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An Interview With Maggie Bowyer! 🏳️‍🌈

Tell us a little about you! How old are you and where are you from? Tell us something fun about your hometown!

Hi! My name is Maggie Bowyer (they/he). I am a 26-year-old from Greensboro, North Carolina! One thing I really love about Greensboro is the thriving poetry community! When I was a teen, I was a part of a youth slam team that competed internationally, and they are still active today. I am a better writer because of the poets who raised me.

You're a poet who uses your passion for poetry to bring awareness to endometriosis and fibromyalgia. When did you discover these illnesses, and how does navigating chronic illness affect your daily life?

I was diagnosed with Endometriosis in 2019, and shortly after was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, hEDS, and other chronic conditions. Most of my days revolve around doctors appointments, medical admin, and managing pain, fatigue, and a feeding tube. I love poetry because it gives me a chance to write my experience in a visceral way, to show others what it is like to live with these conditions.

You used to travel performing spoken word poetry! What was that like?

Traveling to commune with other poets has been one of my favorite parts of this life. I met poets from all over the world and got to learn from them, both about the craft and about their lived experiences. We would have town halls where we discussed issues we face as individuals and as a community. Fostering empathy and thinking critically about the world we want to build was an incredible experience. Another incredible part of these trips were workshops; I love learning how other people approach writing. The competing and performing are a rush, and are fun, but the best moments happened at midnight in the dorms, where we would read our works in progress to each other and bond over our love of words.

When did you come out as trans masc/non-binary, and how does your work reflect your experiences as a chronically ill trans person?

I came out as nonbinary nearly a decade ago now! While my understanding of my gender has continued to evolve over that time, I feel very honored to have walked this path for so long. I hold a lot of privilege as a thin, white person; many trans people, especially Black trans women, are taken from this world too soon. I try to honor that as much as I can in my writing. One thing I will never do is take life for granted. When I show up to the page, it is with reverence for the blessing of experience.

You've written several wonderful poetry books, and all of them I've read. In what ways has your poetry reached people who also deal with chronic illness and gender identity?

Oh, thank you so much! That means the world to me.

This work has been so fulfilling, and has connected me with some of my very best friends! For example, one of my best friends is Rissa from @FibroGirlBlog and we created a zine together, and she came to my wedding. We got an email recently from a chronically ill and LGBTQ+ librarian who wants to acquire it for their zine library. Knowing my words are reaching chronically ill and queer people all over the world still baffles me, but I feel so connected to each person. We are mirrors; even if the small details are different, we experience so many of the same things. It is an honor to tell even a small part of their story, so that they may feel seen. Sometimes people tell me that they shared my work with a loved one so that they may understand chronic illness or being LGBTQ+ better. That is one of the most special things I think anyone tells me.

What advice would you give someone who is struggling to get a chronic illness diagnosis?

To keep fighting. Get a second, third, fifteenth opinion. You live in your body; you know it best, and far better than a doctor who sees you for a few minutes every couple of months.

You recently tied the knot with your partner Grant! Congratulations! How's married life as a newly married queer couple?

Married life is wonderful! Grant is the most supportive and loving partner one could as for. He has never made me feel like I needed to be smaller, less, or change any part of myself; he has always embraced my identity and my changing abilities.

I would be remiss not to mention that though queer people can get married in the US now, many disabled people on benefits like SSI cannot get married, or else they will lose their benefits. We do not have marriage equality in this country until we can all get married.

Do you have any upcoming projects or events?

There are several projects in the works currently! Many of them are long-form and will take a bit more time to complete. In the meantime, I have started a Substack called “Basking in the Mundane,” where I share writing advice, personal narratives, sneak peaks, and even am hosting a writer’s group! I will also be at the next virtual Thunder and Lightning poetry night on July 26th! There will be more details on their Instagram @ThunderLightningPoetry soon.

Where can readers buy your books? (Your preference, I know not everyone prefers Amazon)

Anywhere! If you have a local bookstore you like to support, they can order you a copy! Otherwise, Barns and Noble, Amazon, anywhere that works best for you! Thank you so much for this chat, it was wonderful! Happy Pride!

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