Synopses & Reviews
In the first anthology to survey the full range of gay men’s autobiographical writing from Walt Whitman to the present, Gay American Autobiography
draws excerpts from letters, journals, oral histories, memoirs, and autobiographies to provide examples of the best life writing over the last century and a half.
Volume editor David Bergman guides the reader chronologically through selected writings that give voice to every generation of gay writers since the nineteenth century, including a diverse array of American men of African, European, Jewish, Asian, and Latino heritage. Documenting a range of life experiences that encompass tattoo artists and academics, composers and drag queens, hustlers and clerks, it contains accounts of turn-of-the-century transvestites, gay rights activists, men battling AIDS, and soldiers attempting to come out in the army. Each selection provides important insight on the wide spectrum of ways gay men have defined and lived their lives, highlighting how self-awareness changes an author’s experience.
The volume includes an introduction by Bergman and headnotes for each of the nearly forty entries. Bringing many out-of-print and hard-to-find works to new readers, this challenging and comprehensive anthology chronicles American gay history and life struggles over the course of the past 150 years. Finalist, Lambda Book Award for LGBT Anthology, Lambda Literary Foundation
“Intimacy as history! I adored these glimpses into gay men’s lives, and thank David Bergman for having uncovered them. I only wish I’d had this book decades sooner.”—Michael Lowenthal, author of Charity Girl
“Bergman has brought together an impressive, diverse cache of source materials in a field which has been written on, but has always lacked a generic anthology. There have been subject- and period-based anthologies, but nothing spanning the 150 years or so of available material in this way.”—Richard Canning, University of Sheffield
“A diverse and colorful anthology. This is the first major work to focus on accomplished writers, on the specific topic of their creative influences.”—Jerry Rosco, author of Glenway Wescott Personally
“These vibrant essays draw the reader in, illuminating a rich, intriguing, and previously unexplored subject.”—Will Fellows, author of Farm Boys and editor of Gay Bar
“A wonderful anthology about literary mentors to a host of interesting gay male writers in the past few decades. An original aspect of this book is the diversity it represents.”—Philip Gambone, author of Travels in a Gay Nation: Portraits of LGBTQ Americans
“Betsy Donovan’s delightful jacket design for Who’s Yer Daddy: Gay Writers Celebrate their Mentors and Forerunners
juxtaposes vintage masculine archetypes, hot-pink pride, and sassy slang in a way that perfectly conveys the smart, earnest, and utterly engaging contents of one of the best gay collections to be published in years.”—Passport Magazine
“Gay bibliophiles and aspiring writers, especially those interested in the creative process, will enjoy this engaging collection.”—Library Journal
andquot;A powerful living archive of the great stakes and pleasures of contemporary queer poetry. Reading these pages often feels like a lucky and enriching eavesdropping.andquot;andmdash;Michael Snediker, author of Queer Optimism
andquot;Our Deep Gossip isn't just smart. It isn't just a color-rich collection of interviews with eight amazing gay poets. And it isn't just a compelling record of their personalities, processes, and engagement with desire. It's a landmark in which Hennessy never misses the mark.andquot;andmdash;Jim Elledge, editor of Who's Yer Daddy
andldquo;Hennessy gives the poets generous space to speak, and in this space the book succeeds.andrdquo;andmdash;Publishers Weekly
andldquo;Hennessy successfully presents readers with a snapshot of modern gay poetry while placing individual poets within the wider American literary landscape.andrdquo;andmdash;Library Journal
andldquo;Passionate about the beauty of poetry, Hennessy presents eight master craftsmen at the top of their game. . . . His book will delight readers interested in how a poetandrsquo;s mind works, and the many places a literary artist draws inspiration from.andrdquo;andmdash;Bay Area Reporter
In the first anthology to survey the full range of gay men’s autobiographical writing from Walt Whitman to the present, Gay American Autobiography draws excerpts from letters, journals, oral histories, memoirs, and autobiographies to provide examples of the best life writing over the last century and a half.
