To read more about the lives of lesbian and bisexual women poets, you
can explore the books listed in the bibliographies for individual poets
(see entries in Historical Lesbian Poetry).
If you'd like to read about more than one author, try one of the biographical
collections listed here.
Chloe Plus Olivia by Lillian Faderman (New
York: Penguin Books, 1994).
Subtitled "An Anthology of Lesbian Literature from the Seventeenth
Century to the Present" this impressive 812-page reference offers biographical
information, examples of work from lesbian and bisexual authors (many
of them poets), and discussions of the lesbian literary "climate" during
particular time periods.
The Gay and Lesbian Literary Heritage, edited
by Claude J. Summers (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1995).
This amazing encyclopedic reference (786 pages, 350 entries) includes
essays on gay and lesbian writers throughout history, as well as discussions
on literary topics, such as lesbian poetry. Many of the female poets
included here are discussed in this book.
The Gay & Lesbian Literary Companion, by Sharon
Malinowski and Christa Brelin (Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1995)
Includes biographies of 45 writers (some heterosexual) who have written
important work on lesbigay themes. This isn't quite the comprehensive
tome that the The Gay and Lesbian Literary Heritage is, but
is still interesting.in its own right. It isn't clear why the authors
chose to profile certain poets and ignore others--only a select group
is included. Of lesbian poets, the book includes biographies of Elsa
Gidlow and Gertrude Stein, as well as contemporary poets such as Jewelle
Gomez, Judy Grahn, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, and May Sarton.
Surpassing the Love of Men by Lillian Faderman
(New York: Quill, 1981).
Subtitled "Romantic Friendship and Love Between Women from the Renaissance
to the Present." While this book (by the author of Chloe Plus Olivia)
addresses romantic relationships between women in general, not just
writers, it includes interesting information about many prominent poets.
Some of the background Faderman provides here is not available elsewhere.