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Friday, April 19, 2013

Between the Covers: Poetry in Motion

Written by  Gregg Shapiro
Gilles Herrada, the author of The Missing Myth Gilles Herrada, the author of The Missing Myth

Award winning lesbian poet Maureen Seaton’s eighth solo poetry collection Fibonacci Batman: New and Selected Poems (Carnegie Mellon, 2013) draws on six of her full-length books (including Iowa Prize and Lambda Literary Award-winning Furious Cooking). Comprised of more than 60 poems, the book gives readers a firsthand look at the ongoing evolution of Seaton’s work.

Straight ally, and a frequent collaborator of Seaton’s, Denise Duhamel returns with her 10th full-length book of poetry Blowout (University of Pittsburgh, 2013). Anyone who has been through a difficult divorce or break-up (is there such thing as an easy one?) will appreciate Duhamel’s insightful handling of the subject matter, put forth in her distinctive style.

Queer publisher A Midsummer Night’s Press has two new titles available for the season. Gay poet, editor and educator David Bergman’s Fortunate Light (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2013), part of the press’s Body Language series, pulsates with sexuality. Deleted Names (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2013) is by Lawrence Schimel, the press’s prolific publisher.

Queer voices

Consisting of interviews with queer youth, as well as essays by the author, In A Queer Voice: Journeys of Resilience from Adolescence to Adulthood (Temple University Press, 2013) by Michael Sadowski chronicles an unheard community and provides some of them with a forum in which to speak their minds.

Author and film expert B. Ruby Rich, the woman behind the term New Queer Cinema revisits the subject in the fittingly titled New Queer Cinema: The Director’s Cut (Duke University Press, 2013). In it she writes about LGBT film festivals, what makes a “good gay film,” analyzes queer filmmakers (including Todd Haynes, Jonathan Caouette, Gregg Araki and Gus Van Sant) and examines films such as Go Fish, The Watermelon Woman, Itty Bitty Titty Committee and Brokeback Mountain.

In the new edition of Inside the Vortex (Justinhernandez.net, 2013), Naked in New York City blogger Justin Hernandez refl

ects on his personal journey from actor/dancer to stripper/sex worker. From “Drinking the Kool-Aid” to “Coming Clean,” Hernandez frankly tells his story, sharing what he learned so that we may also learn something from his experience.

On a more academic note is The Missing Myth: A New Vision of Same-Sex Love (Select Books, 2013) by Gilles Herrada. Among the book’s “controversial claims” are the lack of biological and anthropological data to support the existence of a single “gay” gene, the inaccuracy of the claim that gays and lesbians can’t or don’t reproduce, and that modern homosexuality was made possible by the Judeo-Christian world.

Straight ally and outspoken supporter of same-sex marriage and parenting Anne Lamott co-authored Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son (Riverhead, 2012 / 2013) with her son, San Francisco-based Sam Lamott.

Australian feminist/queer theorist Annamarie Jagose gets up close and personal with the illustrious and elusive orgasm in Orgasmology (Duke University Press, 2013). Jagose elevates the material beyond sex and sexual orientation, venturing into “agency, ethics, intimacy, modernity” and more.

Under “homosexuality” in the general index of The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2013 (World Almanac Books, 2013), readers will find information about civil unions, the gay rights movement, military policy, marriage, the Matthew Shepard murder trial, the New Hampshire bishop election, and even more than that.

Not for the faint of heart, American Honor Killings: Desire and Rage Among Men (Akashic, 2013) by David McConnell is a detailed exploration of hate crime motivated murders of gay men, from 1999 to 2009. McConnell adds his own personal analysis and reflections on the crimes and links them together in a terrifying and all too familiar way.

Fictional accounts

Published last year, A Horse Named Sorrow (Terrace Books, 2012) by award-winning gay novelist Trebor Healey is a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, to be presented in June, 2013. It’s not too late to read this acclaimed novel, set in San Francisco in the 1980s and 90s.

“Sister Spit superstar” Ali Liebegott’s latest novel Cha-Ching! (City Lights / Sister Spit, 2013) is set in the 1990s, following “down-on-her-luck queer girl” Theo’s relocation from San Francisco to Brooklyn, where her new circle of friends includes her roommate, her girlfriend and a rescued Pit Bull named Cary Grant.

Monica Nolan, author of Lois Lenz, Secretary and Bobby Blanchard, Lesbian Gym Teacher is back for more pulpy and steamy Sapphic fun with Maxie Mainwaring, Lesbian Dilettante (Kensington, 2013), set in the fictional Bay City in the carefree mid-1960s.

William Klaber’s debut novel The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell (Greenleaf Book Group, 2013), is a fictionalized memoir based on the true life story of pioneering American lesbian Lucy Lobdell. Lobdell, who, beginning in 1855, lived her life dressed as a man, even managed to have what well have been the first same sex marriage when she wed Marie Louise Perry in Klaber’s fictional telling.

Can’t get enough queer historical fiction? Consider Fortune’s Bastard or Love’s Pains Recounted (Chelsea Station Editions, 2013) by Gil Cole. Cole’s novel tells the tale of young Antonio, who in an effort to escape Renaissance Florence’s “religious hysteria” sets sail on the Mediterranean and encounters a series of adventures, including the opportunity to pursue his desires for other men.

Musician-turned-novelist Steven Jordan Brooks also takes us back in time, to the 1970s, with Hollywood the Band (Authorhouse, 2013). Subtitled “A Tale of Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll,” the book touches on the sexual revolution, gay and women’s issues, as well as racial and civil rights matters.

Gregg Shapiro

Gregg Shapiro

Entertainment journalist Gregg Shapiro's interviews run in a variety of regional LGBT publications and websites. He is the author of three books, including the short story collection Lincoln Avenue (Squares and Rebels, 2014).

Website: facebook.com/gregg.shapiro
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