 28 October 2009. The libraries of the separate national libraries­, all available on the internet through the National Libraries splash page, of which the catalogs of the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, the Deutsche Bibliothek for Germany and the National Library of Spain are outstanding for their respective languages, should be checked for individual languages. I suggest users of such national library catalogs use words from the main language of the library for keyword searches (eg French “homosexualité” for the Bibliothèque Nationale). Using such words as keyword subject searches narrows the search even further.
The catalogs of gay libraries and *archives also need to be checked, especially the section titled Relevant of *Homodok (now Ihlia) in Amsterdam which lists notable new works, including articles as well as books; it is annotated mainly in Dutch, though sometimes in English. The United States gay and lesbian archive One IGLA in Los Angeles is outstanding in its coverage of library books and archival holdings. Gay bookshops, for instance *Prinz Eisenherz in Berlin, are another source of information on new works. The fact that the Library of Congress since 2006 has non Roman scripts is an exciting development, as is the increasing use of Library of Congress subject headings by libraries in all parts of the world. Once found such subject headings can yield surprising discoveries.
In the increasingly complex world of library research (which now encompasses the internet), Thomas Mann’s The Oxford Guide to Library Research, third edition, 2005, is a brilliant guide to library use by a senior Reference Librarian at the Library of Congress who has a Ph D. This third edition fully covers the internet which was only in its infancy when the second, 1998, edition was published; a new edition is promised. On the question of the internet versus libraries may I say that in my experience both are necessary for researchers in the age in which we live. It is also doubtful if the internet will ever supplant libraries since copyright laws ensure that many books will not be available on the Internet for 70 years at least. Projects to put all books out of copyright on the internet eg (all books before 1929) will revolutionize scholarship and already have begun to do this.
The increasingly better and better machine readable catalogs of libraries means that the next major problem to solve is that of “not on the shelf” books, a problem which plagues research libraries and where I have found, in the Library of Congress for instance, up to 40% of books in any book batch of ten books, cannot be located consistently over 27 years of usage of this great library, the greatest single cultural monument of the United States. At the University of Sydney up to 20-30% of books could not be located in recent years (they could not be located and were not on loan). Oxford University some years ago recognized this problem; a stocktake was to be held following the computerization of the catalog (there were books in the catalog which were not on the shelves and books on the shelf which were not listed in the catalog). The University of Cambridge closes its library for 5 days every year for a stocktake. It is vital to realize also that it may take up to 3 years or even more for a major reference work to get cataloged in a major research library, another reason to check library catalogs widely; however CIP (cataloguing in progress) cataloguing done before publication is reducing this time frame. This appears not to be the case at Harvard University Library however, one reason its catalog is so useful. In addition on a 2009 visit to Harvard where over 200 works were examined over 99% of books could be located (the one item that did not come back, a gay periodical, appeared to have been stolen).
I wish to express thanks to librarians in many countries (over 50 countries) who helped with this work and the two cdroms. Some changes have been made to the text in the Overviews as published in 2002, mainly tidying up awkward sentences, correcting some spelling mistakes and adding dates. Only rarely has some information been added. Mistakes in the text are of course mine. An Encyclopedia of Male Homosexual Poetry has the added complication in that, since it covered 243 languages (several with diacritics), no automatic spelling check could be used. The original work took over a year to proof read and involved two people, the author and Louise Campbell (unmarried name, Louise Bateson), to whom I wish to express again my thanks, especially for drawing attention to awkardnesses in style and in pushing me towards brevity and I hope clarity.
Finally I would again like to strongly stress to readers who use the 2002 and 2009 cdroms that they should read the Introduction to the cdrom (as distinct from this Introduction) to get the best results in using them; the 2009 cdrom, an offshoot of the 2002 work, is easier to use being in a single alphabetical sequence but, not being in a database, cannot be searched in the way a database allows. This Introduction was largely completed while working in the Library of Congress and I would like to say how inspiring this library is. No library, with the possible exception of Harvard, collects on the scale of the Library of Congress. This second, corrected, edition also adds new material in the Introduction. I thank the staff of the National Library of Australia for their speedy cataloguing of the first edition; 49 copies of that edition were printed and dispersed to national libraries on 5 continents and to 2 of the dedicatees. One of the two Chinese dedicatees Zhang Zhaizhou has been found to be a pseudonym; the author’s real name is Zhang Jie and he is a librarian at the old books section of the National Library of China in Beijing. Apart from publishing his 1999 history of gay China, in 2008 he published a work in Chinese on illustrations of homosexuality in old Chinese books with the ISBN 978-7-222-05340-3.

