Read a F*cking Book: “The Lesbian Sex Haiku Book (With Cats!)” Is Everything You Care About

Feature image by Kelsey Beyer

If your three main interests are other queer women, cats, and poetry — which: duh, of course they are — I’ve got some good news for you. Writer Anna Pulley and artist Kelsey Beyer have tag-teamed to create a miraculous little tome called The Lesbian Sex Haiku Book (With Cats!)It’s exactly what it sounds like, my friends: 146 pages of hilarious, heartbreaking, wise, and wondrous haikus and punny, funny cat illustrations to accompany them.

Before the poems, though, a story: Anna started writing haikus after her fiancée broke up with her because her fiancée wasn’t quite as into women as she’d originally thought when she accepted Anna’s proposal, and Anna was so heartsick that she couldn’t write. Which was a problem because writing is how she makes her living. The only writing she could emotionally manage in the wake of her breakup was the number of characters in a tweet. 140 letters and numbers and symbols and spaces. She convinced herself to write one tweet a day. And then she convinced herself to intellectually engage with that single tweet enough to make it a haiku. And then she wrote one haiku every day for an entire year. Through them she found healing and hope and her now-girlfriend, who also happens to be the illustrator of the adorable cats in this book.

Everything comes full circle!

The Lesbian Sex Haiku Book (With Cats!) isn’t just a hodgepodge of tiny, poetical ditties — it’s divided up into handy chapters. Lesbianism 101. How Lesbian Sex Works. Look Both Ways: Demystifying Bisexuality. My Ex Is Your Ex. And more! And while the foreword and chapter titles hint at introducing straight people into the mystical world of Being Gay, the haikus are very much written for queer people. They are full of inside jokes, winks at tropes, gentle clowning on stereotypes, and references to beloved queer artists and writers and musicians.

Anna is probably most well known for her self-deprecating advice columns and podcasts, so there’s a lot of hard-won wisdom in her haikus and a definite self-help vibe to a lot of them (which I mean in a good way). And of course, sex. Sex jokes, sex stories, sex advice, sex help, sex puns, sex sex sex sex sex.

Kelsey’s cat illustrations are brilliant. Pairing vintage Golden Book-style drawing and coloring techniques with sex, puns, and queer lifestyle allusions is one of the most subversive and hilarious things I’ve ever seen. Imagine The Shy Little Kitten with a whip in her mouth, or The Poky Little Puppy nosing around a sex dungeon, or The Lively Little Rabbit with a lively little rabbit vibrator. The best part is that Kelsey obviously knows cats because their faces are so unabashed about all their sex hijinks; they preemptively scorn your judgment!

No matter where you are on your gay ol’ journey, this book has something for you. It walks you through every stage of falling in love and breaking up, comforts you as you struggle with queer-specific existential angst, validates your identity, and provides hours of queer entertainment. If you buy it as a gift, you’ll end up keeping it.

A sampling of pickup haikus:

Pronnounce Annie Proulx’s
name correctly — watch lady’s
cargo pants fall off.

Perfect the art of
leaning on things. Once mastered,
hook thumbs into jeans.

Don’t label me — I’m
a non-het identified
poly pagan witch.

Visit a witch store.
Not for spells, just to support
local queer business!

It has been MANY
years, but I’m not done griping
about The L Word.

Buy Tipping the Velvet.
Don’t give it to her! Hope
she gets the “message.”

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. Don’t label me — I’m
    a non-het identified
    poly pagan witch.

    This describes me perfectly!

    Also, I definitely need this book.

  2. Have ya’ll talked about this book in any other columns? Some of the haikus sound super familiar. And thanks for the rec!

      • THAT MUST BE WHERE I SAW THEM! Thank you, adorable autostraddle member who has an adorable cat picture!

        • You’re welcome. And thank you. Right now the cat in question is sitting between my feet, on the foot stool, plotting how to reclaim her chair. And she’s looking pretty damn adorable too.

    • i’ve included some in the AAA before! i wish anna would come to a-camp for a reading. how amazing would that be?

    • Yes, Chandra has it!

      qg miperson, the key to pronouncing words French of origin is ignoring like half of the word especially if part of it looks unpronounceable to your non-Gallic brain.

      For example:
      Tchoupitoulas is CHAP-ah-too-luh
      Versailles is Ver-sai
      Couillon is Coo-yon


      • Yes, ignore half the word, and for real cargo-pant-dropping panache, pronounce the “r” like you’re gargling Pop Rocks or dislodging an errant pet hair from the back of your throat. It’s très sexy.

        • Oh that sounds so pretentious and terrible I love it.

          The only French I’ve ever heard is a bit of Cajun French and I can sing my way through La Grace du Ciel so when Anglo type people attempt add frills to French “the language of fancy stuff” it delights the little troll within me to watch them make asses of themselves and hope they try that shit with an actual French person.

  3. Once again, Autostraddle helps increase the stack of books I still have to read. My sincerest gratitude. <3

  4. Of course I want this for the content, but is it wrong that I want it so that straight friends perusing my bookshelves have a “huh what?” moment…?

  5. I swear the longer I’m at this site the more likely I am to develop an interest in witchcraft. =P

    • Come to the circle moya sestra, kitchen witchin’ is a thing and sí that means cookies.
      Some of the time not all of the time, balance and moderation are important.

  6. These are not haiku. Whilst I applaud the concept and he humour, it perpetuates the myth that anything written in 17 syllables is a haiku

  7. I love the witch ones so much. If I was someone who cross-stitched, I would cross-stitch one onto a pillow.

  8. I am cautiously intrigued! Question, though, is the section about bisexuality hateful, or humanizing?

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