Willyce Kim

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Willyce Kim
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Born (1946-02-18) February 18, 1946 (age 77)
Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
CitizenshipUnited States of America
EducationDegree in English Literature
Alma materSan Francisco College of Women
  • Poet
  • Novelist

Willyce Kim is generally recognized to be the first openly-lesbian, Asian American poet to be published in the United States.[1] Kim published her first book of poetry in 1971 and continued to publish poetry and novels throughout the 1970s and 1980s. She also contributed to a number of lesbian literary reviews throughout this time period. Her work is characterized by its celebration of lesbianism, strong women, and queer kinship.

Background and education

Kim, who has lived in Oakland, California since the early 1970s, was born in 1946 in Honolulu, Hawaii to Korean American parents. Raised Catholic, Kim attended Catholic schools graduating with a degree in English Literature in 1968 from San Francisco College of Women (later becoming Lone Mountain College which, in turn, was eventually acquired by the University of San Francisco). [2] While at San Francisco College of Women, Kim served as editor of Tradewinds, the campus literary magazine.


Kim was an early member of the Women’s Press Collective, an Oakland-based collective that facilitated the printing and distribution of self-published books by lesbians. Kim’s later works were published by Alyson Publications, a Boston-based publisher specializing in LGBT literature. Kim’s work also appeared in literary journals such as Women’s Press, Everywoman, Furies, Plexus, Sinister Wisdom, Conditions Ten, IKON, and Phoenix Rising.[3]

Throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s, Kim participated in readings and open mics along with other Bay Area poets including Pat Parker and Kitty Tsui. Among the venues where Kim read were A Woman’s Place bookstore in Oakland, Scott’s, a lesbian biker bar in San Francisco’s Castro district, [4] [5] Modern Times Bookstore in San Francisco, [6] Ollie's in Oakland,[7] and A Different Light, an LGBT bookstore in San Francisco.[8]

Kim’s work has influenced writers such as Alexander Chee[9] and Merle Woo[10] and has been reviewed both in the LGBTQ press[11] [12] [13] and the mainstream press. [14] [15]

In 1985, Kim began working in the library at UC Berkeley [16] where she served in a variety of supervisory positions in Doe Library for 25 years.




Anthologies and collections

(partial list)


(partial list)

Cade, Cathy, The Lives of Seven Lesbian Feminists, Oakland, CA: Waterwoman Books, 1987.

Juan, Karin Aguilar-San. "Landmarks in literature by Asian American lesbians." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 18, no. 4 (1993): 936-943.

Kim, Elaine H. "'These Bearers of a Homeland': An Overview of Korean American Literature, 1934-2001." Korea Journal 41, no. 3 (2001): 149-200.

Kyung, Min Eun, "To American and Beyond: Diaspora in Korean American Writing," Korean Literature Now, 25 (Autumn 2014).

Van Ausdall, Mimi Iimuro. "'The Day All of the Different Parts of Me Can Come Along': Intersectionality and US Third World Feminism in the Poetry of Pat Parker and Willyce Kim." Journal of Lesbian Studies 19, no. 3 (2015): 336-356.

우효경. "Korean American Queer Poetics in Willyce Kim’s Eating Artichokes." 현대영미시연구 24, no. 1 (2018): 183-211.


  1. Villemez, Jason (October 26, 2018). "Willyce Kim Wrote Here Own Story & Inspired Other Lesbians to Do the Same". LGBTQ Nation. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  2. Hom, Alice Y (2004). "Kim, Willyce.". In Stein, Marc (ed.). Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History in America. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons (Thomson/Gale). p. 111-12. Retrieved 3 September 2020. (Also available at Encyclopedia.com)
  3. Tsui, Kitty (1993). "Willyce Kim". In Pollack, Sandra; Knight, Denise D (eds.). Contemporary Lesbian Writers of the United States: A Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. pp. 283–86. OCLC 26933237.
  4. "(Calendar)" (PDF). Sisters: A Magazine by and for Gay Women. September 1974.
  5. "10 Sanchez Street". SF Gay History: The history of San Francisco's LGBTQ community. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  6. "Guide to Events in the Bay Area" (PDF). Coming Up!. 6 (10): 16. July 1985.
  7. Hanrahan, Noelle (August 11, 1988). "Pat Parker Benefit Draws Hundreds to Ollies" (PDF). Coming Up!. 9 (11): 16.
  8. "Advertisement" (PDF). San Francisco Sentinel: 27. March 2, 1989.
  9. Villemez, Jason (December 13, 1918). "Alexander Chee: From Act UP to Acclaim". Philadelphia Gay News. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  10. Brandt, Kate, ed. (1993). "Willyce Kim: Reluctant Pioneer". Happy Endings: Lesbian Writers Talk about their work. Tallahassee, FL: Naiad Press, Inc. p. 217-26. OCLC 260210218.
  11. "Dancer Dawkins and the California Kid". Off Our Backs. 15 (6): 26. 1985.
  12. "Kudos for Kim" (PDF). Mama Bears News & Notes. 2 (2): 1. April–May 1985.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: date format (link)
  13. Lynch, Lee (November 23, 1988). "Lesbian Love Tales" (PDF). San Francisco Sentinel. 16 (47): 28.
  14. "Review of Dead Heat". Publishers Weekly: 98. September 2, 1988.
  15. Lynch, Lee (February 1986). "Laughing Lesbians". The Women's Review of Books. 3 (5): 8-9. doi:10.2307/4019861. JSTOR 4019861.
  16. "Personnel Changes: Appointment". CU News. 40 (41). October 1985.

External links

This article "Willyce Kim" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical. Articles taken from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be accessed on Wikipedia's Draft Namespace.