Washington, DC—Naples—Melbourne—Sydney 15 November 2005—29 October 2009

African languages
African languages consist of indigenous languages (such as the Bantu languages of South Africa) and introduced languages such as Arabic, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Afrikaans and Flemish (a language close to Dutch and the language of Belgium, a country which controled the Republic of Congo in the nineteenth century). See the separate entry *African languages for discussion of the variety of languages spoken in the continent. The indigenous languages (which are the vast majority of languages) largely exist in oral form and have only recently been committed to writing (an exception is Hausa which was written in Arabic characters from the fifteenth century; Swahili has also been written in Arabic for many centuries). See the separate entries *Overview—Egyptian, —Arabic, —English—South Africa for those languages.

Homosexuality is very hidden in Africa south of the Sahara; Nigeria is the least repressive country, though male homosexuality is illegal, as it is in many countries of Africa. There has been controversy in Zimbabwe over gay rights due to repressive anti-gay statements by the head of the country, Robert Mugabe.

*Oral epics, *heroic poems and *praise poems are the major genres of relevance. *Chants and songs associated with *Initiation rites are of significance. *Male bonding in singing is strongly homoerotic: most singing by males is performed in groups and frequently in the past was performed in many parts of the continent in a semi-naked or naked state.
For African religions, which are strong social forces, see Eliade, Encyclopedia of Religion; *serpent myths with homosexual undertones have been reported and are incorporated into religious songs. For an excellent history of Africa see Kevin Shillington, History of Africa, 1994.

Northern (Saharan) Africa. Arabic, Egyptian, Coptic, Ethiopic, Nubian are major languages. See *Overview—Arabic for Arabic material. The Sahara is a desert covering the northern part of Africa. Nubian. Males often go nude and grooming ceremonies occur; oral poems are likely relevant. A famous book of photographs on the Nuba, Die Nuba von Kau, 1976 (English translation: The People of Kau, 1976), was compiled by Leni Riefenstahl, the German filmmaker and photographer; she also was working on a film of the Nuba which was unfinished at her death.

Sub Saharan indigenous languages. "Homosexuality in Sub-Saharan Africa" in Gay Books Bulletin no. 9 (Spring 1983), 20–21 by *Wayne Dyne contains the most important bibliography to date (contributed by *Stephen Wayne Forster) on sources for homosexuality in black Africa. It is a bibliography of major importance. Ijaw: see *Ijaw initiation songs. Luo: see *Okut p'Bitek. Nuer: see *Songs—Nuer. Fula: see *Songs—Fula. Swahili. Written in Arabic script and spoken in east Africa: see *Sufism. Nigeria. Nigeria is one of the richest countries in west Africa for languages. Hausa is spoken in the north of Nigeria; see also *Songs—Fulani, *Dance poem—Igbo *Initiation songs and chants—Ijaw, *Chants and songs—Yoruba and *Wole Soyinka. Wudaabe: men dress almost as women and oral poems are possible. South African languages. *Bantu languages are widely spoken: see, for example, *B. J. Laubscher (active 1937). Bands in Africa play bawdy called Kwasa Kwasa (now, now) which may have gay material.
For information on languages see John Middleton, Encyclopedia of Africa: South of the Sahara, 4 volumes, 1999.
Ethnic groups in Africa. See Laure Meyer, Black Africa: Masks, Sculpture, Jewelry, Paris, 1992, pp. 214–15 for a map of ethnic groups above South Africa. There are also maps in Tom Phillips, editor, Africa: The Art of a Continent, 2000, which occur at the beginning of each section.

Introduced European languages. Afrikaans. Afrikaans is close to Dutch and is spoken by Dutch colonists and their descendents in South Africa. See *Overview—Afrikaans. English. English was spoken by British colonists in South Africa and in east Africa in Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia). See *Overview—English—South Africa. French. See *Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo (possible reference only). The article "Theyting de dat?" The treatment of Homosexuality in African Literature by Chris Dunto, Research in African Literatures, vol. 20 no. 3 (Fall 1989), 822–48 only discusses homosexuality in the modern novel in English and French and not poetry.

