The Desert Nights, Rising Stars
Writers Conference

Photograph of Kay Ulanday Barrett

Kay Ulanday Barrett

Desert Nights, Rising Stars Faculty 2020

About Kay Ulanday Barrett

Kay Ulanday Barrett aka @brownroundboi, is a poet, performer, and educator, navigating life as a disabled pilipinx amerikan transgender queer in the U.S. K. has featured globally; Princeton University, UC Berkeley, The Lincoln Center, Queens Museum, The Chicago Historical Society, NY Poetry Festival, Dodge Poetry Foundation, The Hemispheric Institute, & National Queer Arts Festival. They are a 3x Pushcart Prize nominee and has received fellowships from Lambda Literary Review, VONA/Voices, The Home School, and Drunken Boat. Their contributions are found in Asian American Literary Review, PBS News Hour, NYLON, The Margins, RaceForward, Foglifter, The Deaf Poets Society, Poor Magazine,, Trans Bodies/Trans Selves, Winter Tangerine, Apogee, Entropy, Colorlines, Everyday Feminism, Them., The Advocate, and Bitch Magazine. They have contributions in the anthologies, Subject To Change (Sibling Rivalry Press), Outside the XY: Queer Black & Brown Masculinity (Magnus Books), and Writing the Walls Down: A Convergence of LGBTQ Voices (Trans-genre Press). They are currently a guest editor at Nat.Brut, 2018 Lambda Literary Review, Writer-In-Residence in Poetry, and 2018 guest faculty for The Poetry Foundation & Crescendo Literary. When The Chant Comes (Topside Press, 2016) is their first collection of poetry.

More About Kay Ulanday Barrett

---. "Homebois Don't Write Enough.When The Chant Comes, 2016.

homebois we don’t write enough love poems.
we re-name ourselves izzie from Isabella,
casey from Cassandra, kay from Kathleen. 

we run out of ink for our stories cuz we’ve been
running through doors of male and female, never satisfied.

we stunnin’ baggy jeans and bright colors over the sirens,
we stop cars and walk with stride that makes the concrete self-conscious 
about it’s own stability.

hitting pavement at the tip-toes of summer,
there you go talkin’ about how you
“need a woman pregnant and barefoot.”

as I shutter asking,
     are you gonna find a stiletto ready to stab you
if the knight sticks don’t come get you first?

asking- are you gonna be that bullet that is a mouth?
asking- are you gonna be that missile that blasts your woman until she misses you,
even when you will both be in the same bed?

if we make ourselves harder than bone,
     make us a legacy that is beyond all this.

cuz I’ve been running through doors of male and female,
never satisfied.

that makes you nervous doesn’t it?
are you worried, your palms sweaty because

I am NOT that kind of a man...

Melt, J. "Kay Ulanday Barrett: On Dancing it Out, Revising Masculinity, and Poetry as Testimony."Lambda Literary Foundation  

JM: “Homebois Don’t Write Enough” is one of my favorite pieces in the book. It reads like a manifesto. There’s a really beautiful turn in the poem where you say “homebois we don’t write enough love poems…homebois, we don’t write enough love poems to ourselves.” You express a sense of not fitting into a binary model of gender. Can you talk more about the need to rewrite masculinity and the necessity of tenderness?

KUB: I’m so glad you appreciate that piece. There’s an incessant need to rewrite and revise masculinity. There must always be room for tenderness. As a disabled and chronically ill person of the brown queer masculine variety, I’m not typically what you find of the #FTM life or what people conceive of as manly. Personally, I’m cool with that, but that isn’t the case with mainstream U.S. society. As a kid, I was for some reason on the periphery of what was considered behaved or acceptable and many times, respectable. This poem is no different.


Fitzpatrick, Cat. "BGD Book Review: “When The Chant Comes” By Kay Ulanday Barrett." BGD Press, October 21, 2016.

Throughout the collection, Kay threads together storylines about his mother, diaspora, romantic love, disability, loneliness, and astrology. In each section, Kay searches to articulate even the most unspeakable parts of life with a refreshing level of humility and honesty.