Steven Reigns

Cindy Seip

Steven Reigns, a Los Angeles poet and educator, was appointed the first poet laureate of West Hollywood. He has published two previous collections, Inheritance and Your Dead Body is My Welcome Mat, and over a dozen chapbooks. Reigns edited My Life is Poetry, showcasing his students’ work from the first autobiographical poetry workshop for LGBTQ seniors. He has lectured and taught writing workshops around the country to LGBTQ youth and people living with HIV, and worked for a decade as an HIV test counselor in Florida and Los Angeles. In A Quilt for David (City Lights Books), eight people in a small, conservative Florida town in the early 1980s alleged that Dr. David Acer, their dentist, infected them with HIV. Acer’s gayness, and his sickly appearance from AIDS-related illness, made him the perfect scapegoat and a victim of mob mentality. In these early years of the AIDS epidemic, when how it was transmitted was little understood and homophobia ran rampant, people like Acer were villainized. In poetry and prose, Reigns explores the story and the lives of Acer and those who denounced him. Justin Torres, author of We the Animals, wrote he “found this an incredibly moving book. Reigns deals in hard truths, revisioning one man’s life and death, and our collective queer history.”