Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-08-07
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Queer singer Mary Lambert on her poetry collection
by Lauren Emily Whalen

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Mary Lambert first experienced what she calls "radical vulnerability" at age seven, when she started a group therapy session at a friend's sleepover.

"I've been in therapy since I was 5," said the queer performer and writer, now 29, who rose to fame after singing the hook on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' LGBTQ anthem "Same Love" and has a new poetry collection, Shame is An Ocean I Swim Across. "I've always had the encouragement to talk about my feelings and emotional development. I started reading Case Studies in Adolescence when I was nine years old, like a weirdo."

At the slumber party, Lambert and her friends began talking about their parents' divorces, then sexual abuse they'd endured. "I realized I had started a group therapy session for my fellow seven-year-olds," said Lambert. "Every single one of us had been violated by a man or someone older than us already."

Amid the crying and bonding, Lambert experienced "an a-ha moment."

"At that point, I realized how f—ked we all are, and how important it was to be empathetic and compassionate to each other," she said. "I wouldn't have had that moment had I not been radically vulnerable [and] facilitated that sort of environment."

Lambert's radical vulnerability is a consistent presence in her art. After writing "really, really bad poems" in junior high, she fell into spoken word poetry at 18. Lambert won several regional competitions in her native Seattle and was introduced to Macklemore through mutual friends in the spoken-word community.

"At the time, I was planning on applying to graduate school to be a teacher," Lambert said. Soon after, she recorded "Same Love" and her life changed forever.

When the song became a hit, Lambert signed with Capitol Records. "When I got the call, I was working three jobs," she said. "['Same Love'] gave me a four-year pop career, which I embraced and loved. Now I get to tour the country and sing about my feelings!"

She also has a wider audience for her own words.

"[For] my first poetry collection, I went to a printer and started making books myself. It was a DIY, gritty kind of thing," she said. "This time I had a whole team behind me! I'm so excited [Macmillan] wanted to make this book a reality and saw the value in my writing."

However, Lambert refused to rest on her "Same Love" laurels. "I didn't want to get a book deal because I'm a former pop singer. I wanted to get a book deal because I'm a good writer." Over the past three years, Lambert participated in poetry workshops and one-on-one coaching sessions, composing new work and heavily editing select poems from her 2013 self-published collection, 500 Tips for Fat Girls.

In Shame, Lambert opens up about the ups and downs of celebrity, as well as body image, past trauma and mental illness. She also writes about organized religion and faith.

"My family was really strictly Pentecostal," Lambert said. "Then my mom came out as bisexual and we were immediately shunned. I was six or seven at the time, and I went from going to church three or four times a week to going to drum circles and listening to Tracy Chapman!"

In high school Lambert joined an evangelical Christian church, where she remained even after coming out. "It wasn't the community that made the coming out process difficult," she said. "It was the indoctrination of harmful belief systems: there's a 'good' way to live and there's a 'bad' way to live, rather than 'I just exist!' It took a lot of self-reflection and rejecting harmful ideology [for me to] embrace the compassionate, loving God that I believe in."

Lambert still attends church but identifies as Episcopalian. "I feel like they're very radical and current in ideology, but very classic in liturgy, which I love. It's really comforting and reminds me of home."

Although Lambert is releasing Shame with "no expectations," she recently learned it may have a wider reach.

"I'm used to my fan base, which is generally other crying queers or allies … people who are very sensitive and like Harry Potter and are like me!" she said. "But a friend said, 'I don't have any trauma, but reading your book gave me a lens into what women and queer people, or someone with bipolar disorder, might be experiencing.'

"I didn't even consider that, someone who didn't have my experience picking up this book. But now I wonder if it might offer a lens for people who have a desire to connect but don't know how, and who want to be allies. I hope there is a feeling of a friend on the other end."

A friend who staunchly believes in the goodness of people: despite her traumatic childhood, bipolar disorder and "creative differences" with the music industry, Lambert is an eternal optimist. "I never became jaded about humanity. I just don't have that in me," she said.

"For me, I've always seen the best in people. I know that's a double-edged sword, but…I just don't see any other way to exist."

In the meantime, she's working on Shame's accompanying album as well as a musical, while enjoying fall from her western Massachusetts home and writing love poems for her partner. Lambert describes her current state of mind as "blissed out."

"I'm embracing the complexity of life," she said. "There's no wrong way to live as long as you're doing it with compassion and kindness, and I'm practicing that in a way I never have before."

She added, "I'm going to speak at the UN next month, and I'm gonna play football later today. My life is awesome!"

Shame is An Ocean I Swim Across is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and wherever books are sold. For more about the author, follow her on Twitter at @marylambertsing.

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Goldie Goldbloom on new book, being a queer Chasidic Jew 2019-08-21 - Chicago author and queer Chasidic Jew Goldie Goldbloom's newest book is On Division. It centers on the life of Surie Eckstein in Brooklyn, ...

Gay News

MOMBIAN Pushing for inclusivity in children's books, one publisher shows how 2019-08-21 - Orca Book Publishers of British Columbia, Canada, is an independent publisher with the goal of offering "reading material that represents the diversity of ...

Gay News

BOOK REVIEW The Ghost Photographer 2019-08-21 - By Julie Rieger $25; Enliven/Atria Books; 243 pages You know how they do it. It's a snap, really. A little bit of ...

Gay News

NUNN ON ONE MUSIC Michael Feinstein, The legend returns to Ravinia 2019-08-21 - Cabaret king Michael Feinstein returns to Ravinia Festival this month with singer Haley Reinhart in her Ravinia debut. Songs will span over decades ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Tituss Burgess, IMDb, Halsey, Stephen Colbert, 'Queer As Folk' 2019-08-21 - Quibi has greenlit Dishmantled—described as "a high-octane cooking competition that will literally blow your socks off," with Tituss Burgess ( Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; ...

Gay News

NUNN ON ONE CABARET Rizo's 'Chaos' theory 2019-08-20 - Teatro Zinzanni's Love, Chaos & Dinner is currently playing at the newly opened Cambria Hotel Chicago, 32 W. Randolph St., on the 14th ...

Gay News

CONCERTS Activate: Green Room, Alice Cooper, Hozier, Parker Milsap, Hunx 2019-08-20 - In case you didn't get enough queer cheer in June, July and August came packed with plenty of treats for every persuasion. ...

Gay News

Music Box calls on Parton and Poppins for 90th anniversary 2019-08-18 - An all-night Dolly Parton film festival and a Mary Poppins sing-a-long screening are among the offerings at Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport ...

Gay News

London Gay Symphonic-Lakeside Pride Joint in concert Aug. 24 2019-08-16 - CHICAGO ( August 15, 2019 ) — Lakeside Pride Music Ensembles presents an international collaboration with London's only LGBTQ symphonic wind band, the ...

Gay News

Drag-and-dining venue Lips to open Aug. 22 2019-08-16 - Lips, a drag-and-dining venue, will have a grand opening Thursday, Aug. 22, at 2229 S. Michigan Ave. Just some of the drag performers ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.