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.” 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. Source

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.

[  ] 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—





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Childhood & Coming of Age


LGBTQ+ Experience

Literary Devices:


a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences


visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic