Skip to main content
Richard Siken portrait

Richard Siken was educated at the University of Arizona and currently lives in Tucson, Arizona, where he is a full-time social worker caring for developmentally disabled adults. He also coedits Spork Press, which published the quarterly literary magazine Spork from 2001 to 2010 and continues to issue it occasionally, along with chapbooks and novels. To make these dual lives possible, Siken has regularly worked twenty-hour shifts on the weekend to free up time to edit for the press and write his poetry during the week. Siken’s book of poetry, Crush, from which both of the poems here are reprinted, arguably takes frankness about gay sexuality farther than anyone has before. Siken says the 1991 death of his companion influenced the writing of the book: it "is a little more about elegy and a little more desperate" as a consequence. Some of his speakers are consumed with sexual obsessions. Others vacillate between resentment and forgiveness. Reckless, youthful sex has a place in some of the poems. On the other hand, he has said that “if you think that life is brutal and short, then the book is uplifting. I don’t know if it’s grim. I think it’s true.”