Who’s Yer Daddy?
offers readers of gay male literature a keen and engaging journey. In this anthology, thirty-nine gay authors discuss individuals who have influenced them—their inspirational “daddies.” The essayists include fiction writers, poets, and performance artists, both honored masters of contemporary literature and those just beginning to blaze their own trails. They find their artistic ancestry among not only literary icons—Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde, André Gide, Frank O’Hara, James Baldwin, Edmund White—but also a roster of figures whose creative territories are startlingly wide and vital, from Botticelli to Bette Midler to Captain Kirk.
Some writers chronicle an entire tribal council of mentors; others describe a transformative encounter with a particular individual, including teachers and friends whose guidance or example cracked open their artistic selves. Perhaps most moving are the handful of writers who answered the question literally, writing intimately of their own fathers and their literary inheritance. This rich volume presents intriguing insights into the contemporary gay literary aesthetic.
From Walt Whitman forward, a century and a half of radical experimentation and bold speech by gay and lesbian poets has deeply influenced the American poetic voice. In Our Deep Gossip, Christopher Hennessy interviews eight gay men who are celebrated American poets and writers: Edward Field, John Ashbery, Richard Howard, Aaron Shurin, Dennis Cooper, Cyrus Cassells, Wayne Koestenbaum, and Kazim Ali. The interviews showcase the complex ways art and life intertwine, as the poets speak about their early lives, the friends and communities that shaped their work, the histories of gay writers before them, how sex and desire connect with artistic production, what coming out means to a writer, and much more.and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; While the conversations here cover almost every conceivable topic of interest to readers of poetry and poets themselves, the book is an especially important, poignant, far-reaching, and enduring document of what it means to be a gay artist in twentieth- and early twenty-first-century America.
About the Author
Jim Elledge is professor of English at Kennesaw State University and author of A History of My Tattoo: A Poem; The Chapters of Coming Forth by Day: A Novel; and Various Envies: Poems. David Groff, an independent writer and poet, is author of Theory of Devolution and coeditor of Persistent Voices: Poetry by Writers Lost to AIDS and Whitman’s Men: Walt Whitman’s Calamus Poems Celebrated by Contemporary Photographers.
Table of Contents
Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), from his journals
Walt Whitman (1819–1892), from his letters to Peter Doyle
Henry James (1843–1916), from his letters to Hendrick Andersen
Charles Warren Stoddard (1843–1909), "Chumming with a Savage: Kána-aná"
Alexander Berkman (1870–1936), from Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist
Claude Hartland (1871–?), from The Story of a Life
Earl Lind (1874–?), from Autobiography of an Androgyne
Russell Cheney (1881–1945) and F. O. Matthiessen (1902–1950), from Rat and the Devil
"Jeb Alexander" (1899–1965), from Jeb and Dash
Glenway Wescott (1901–1987), from Continual Lessons
Lincoln Kirstein (1906–1996), "Carlsen, Crane"
Samuel M. Steward (Phil Andros) (1909–1993), "The Magic Summer"
Paul Goodman (1911–1972), from Five Years
Tobias Schneebaum (1922–2005), "The Priest and the Pagans"
Ned Rorem (b. 1923), from The New York Diary
Edward Field (b. 1924), "Gay in the Army"
Minette (1928–2001), from Recollections of a Part-Time Lady
Martin Duberman (b. 1930), from Cures
Michael Rumaker (b. 1932), from A Day and a Night at the Baths
John Rechy (b. 1934), from The Sexual Outlaw
Alan Helms (b. 1937), from Young Man from the Provinces
Arnie Kantrowitz (b. 1940), from Under the Rainbow
Edmund White (b. 1940), "Writing Gay"
Samuel R. Delany (b. 1942), from The Motion of Light in Water
Andrew Holleran (b. 1943), "My Harvard"
Paul Monette (1945–1995), "Puck"
Jaime Manrique (b. 1949), "The Last Days of Reinaldo Arenas"
Kevin Killian (b. 1952), "Cherry"
Michael Klein (b. 1954), "The End of Being Known"
David Wojnarowicz (1954–1992), "Memories That Smell Like Gasoline"
David B. Feinberg (1956–1994), "On the Drip"
David Sedaris (b. 1956), "Hejira"
Essex Hemphill (1957–1995), "Ceremonies"
Wayne Koestenbaum (b. 1960), "The Aryan Boy"
Gil Cuadros (1962–1996), "Chivalry"
Justin Chin (b. 1969), from Attack of the Man-Eating Lotus Blossoms