Celebrating Pride Month: A Conversation with H Warren

Red Hen Press
3 min readJun 12, 2023

By Lizzy Young

To celebrate Pride Month, we are highlighting LGBTQ+ authors and their works on the blog! Today, we are featuring H Warren and their debut collection, Binded, which comes out July 11.

You can preorder it here!

Cover art is of an individual standing amidst many reaching arms. Superimposed over the cover art is black text that reads “Binded.”

“I sew myself together / again and again” in urgent vulnerability, H Warren’s debut collection, Binded, discloses their reality of living nonbinary in the rural context of Alaska. With breasts bound by compression, these poems explore the space that binds the body into itself, stuck in unrelenting forces of binary politics and violence. Each poem is a stitching and restitching of the self — an examination of trans-survival. This is a courageous collection — an anthem of Queer resilience and a reminder of the healing powers of community care.

Lizzy Young: I’m always curious about how a collection of poems or stories comes about, so how did you compile your debut collection?

H Warren: In 2018 I had the exciting opportunity to hit the road on Caitlin Scarano’s book tour and open for her readings, as she promoted her debut poetry collection, Do Not Bring Him Water. As we were traveling, I was having a hard time with a new binder I was wearing — I could barely take it off on my own. I was so uncomfortable and so dysphoric. I also remember so many moments on that tour where I was hyper-aware of my hyper-vigilance of entering unknown spaces as visibly Queer. This is when I wrote the poem, “Binder” which became my compass for this collection. I wanted to keep a binder, the act of binding, the feeling of bound as I continued to write poems for this collection.

Do Not Bring Him Water by Caitlin Scarano book cover

LY: With the themes of your collection being trans-survival, Queer resilience, and community care, what was your journey like writing this?

HW: There are poems in this collection I wrote to share with the LGBTQ+ community in Fairbanks, Alaska — in direct response to events that impacted our community. “Seam” for example, processed the feelings and the experience of the community showing up, following all the steps we are supposed to take — only to watch one person in power, veto the rights of our community (a non-discrimination ordinance that would have provided protections for LGBTQ+ folx with employment, rent, etc. passed by the city council vote but veto’d by the Mayor 5 days following).

Then other poems like “Anti-Bathroom Bill: A Poem with Pee” and “Grabbed in a Bathroom” — the act of writing these impacted my own personal healing. My relationship to resilience is a complicated one — there tends to be more emphasis on the individual or the communities to adapt and survive rather than holding the institutions or the larger systems at play, accountable.

I’m anticipating some catharsis this upcoming July when Binded is officially released — because during the release date, I will be recovering from gender-affirmation surgery. I will literally release all my binders! I bet a new journey into a new collection will begin.

LY: What do you think is not highlighted enough during Pride Month?

HW: Corporations need to highlight how they will support the LGBTQ2+ community and how they will direct action against current anti-trans legislation — during the other eleven months of the year.

LY: What are some of your favorite LGBTQ+ books and authors?

HW: torrin a. greathouse is my favorite poet. Tommy Pico, Natalie Diaz, Alok Vaid-Menon, Saeed Jones, Jake Skeets…to name a few for now!

H Warren author headshot

H Warren (they/them) is a poet and musician from Fairbanks, Alaska. They received their MFA in creative writing poetry from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and are currently a MSW candidate with the University of New England online. H is a 2019 Rasmuson Individual Artist Award recipient.

--

--

Red Hen Press

Nonprofit independent literary publisher aiming to amplify unheard and underrepresented voices and improve literacy in schools. www.redhen.org