2 min

A raw ride in the world of queer poetry

Christopher Gudgeon’s oddly prophetic Assdeep in Wonder takes aim at addiction, identity and Trump’s America.

Gudgeon’s poem, The Future Tops of America, is a celebration of the LGBT movement and a hilarious satire of the right-wing’s begrudging acceptance of gay rights. Credit: Courtesy Mark Uhre

Acclaimed author, screenwriter and poet Christopher Gudgeon is a jack-of-all trades. The queer artist has worked as a rent boy, psychiatric orderly, TV weatherman and has published 18 books spanning various genres throughout his career.

Gudgeon recently released Assdeep in Wonder, a poignant and hysterical collection of poetry bathed in acid wit that calls to mind the works of seminal poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and the lyrics of Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields.

Assdeep in Wonder examines a broad range of themes including sexuality, socially-constructed gender norms, attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and Donald Trump. In The Future Tops of America, Gudgeon aims to celebrate the vast diversity of the queer community while acknowledging the sacrifices made by those who have fought for progress. The lovesick Sonnet Written in a Bathhouse showcases Gudgeon’s fearless, unflinching writing that ties the broader collection together, while The Good Father paints a melancholy portrait of a son’s dysfunctional relationship with his father.

Author Christopher Gudgeon.
Courtesy Dez May

In amphetaminedays, one of the book’s standout poems, Gudgeon examines the correlation between queer identity and an ADHD diagnosis. Gudgeon, who was diagnosed a few years ago, believes the two are inextricably linked.

“First of all, I wanted to write a poem about being bisexual and ADHD. I don’t know why I wanted to do that, but I did. I don’t think that the two things are unrelated,” he says. “I have to say, I am continually amazed by the number of gay and bisexual men, friends of mine, who are diagnosed ADHD or who are so obviously ADHD to me it blows my mind.”

“There’s some kind of connection there. I got officially diagnosed a few years ago and I started taking Vyvanse, which is an amphetamine. As a teenager, I used to get in trouble for doing amphetamines and now they give them to me, so I was probably on the right track.”

Written in 2015 and included in the collection, The Revelations of Donald Trump is oddly prophetic of the disturbing outcome of the US presidential election. The poem depicts a world, from Baton Rouge to Kuwait City, cloaked in corporate advertisements and consumed by technology as the four horsemen of the apocalypse approach.

Gudgeon, who is based between Vancouver and Los Angeles, says he learned that calls to The Trevor Project, an American non-for-profit focused on suicide prevention among LGBT youth, spiked in the days following Trump’s victory.

“They got record numbers of phone calls from kids who were so depressed,” Gudgeon says. “We’ve come so far, or we think we’ve come so far . . . There have been sacrifices along the way and most of those sacrifices have been very involuntary. We think we’re safe because so much has happened, but there are people watching the parade that are not clapping.”