Overall, Ruth Finnegan, Oral Literature in Africa, 1970 (with bibl.) is a place to start in investigating oral literatures (second edition, 1976). African Literatures in the 20th Century, edited by Leonard S. Klein, 1988, is a guide by language. Queneau, Histoire des littératures, volume one, pp. 1536–1566, is a major survey of African literatures. On African sexuality see Roger B. Beck, A Bibliography of Africana in the Institute for Sex Research, Bloomington, 1979, 134 pages; with an index with five items referring to homosexuality (none referring to homosexual poetry); very rare (copy: *Paul Knobel; this copy was made as a photostat from the Kinsey Copy). Further on African sexuality, see Hans Freimark, Das Sexualleben der Afrikaner, Leipzig, 1906. A major study of African homosexuality was edited by *Stephen O. Murray in 1998, Boy-wives and female husbands; this surveys the subject for Sub-Suharan cultures: see pp. xi-xxii and pp. 1–18 for concise surveys of African homosexuality. The article “Homosexuality” in Africana (1905) edited by Kwame Appiah is an outstanding concise survey.

Dictionaries and Encyclopedias. Shipley, Encyclopedia of Literature: "African Literature"; with bibl. to 1946. Cassell's Encyclopaedia of World Literature vol. 1: "Africa (Subsaharan)"—discusses several literatures and gives bibliographies; the first edition of this work, 1953, has an article "Negro Literature" by Nora Chadwick which is the first survey in English on African oral literatures. Eliade, Encyclopedia of Religion: see "African Religions". New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics: see "African Poetry". Encyclopaedia of Sexual Behaviour: see "Africans, Sex Life of"; "Negro". Kindlers neues Literatur Lexikon vol. 20: "Traditionelle Literatur des schwarzen Afrika" (Traditional literature of Black Africa); with bibl. Cassell's Encyclopedia of Queer Myth, Symbol, and Spirit: see "African and African-Diasporic" regarding religions. Bibliographies. Goodland, Bibliography of Sex Rites: many references, see the index. Dynes, Homosexuality: A Research Guide, pp. 204–09. Simes, Bibliography of Homosexuality, 239–41: sub-Saharan Africa. Other. Karsch-Haack, Das gleichgeschlechtliche Leben der Naturvölker, 116–84. Black Eros, 280–83 (discussion of homosexuality amongst African tribal cultures); map of tribal cultures 284–85; important bibl. 291–97. Baumann, Das doppelte Geschlecht: many references on *bisexuality, see the index. Second ILGA Pink Book: see 188–97 re laws. Greenberg, Construction of Homosexuality, 60–62. Homosexuality and world religions, 1-46: article on the Americas and Africa.

Afrikaans is an *Indo-European language in the *Germanic group and is a dialect of *Dutch. It dates in usage from 1652 when the first Dutch persons arrived in South Africa where it is spoken. The *Overview—Dutch entry gives the Dutch background. Gay material of relevance dates from 1915 so far.
Male homosexuality was only legalized in South Africa in 1995 with the new constitution (see ILGA Pink Book 1985 and Second ILGA Pink Book for the previous situation). British law had prevailed prior to 1995, homosexual acts being illegal; homosexuality was included in the human rights legislation in 1995 as a ground of discrimination (under sexual orientation).

Afrikaans poetry only came into existence in the late nineteenth century. Material dates from ca. 1915. Poets who wrote homosexual poems include *Melt Brink, *Louis Liepoldt, *Izak Du Plessis, *Ernst van Heerden and *Hennie Aucamp (who, in 1990, published a survey of homoeroticism in South African prose in the twentieth century titled Wisselstroom ). *Lucas Malan established a reputation in the 1980s and *Johann De Lange is a contemporary poet who has written relevant poems. *E. Frost has written an unpublished thesis on homoeroticism in Afrikaans poetry. Several poets appear in translation in the anthology *Invisible Ghetto.

A translation of *Shakespeare's sonnets exists in Afrikaans and the bisexual *Roy Campbell and the homosexual *William Plomer edited what has claims to be a gay journal, the satiric Voorslag, 1924–26. There is a Gay Association of South Africa (Gasa) which publishs a journal in English and Afrikaans, Link/ Skakel. The University of Witwatersrand has a gay archive. See also *Overview—English—South Africa. For indigenous languages see *African languages (the *Bantu language family is a major group spoken in South Africa). On Afrikaans see T. J. Haarhoff, Afrikaans: Its Origin and Development, Oxford, 1936, 72 pp.
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