One-hundred pages into Divining Divas: 100 Gay Men on Their Muses, I stopped thinking of it as a book and started thinking of it as a party.
At the party, I was the guest of honor and all of the poets kept telling me how much they loved my hair—as a woman, reading Divining Divas is the ultimate ego boost. The anthology is a collection of poems written by gay men to the women in their lives (who, more often than not, aren’t really in their lives). Personally, I recommend reading these poems while hungover the morning (read: 2p.m.) after you made a move on someone and it failed to the point of eternal embarrassment. Poetry has never been so soothing. (more…)
One of the most anticipated and exciting events at the Associated Writers & Writing Programs Conference, held this year in Chicago, was the reading for Michael Montlack’s new poetry anthology Divining Divas: 100 Gay Men on their Muses (Lethe). The conference, as always, was a highly successful event in which gay men, lesbians, and straight people alike received the opportunity to network and often times meet someone new. That’s what happened when gay poets Michael Klein and Steve Fellner, who both participated at the reading for the anthology, sat down together at Rehab, the retro gay bar where the reading took place. Their immediate rapport quickly evolved into firm affirmations about gay poetry and poets in general, as well as contentious yet respectful disagreements about community building and separating the truth from rumor, when it comes to something called a literary career. When Klein and Fellner got home after the conference ended, that meeting in Chicago triggered the following dialogue between the two writers.
Michael: I thought it was a great reading and I really loathe most poetry readings because most people – dare I say straight people? – don’t know how to read poems out loud. Maybe the fact that gay men are such good readers – a generalization, I know, but one I actually believe – has to do with the fact that so many of us have retreated into those imaginative worlds we made so long ago – first in our minds, and then in our own bedrooms: singing along with records, reading sex scenes aloud to each other. In many ways, the gay literary tradition is also an oral tradition. We also know – some of us – how to sell a poem, and you, Steve, made that great observation that the sign of a good poet was the quality of the patter. No one really listens to the poem. But I also know what it means to be judged, compared and all the other terrors that almost invisibly join forces in a room of gay men and, particular gay writers (which, since I stopped drinking 27 years ago, is usually the only time I’m in the company of so many gay men). The fact is, the younger ones get all the attention. And, I left the reading feeling old and unrecognized. Does that surprise you? I’ve been writing and publishing for more than 20 years, and I find it odd that there are so many young gay writers who have never read my work. I read everything. I’ve read their work and reviewed their work. Why haven’t they read mine?
Steve: I always get nervous about the idea of reciprocity. I understand, and, I think you are correct in framing it as a serious and possibly unhealthy intergenerational gap. For me, you have always been a touchstone with your anthologies, memoirs, and poetry. At the same time, my only true concern is that a gay man—young or old— read something by someone queer, contributing to the economic welfare of our small presses like A Midsummer Night’s Press, Lethe Press, and Bryan Borland’s new Sibling Rivalry Press — which I understand will be publishing your new book of poems. I wish this was a sign of unequivocal positivity. But it isn’t. A few years back I talked to the five finalists of a significant gay male poetry award before the winner had been announced. I asked each of them to tell me which of their peers in the category they found truly exciting. Totally open ended broad question. Three of the five finalists said they never heard of any of their competitors before–and, I mean, any of them. They never said they planned on reading them, or wanted to, either. In fact, one joked, “to read them now, would be bad luck. If I win, there’s no reason. And if I lose, no way in hell will I ever even glance at their cover.” I thought it was funny, so I laughed, and he said, “You do know I am serious. All gay poetry is the same, anyway.” And I sort of agree with that, and I sort of don’t. I can’t help but wonder even with the brilliant way Michael Montlack devised and organized his anthology, how many gay male poets will find a poem they love and then actually buy his book? For me, that’s one of the exciting things about an anthology: it gives the illusion that the world of poetry is somehow manageable and containable.
Michael: Well, I think people buy anthologies — gay anthologies — more than they buy a gay man’s single book of poems and you would think (or at least hope) that a side effect of any anthology would be precisely that it would get people interested in an array of individual works. As for those badly read gay finalists — I know exactly what you mean. I sat with two young gay poets at AWP (away from the Diva reading) who I know had never read my work, asked me about anything to do with poetry, nor, more disappointedly were even interested in who I was reading. We mostly talked about what type of other man we liked and who our boyfriends were. As for all gay poetry being the same anyway — or sort of the same, anyway — say it isn’t true! Still, I do think we tend to either be almost bizarre-ly confessional (i.e., can’t get out of our own way with our own story), or cryptic or some strange combination of both. And I do think there is a gay aesthetic — as wildly wide as it may be. Wayne Koestenbaum and James Schulyer are different poets, but there is a literary aesthetic there which they both share and it has nothing to do with subject matter that I would have to call gay — a tone, a certain vision.
