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John Bosworth

John Bosworth is a senior at the University of Texas at Austin, where he studies English and Plan II Honors. Bosworth is the winner of the 2018 Aliki Perroti and Seth Frank Most Promising Young Poet Award for his poem “A Boy Can Wear a Dress.” About the poem, judge Ellen Bass says:
This poem surprises and engages me at every turn. I admire the technical skill, imagination, clear music, and the unexpected, compelling images. There is so much that’s exciting and fresh here. The marriage of whimsy and urgency, eros, and death make this poem memorable. I very much look forward to reading John Bosworth’s poems in the future.
Bosworth is also the recipient of the 2018 Roy Crane Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts and a two-time winner of James F. Parker Writing Contests. He currently works as a poetry intern at Bat City Review.

By This Poet


A Boy Can Wear a Dress

A boy can wear a dress
    by cliff or by
creek, by God or by
   dark in the caul of the devil.

A boy can wear a dress
    bought with a tin-
can full of cherries on the
    day of his daddy’s dying.

A boy can weep in his dress—
    by boat or by plane, he
can sleep in his dress,
    dance in his dress, make

eyes in his dress at the
    flame at the hotel bar.
Goddamn it all to graceland,
    how stunning he looks

in his blue cotton dress,
    just stunning! Nothing can
keep him from
    losing our minds, sluicing

my heart in that way he does.
    Nothing can keep him.
On the walk to his daddy’s wake,
    persons of rank may

question his dress,
    raise their brows at his dress,
so he twirls and twirls
    till his dress is its own

    unaddressed question, un-
veiling the reasons he
    wakes every morning, like an
x-ray for colors beneath

    your colors, your
zygote soul, your naked twirl—