Spring reading list

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Handmade  Love

Handmade Love

Poetry in motion

National Poetry Month (April) has come and gone, but it left us with plenty to ponder and enjoy. Queer poets led the way with several releases of note.

The late gay poet Jame Schuyler’s “Other Flowers: Uncollected Poems” (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2010), edited by James Meetze and Simon Pettet, arrives almost 20 years after his passing and nearly 30 years after he received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

Gay owned and operated A Midsummer Night’s Press offers two titles. “Handmade Love” (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2010) by Julie R. Enszer is a collection of poems that touches the passionate and compassionate disposition of all GLBT people; the hardships and also the fiery passion that can exist between us. In “Mute” (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2010) deaf gay man Raymond Luczak describes the heartache and defeat felt through living in a world of incomplete sound and his journey to find love.

“Automaton Biographies” (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2010), lesbian novelist Larissa Lai’s first full-length poetry book consists of four long poems reflecting on our connection to animals, machines, language and one another.

Chip Livingston’s full-length debut poetry collection is “Museum of False Starts” (Gival Press, 2010), and straddles the worlds of gay and Native American cultures. “Pierce The Skin: Selected Poems” (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2010) is out poet (and Pulitzer finalist) Henri Cole’s sixth book.

Of course the poetry shelf doesn’t only belong to GLBT writers. Charles Bernstein’s “All The Whiskey In Heaven: Selected Poems” (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2010) and “Wait” by C.K. Williams (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2010) are two collections that make that point abundantly clear.

Stages and screens

The groundbreaking late gay filmmaker Derek Jarman (“Caravaggio,” “Edward II” and others) constructed his newly reissued 1992 book “At Your Own Risk” (University of Minnesota Press, 2010), from interviews, autobiography and social history, spanning the 1940 to the 1990s. Jarman’s 1994 “Chroma,” described as “a meditation on the color spectrum” has also been reissued by the same press as “At Your Own Risk.” David Thomson’s Great Stars series from Faber and Faber features biographies of Bette Davis, Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart and Gary Cooper.

Out musician Kevin Thornton, of Waves on Waves fame, has been touring the country with his humorous and heartbreaking one-man show “Sex, Dreams & Self-Control.” Now available in book form, “Sex, Dreams & Self-Contol” can be found at thekevinthornton.com. Also of a theatrical nature, “Theatre” (Faber and Faber, 2010) by playwright and filmmaker David Mamet is described as a “mischievous manifesto” in which the writer trains his critical eye on the world that helped to make him who he is.

“Swanky, smoke-filled jazz clubs” are among the locales visited by early 20th century New York medical examiner Charles Norris and toxicologist Alexander Gettler in “The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York” (The Penguin Press, 2010) by Deborah Blum.

Fast forward 80 years to the rock clubs, music festivals and record labels of the 1990s and you have some of the settings for “Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music” (Faber and Faber, 2010) by Marisa Meltzer. To her credit, Meltzer does an admirable job of representing queer musicians in her informative book. In between the Jazz Age and the 1990s women’s rock revolution, punk godmother Patti Smith and notorious gay photographer Robert Mapplethorpe were intimate soul mates. Smith tells their unconventional and endearing story in her memoir “Just Kids” (Ecco Press, 2010).

In love and war

The paperback edition of “Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America” (Thomas Dunne Books, 2009/2010) by Nathaniel Frank, Ph.D. is now available. The timing couldn’t be better as the debate over the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy continues to rage on with the promise of an end in sight. Beginning in November 1942 at the time of his enlistment, “My Queer War” (Farrar Straus Giroux) by the late gay write James Lord, predates DADT, but remains topical nevertheless.

Novel ideas

Monica Nolan, author of “Lois Lenz, Lesbian Secretary,” returns to the pulp genre with “Bobby Blanchard, Lesbian Gym Teacher” (Kensington, 2010). Keeping his legacy alive, “In My Father’s House” (St. Martin’s Press, 2010) is the final novel by the late, gay, African-American writer E. Lynn Harris. “Robin and Ruby” (Kensington, 2010) is the sequel to K. M. Soehnlein’s award-winning debut novel “The World of Normal Boys.” A queer pirate story (is there any other kind?), “The Silver Hearted” (Alyson, 2010) is the latest novel by David McConnell. Michael Salvatore’s first novel “{Between} Boyfriends” (Kensington, 2010) is the tale of a New Yorker’s journey to find the one who will complete him. German writer Christine Wunnicke’s first book available in English, “Missouri” (Arsenal Pulp Books, 2010), a 19th-century love story between two men, was translated by David Miller.

Books don’t get much more novel than “It looks like a c**k!” (St. Martin’s Press, 2010) by Ben & Jack. The funny photo book finds phallic formations in a variety of places including the clouds in the sky, fruits and vegetables in the garden, miniature golf courses, balconies, road signs, lava lamps, topiaries, zoos and nature in general.

Comments 

0 1 Brian Featherwater 2010-07-28 05:49
Cock book is great! Believe me, I should know! I've got 2 of them!
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