Steve: Men can be rigid in their approval of certain aesthetics and subject matter, and gay men can be as sexist as straight men. One of the things that impressed me about Michael’s reading was that he went out of his way to be inclusive. And I’m of two minds about that. I say this solely because it was an issue that I faced in my search for my blurbs for my own book. For me, the collecting of blurbs is something special. I NEVER ask people who I have met in person or know in any way other than the fact that I have read their poems. I want to use my book as a way of saying to someone “I like you,” and hope that when I ask them to consider writing me a blurb, if they should like my book, they say, “I like you, too.” A lot of times people say no. And gay men have more often than not said no. Or didn’t even respond. At the reading, there was one person who said no to my latest book and I carefully avoided them. And because they hung out with some people I wanted to like me, too, I hid even more determinedly. Once I got my big blurb rejection for my latest book, I swore to myself I would never ask a gay man for anything again related to poetry. All my blurbs are from women who are heterosexual and often have children.
Michael: Oh, women are so much smarter than men. Of course, you want them on the back of your book. And I see nothing wrong with asking people you’ve met in person for a blurb, but I don’t think you should know them very well, certainly. I also don’t make a point of asking people for a blurb based on their sexual orientation in any way. I usually just ask people, like you, whose poetry I like and I think would like mine. Of course, it can always be tricky, too — like the time I asked someone to blurb my last book and he sent me something that was largely made up of two lines from one of the poems in my own book! That’s disheartening, to say the least. There’s a certain imagination a blurb requires and for someone to simply reiterate what they’re supposed to be elaborating on is just lazy. I don’t avoid or go out of my way when it comes to other poets, gay or otherwise. I just tend to be drawn to the ones who talk about ideas and not so much about shop, publishing, etc., etc. I just find that kind of exchange really boring and completely up to chance, in the long run.
Steve: Not drawn to the ones who talk about shop! I don’t completely believe you on that one. That’s one of the reasons I was immediately attracted to you, and bothered by you. You do it in such a contagiously cheerful way! Sometimes you’re mistaken, and sometimes you’re off-base, and sometimes you piss me off, but you do it in a way that builds community—you always want to know what everyone else thinks. And yes, you can claim that it’s an intelligent and comprehensive talk about someone ‘s poetry. But at the same time, and I know this is a quite unfashionable to say, when you talk about someone’s poems you are talking about their soul, too. When I offer critiques of other people’s works, I am using the poem as a basis for my assessment, but, I know, that it is inevitably a personal thing—if you are not careful, you can be mean. Personally, I think we need to be more in each others’ faces. If there is less and less space for poetry reviews and more and more writers (due to the proliferation of MFA programs, etc. etc.), we have to find a way to connect with one another. It must be done somehow, and talking behind someone’s back, as long as you’re not trying to hurt someone’s career, or are wholly unkind, is a proper, and possibly even, necessary way to do it.
Michael: Everybody I know – unless they are dead or sober to the point of sainthood – talks behind someone’s back: nicely, meanly, stupidly or with great insight. Cruelty takes a certain intelligence, after all. Saying that there needs to be more of that kind of thing is sort of like saying there needs to be more gossip. It’s going to be there for time eternal and there is always probably going to be too much of it. Yes, I like talking shop, because I like gossip, but I only want it as a place to originate a real conversation from. If I’ve spent too long a time with someone only talking shop, I leave the experience not knowing anything about their soul and, as you say, I think poems are representative of souls, particularly the ones, obviously, I live by. I also think there will always be a place for reviews and have noticed them popping up, actually, at an alarming rate. There are more websites than ever that only broadcast reviews (which I think is sort of boring, actually), and there has been in the last few years a real commitment (your own Pansy Poetics is a good example) of really well written and generous commentary on poetry from communities that aren’t particularly known for their critical thinking — and I think the gay community can certainly be that way. I also think, for myself, because of the proliferation of websites to do reviews, I have become increasingly aware of many small presses that I would never know about otherwise. As for hurting someone’s career by talking about them or behind their backs? There are certain poets for whom, no matter what you say, are going to succeed no matter what anybody says about them. We both know a nasty, not well liked gay poet who – no matter how hard people bad mouth him – lands in jackpot after jackpot. And, he’s not even young! Where is the justice in that, I ask you?!?!?
