Sweeter Voices Still: An LGBTQ Anthology from Middle America

Edited by Ryan Schuessler and Kevin Whiteneir, Jr.

A groundbreaking nonfiction collection about queer life in the Midwest.

The middle of America—the Midwest, Appalachia, the Rust Belt, the Great Plains, the Upper South—is a queer place, and it always has been. The queer people of its cities, farms, and suburbs do not exist only to serve as “blue dots” within “red states.” Every story about a kid from Iowa who steps off the bus in Manhattan, ready to “finally” live, is a story about a kid who was already living in Iowa. Sweeter Voices Still is about that kid and has been written by people like them. This collection features queer voices you might recognize—established and successful writers and thinkers—and others you might not—people who don’t think of themselves as writers at all. You’ll find sex, love, and heartbreak and all the beings we meet along the way: trees, deer, cicadas, sturgeon. Most of all, you'll find real people. 

If you're seeking fully realized stories about the nuanced, joyous complexity of queer identity in the Midwest, Sweeter Voices Still is the book for you.


Table of Contents

Foreword by Doug Kiel (Chicago, IL)

Introduction by Ryan Schuessler and Kevin Whiteneir, Jr (Chicago, IL)

“The Midwest is a Two Spirit Place” by Kai Minosh Pyle (Minneapolis, MN)

“A Harvest” by Evan Williams (Chicago, IL)

“What Happened at the Woodward” by Aaron K. Foley (Detroit, MI)

“To Love the Horseman of War” by Dominick Duda (Chicago, IL)

“crusty midwest demi femme, mapped” by Kemi Alabi (Chicago, IL)

“Lancaster is Burning” by Stacy Jane Grover (Columbus, OH)

“Cyprus Pride” by Joanna Eleftheriou (Columbus, MO)

“Jell-O Salad” by Gabrielle Montesanti (St. Louis, MO)

“Lezbens” by Jennifer Morales (Viroqua, WI)

“The Bridge” by Mary Maxfield (University City, MO)

“Last Call at Irene’s Cabaret” by Owen Keehnen (Chicago, IL)

“Diaspora” by River Ian Kerstetter (Chicago, IL)

“Nature Poem” by Sarah Sala (Appalachian Trail)

“On Our Nightly Walk, She Takes My Hand” by Jessica Jacobs (Asheville, NC)

“Boys and Oil” by Taylor Brorby (North Dakota)

“A Seed” by Evan Williams (Chicago, IL)

“Wonder Boys” by Samuel Autman (St. Louis, MO)

“First Kiss” by Carmen Smith (Peoria, IL)

“On a Bridge” by Steffan Triplett (Joplin, MO)

“It’s a Theme” by Jessie Keary (St. Charles, MO)

“If Plates Are Shirts Are Milk Jars” by Evan Williams (Chicago, IL)

“How to Operate a Hide-a-bed” by Robert L. Patrick (Chicago, IL)

“Cold” by James Schwartz (Bernie, IN)

“Coming Out” by Alyson Thompson (St. Louis, MO)

“Welch’s and Wine” by Angela Pupino (Pittsburgh, PA)

“Vichna Panyat” by Andriy Partykevich (Chicago, IL)

“Pillar” by Carmen Smith (Peoria, IL)

“The Inexperience” by Jessie Keary (St. Charles, MO)

“Where the light enters” by Kai Minosh Pyle (Minneapolis, MN)

“The Son” by Jeffery Beam (Hillsborough, NC)

“Kindergarten” by José Quiñones (Cicero, IL)

“Don’t Rain on my Parade” by Zach Benak (Nebraska)

“dalkaygii” by Yasmin Bashir (St. Louis, MO)

“Nine Forms of the Goddess” by Neema Avashia (Cross Lanes, WV)

“Meeting mother in the water” by River Coello (Chicago, IL)

“Watch Me Unfold” by Alyson Thompson (St. Louis, MO)

“Lola—A Love Story” by CJ Janovy (Kansas City, MO)

“Your Father’s Car” by Gregg Shapiro (Chicago, IL)

“The Island” by Edward M. Cohen (Allentown, PA)

“Steam” by Joel Showalter (Columbus, OH)

“Excerpts from the Memoirs of Gene Dawson” by Gene Dawson (St. Louis, MO)

“Skinny Little Blondes” by Elizabeth Harper (Chicago, IL)

“Thirst” by Christopher Gonzalez (Cleveland, OH)

“To Love the Horseman of Famine” by Dominick Duda (Chicago, IL)

“The Ironwood Experiment” by Raymond Luczak (Minneapolis, MN)

“as above, so below” by Lars Avis (Normal, IL)

“Before there was, blink” by Jocelyn Krueger (Grinnell, IA)

“Summer” by Kalene Nisly (Hutchinson, KS)

“Fickle Inexplicable” by Jackie Hedeman (Lawrence, KS)

“Something like irresponsibility” by Harmony Cox (Columbus, OH)

“pink_sissy” by Joss Barton (St. Louis, MO)

“I’ve got a Hard-on for Jesus” by Elizabeth Harper (Chicago, IL)

“Long Distance” by Robyn Steely (Central IL)

‘does she mind’ by Anonymous

“When I’m With Her / Pua Yog Koj” by Ka “Oskar” Ly (St. Paul, MN)

“Arch” by K. Ann MacNeil (Watersmeet, MI)

“Sonic Healing in St. Louis” by Sylvia Sukop (St. Louis, MO)

“Haunt” by Brian Czyzyk (Lafayette, IN)

“Library Page” by L.S. Quinn (Garfield Heights, OH)

“‘Other’ Confusion” by Kay Patterson (Toledo, OH)

“Queer at the County Fair” by Nichole Lohrman-Novak and Janine Tiffe (Kent, OH)

“Tommie and Jane” by Sharon Seithel (Cape Girardeau, MO)

“Persimmon” by Jeffery Beam (Hillsborough, NC)

“In This Dream House” by Michael Schreiber (Chicago, IL)

“Sauvage” by James Schwartz (Bernie, IN)

“Letter to the Prodigal Son” by Anonymous

“For Danni” by April Vazquez (Concord, NC)

“Just Another Gay Story” by Samer Hassan Saleh (Chicago, IL)

“My Other Name Is Morales, Which Is Pronounced Morales” by Jennifer Morales (Viroqua, WI)

“ᏗᎾᎦᎵᏍᎩ ᏗᎦᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᏧᎦᎶᎦ (Digital Talking Leaves)” by Patrick Del Percio (Oklahoma City, OK)

“A Tale of Three Seasons” by Jasmine Burnett (Shaker Heights, OH)


Ryan Schuessler is a journalist whose work has appeared in Al Jazeera America, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The New York Times, National Geographic News, and The St. Louis Beacon. The editor of The St. Louis Anthology (Belt, 2019), he lives in Chicago.

Kevin Whiteneir, Jr. is an interdisciplinary artist and art historian. He holds a master's degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Modern and Contemporary Art History, Theory, and Criticism and a bachelor’s degree in Art History and Anthropology from Ripon College. He lives in Chicago.

JANUARY 12, 2021 | ISBN: 9781948742818 | LGBTQ INTEREST | 6 x 9 | PAPERBACK | 224 PAGES


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