Brent Calderwood

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Brent Calderwood
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CitizenshipUnited States of America
  • Journalist
  • Author
  • Activist

Brent Calderwood is an American journalist, author, and activist. He was named by Out (magazine) in the magazine’s annual “Out 100” issues, identifying important LGBT newsmakers in both 1995 and 2014.[1]. His writing and activism on behalf of LGBTQ youth is documented in the films The Butch Factor[2] and Now We Can Dance: The Story of the Hayward Gay Prom[3], as well as the television program Lifestories with Gabrielle Carteris[4]. His first book, The God of Longing[5], was recommended by the American Library Association[6] in 2014 and is housed in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress[7].

Journalism and Activism

Calderwood’s writing has included essays and op-ed articles, as well as profiles and interviews with artists such as director Guillermo del Toro, musician-composer David Amram[8], women’s music pioneer Holly Near[9], Harvey Milk photographer Daniel Nicoletta[10], painter Lenore Chinn, and the singer-songwriters Mary Lambert (singer) and Justin Vivian Bond[11]. His work has been published in Rolling Stone[12], Out[13], the San Francisco Examiner[14], and Noir City magazine[15].

Calderwood began his journalism career in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1992 as cofounder of InsideOUT magazine, the first nationally distributed magazine for LGBT youth in the United States[16]. As a result of local news coverage of the magazine and his own articles on LGBT youth issues, which were distributed to national newspapers by Pacific News Service, Calderwood became the target of antigay harassment[17], including vandalism and death threats[18]. In the months following those events, he was invited to speak on the syndicated program Lifestories with Gabrielle Carteris; other guests on the episode, which focused on violence toward LGBT youth, included Mary Griffith, mother of Bobby Griffith, as well as friends and associates of Brandon Teena[19].

For Calderwood’s activism and writing, he was the only LGBT youth included in the 1995 "OUT 100" issue of Out magazine[20]. A large format two-page comic strip that Calderwood illustrated and wrote, titled “Memoirs from a Closet"[21], was recognized as culturally significant by GLAAD and is still used in classrooms to educate students on homophobia and diversity. Calderwood also lobbied in Sacramento during the 1995-1996 legislative session for AB101 Veto Riot, sponsored by Sheila Kuehl, the first Assembly Bill in California to explicitly prohibit discrimination against LGBT students; the bill was eventually passed as AB222, the Freedom for All Students Act, and was signed into law as AB537 in 2000[22].

Literary Work

Calderwood, a member of the National Book Critics Circle[23], has served as a judge for those awards as well as the Lambda Literary Award in poetry and YA fiction. He was the literary editor for Art & Understanding (A&U) magazine from 2011 to 2015; during that time, he cofounded the international Christopher Hewitt Awards in poetry, fiction, and drama, naming the award for the magazine’s original literary editor[24]. Since 2013, the awards have been given to writers from Africa, Asia, South America, Europe, and North America. Calderwood has also been a guest editor for the poetry journals Assaracus, Locuspoint[25], and The Squaw Valley Review.

In addition to the collected poems in The God of Longing, Calderwood’s poetry and essays appear in dozens of anthologies and journals including The Southern Poetry Anthology[26], The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, and Gathered Light: The Poetry of Joni Mitchell’s Songs (an essay anthology published with participation from Mitchell in which notable poets such as Cornelius Eady and Kim Addonizio each write about the Prosody (linguistics)|prosody and literary merits of the lyrics of an individual Mitchell song)[27].


  1. "Poet Brent Calderwood On 'The God of Longing' & the Need For Naughtiness". 2014-11-18. Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  2. Hines, Christopher; Wolfe Video (Firm) (2010), The butch factor: what kind of man are you?, New Almaden, CA: Wolfe, OCLC 971009209, retrieved 2022-02-20
  3. Willis, Laurie; Sherman, Shawna; Thomas, Sally; Hayward Public Library (Hayward, Calif.) (2012). Now we can dance: the story of the Hayward gay prom. Hayward, CA: Hayward Public Library. OCLC 875287415.
  4. "Marshfield News-Herald from Marshfield, Wisconsin on October 15, 1994 · 54". Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  5. Calderwood, Brent; Bemis/Flaherty Collection of Gay Poetry (2014). The god of longing. ISBN 978-1-937420-81-9. OCLC 890624384.
  6. "God of Longing | Awards & Grants". Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  7. "LC Catalog - No Connections Available". Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  8. Calderwood, Brent; Calderwood, Brent (2021-03-01). "'I Never Was a Beat Poet': Lawrence Ferlinghetti's Musical Vision". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  9. "July 31, 2014 Edition of the Bay Area Reporter by Bay Area Reporter - Issuu". Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  10. Needle, Chael. "Daniel Nicoletta: Artist | A&U Magazine". Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  11. "July 31, 2014 Edition of the Bay Area Reporter by Bay Area Reporter - Issuu". Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  12. "Brent Calderwood". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  13. "Year in Review: Asleep at the Wheel". 2011-12-16. Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  14. Calderwood, Brent (1995-08-22). "Out of the closet, onto the dance floor". SFGATE. Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  15. "Film Noir Foundation - NOIR CITY Magazine". Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  16. Due, Linnea A. (1995). Joining the tribe : growing up gay & lesbian in the '90s (1st Anchor books ed.). New York: Anchor Books. ISBN 0-385-47500-4. OCLC 32167850.
  17. Cronin, Mary; McNinch, James; University of Regina; Canadian Plains Research Center (2004). "I could not speak my heart": education and social justice for gay and lesbian youth. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center, University of Regina. ISBN 978-0-88977-178-9. OCLC 55474750.
  18. Calderwood, Brent (1995-08-22). "Out of the closet, onto the dance floor". SFGATE. Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  19. "Marshfield News-Herald from Marshfield, Wisconsin on October 15, 1994 · 54". Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  20. "1996". 2011-11-16. Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  21. Woog, Dan (1995). School's out: the impact of gay and lesbian issues on America's schools. ISBN 978-1-55583-249-0. OCLC 32013883.
  22. "About the Law". California Safe Schools Coalition. 2020-03-30. Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  23. "New reviews and more from NBCC members". National Book Critics Circle. 2022-01-10. Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  24. Needle, Chael. "Chris Hewitt 2014 Winners Announced | A&U Magazine". Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  25. "LOCUSPOINT: SAN FRANCISCO | Third Edition | BRENT CALDERWOOD". Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  26. The Southern poetry anthology. Stephen Gardner, William Wright (1st ed.). Huntsville, Tex.: Texas Review Press. 2018 [2007]. ISBN 978-1-933896-06-9. OCLC 141484433.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  27. Gathered light : the poetry of Joni Mitchell's songs. Joni Mitchell, Lisa Sornberger, John Sornberger. Toronto, ON. 2013. ISBN 978-1-927513-12-5. OCLC 833553366.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)

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