Steve: Recently I had a major altercation with a gay male writer who I respect very well. We never met in person; our conversations happened to be all on-line. I became acquainted with him simply through his poems. For me, someone who lives inWestern New York, who does not drive for a number of reasons, this was an important relationship. One day I woke up and there were a number of emails in my mailbox asking me what I did to offend this person. I still don’t know exactly what I did. In the final email, he wrote to me, he said: “Don’t ever pretend like you know me.” I was so hurt and upset. I felt like I did know him. Not through just the social networking. But through his poems. I really believe you can discover someone’s soul through their poems.
Michael: You discover their soul and you discover their shortcomings, as well. I always find it interesting in reading criticism how sometimes a writer will focus on what’s not in the poem as a way of intimating, perhaps, what’s not in the person as well. I’m always sort of dismayed and saddened when I can’t have the whole array of language to express what I want to say in a poem, though, and while the soul is there, a certain soul sickness can be there, too. I mean, let’s be specific for a moment: in Henri Cole’s new book, Touch, there are many self-flagellating poems that could be construed as sad homosexual poems. They call back — though much better written than Tennessee Williams’ poems — to that kind of morose and weirdly hyperbolic kind of self-hating poem written in the 50s. And yet, Henri has every right to be as self-hating or sad as he wants to be and that poem will be judged the way he himself would be judged — if one goes along with your thinking about poem=’ing soul. But still, I wonder, is it fair? Poetry may reveal the soul, but it’s also a representative.
Steve: I think one of the things I really like about Henri Cole is that I would say there’s an “honorable” sadness in his work. His poems can be self-eviscerating. One of the things that I respect is his prioritization of aesthetics; he makes the self-pity or even self-hatred in its own way transcendent.
I do read a lot of gay poetry for my blog and one of the most exciting, one of the best two or three volumes I read last year was what I suppose would be labeled as a chapbook (it comes in at under 48 pages)—but has more power and depth than most of the ones I read which are overlong. (Why is it that gay men don’t want to pare down their books?) This amazing book is called The Thames & Hudson Project, written by Hansa Bergwall and Timothy Liu—one of the many, many things I love about it is that it offers a polemic at the start of the book, a challenge to how gay men choose to write about desire and love. It isn’t one of those books that claim that the gateway to middle-aged maturity is abandoning sex and having a kid. At the same time, it raises philosophical questions regarding how middle-aged queers can find a new space. I think it also may be of interest to you because as you mentioned there’s an intergenerational gap which I think not only exists in the actual real spaces, but also there’s a dearth of stuff that deals with growing older.
Michael: The younger gay poets are still writing about sex and we older, jaded queers have figured out (particularly if we haven’t been in a lot of relationships for whatever reason) that sex is a vehicle for other kinds of experiences. As Larry Kramer says, the mind is the sexiest part of the body. Or, as my friend, Ricky Ian Gordon said years ago: There was a time when men aspired to be Michelangelo, now they aspire to be David. And you can say that young guys are writing the David poems and the older ones, the Michelangelo poems. I don’t mean this as a judgment, by the way. I think there are some young poets–Angelo Nikolopoulos comes immediately to mind–who are writing ground-breaking poems about sex and to think that after all this time, those poems could actually be written. And yet, for me, I also look to the eroticism that comes from reading the mind more than the body. Henri Cole’s work does that, Scott Hightower’s new book (which is wonderful, by the way: Self-Evident) does that and that venerable poet of excess and ecstasy: Wayne Koestenbaum. And I think some of the poems in Divining Divas speak to the “personality” of sexuality, which is desire.
Steve: Yes. One of my many favorites in the anthology is one by B.C. Edwards who choose Parker Posey as his muse. His poem is inventively called “You Smoke Like You Smoke When You’re Working.” The poem evolves from the narrator’s fantasy of a three-way romantic triangle between himself, a sexy male bartender, and Parker Posey. It isn’t really in any way a tribute to Parker Posey, even if the narrator describes the gay icon’s laughter as a cross between “Brillo pads and diamonds,” her “Onassis hair like a hoodie.” Instead the narrator imagines exploiting his muse as a way of drawing the attention of the bartender who he wants. The ambiguity of the narrator’s tribute arises in the ending when he fails to lure the bartender, but still feels, being seated next to the famous Parker Posey, “the way gods do.” In other words, the narrator is uninterested in purely lavishing praise upon Parker Posey, but instead sees her as an unsuccessful tool in capturing the object of his desire. I love that the poem ridicules the whole idea of heroine worship—the whole subject of the anthology. The poem is remarkable for the way it delineates the creepy way that gay men exploit women to achieve their own goal: the love of a man with an unclear sexuality. Through his wise selection of poems, Montlack hold gay men responsible for their own dubiously ethical actions.
Michael: Apart from heroine worship, there is also the poem about becoming the Diva herself through writing her down: that widescreen on which the poet projects, to borrow from Kenneth Koch, one’s own wishes, lies and dreams. Jericho Brown does this wonderfully, I think, in his poem “Track 4: Reflections” about Diana Ross. While it honors in a way a certain singer named Diana Ross, it also counts the time in which someone like her could thrive. “I could hear the sun sing in 1968,” she says in the poem, which is more than just getting the song down right; it’s a proclamation, too about what it means to be a black woman at a particular time in history: “…That was power — /White folks looking at me//Directly and going blind//So they wouldn’t have to see/What in the world was burning black.” That double meaning at the end, I think, really points to the cost of fame and the ambiguity of who pays that cost.
Steve: I also like that Montlack provides yet another poem that calls into question the whole nature of the anthology itself. Obviously, a lot of the poems are steeped in nostalgia, sometimes, often times, unqualified, unabashed nostalgia. When you’re writing about female influences from the past, how could you not? However, when you create an anthology, you want to have checks and balances. I love Michael Broder’s poem “Priamel.” The opening immediately establishes a comic philosophical inquiry: “You can’t really I don’t think write it today the kind of poem Sappho wrote six hundred years before Christ.” This mock resignation is bookended with a pretty unflinching critique of our desire to romanticize women through poetry. Of course, he uses metaphor to state his case: “…the past ships that remind us of an earlier time or at least bring to mind what we think an earlier time was like and we think that time was simpler and therefore better than now.” I like the fact that Broder calls poets (and the audience) out, identifying the silliness of nostalgia, our dumb need to make pretty (once again) what has already been .
Michael: I think any time that we’re not living in was better and simpler which is why the past – is it Faulkner? – isn’t even the past. I also think that AIDS has completely altered the way in which gay men know the past and, as it happens, how their own sexuality is framed. I know young men who don’t know what sex without a condom feels like or have ever tasted semen. While the big picture-ness of this might not seem like a big deal, I think its very specificity has to do with what we have to say as writers and particularly what we have to say as writers if we’re writing about sex. What would Dennis Cooper sound like if he were someone just starting to write those early poems of his? While the imagination may have no known context, personal revelation, subject matter, does.
Steve Fellner’s latest book of poetry is The Weary World Rejoices (Marsh Hawk Press, 2011). His first book of poems, Blind Date With Cavafy won the 2008 Thom Gunn Award for Gay Male Poetry. He blogs about gay male poetry at http://pansypoetics.blogspot.com
Michael Klein’s newest book of poems, The Talking Day, will be published by Sibling Rivalry Press in 2013 and his last book, then, we were still living, was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. His first book of poems, 1990, won the award in 1993.
Posted on June 18, 2014 by William Johnson in
Lambda Literary is Pleased to Introduce the 2014 Emerging Writers Retreat Fellows
The 2014 class of the Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices will spend a week in Los Angeles, August 3-10, workshopping their manuscripts in classes led by some of our community’s leading LGBT writers. Read about these talented up-and-coming authors below and, please, consider donating to their individual fundraising campaigns to attend the Retreat, or to the general scholarship fund. Congratulations to our incoming students!
Lambda Literary is Pleased to Introduce the 2014 Emerging Writers Retreat Fellows
The 2014 class of the Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices will spend a week in Los Angeles, August 3-10, workshopping their manuscripts in classes led by some of our community’s leading LGBT writers. Read about these talented up-and-coming authors below and, please, consider donating to their individual fundraising campaigns to attend the Retreat, or to the general scholarship fund. Congratulations to our incoming students!
Posted on June 17, 2014 by Kyle Sawyer in
This year’s workshops are: FICTION, NONFICTION, POETRY AND GENRE FICTION
FICTION – FACULTY: LUCY JANE BLEDSOE
Jane V. Blunschi is an MFA candidate in Fiction at the University of Arkansas. Her travel book, “Love, Tupelo” was published in 2012 by Corvus Press, and she is the recipient of the Lily Peter Creative Writing Scholarship. Originally from Lafayette, Louisiana, Jane lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Donate to Jane
PJ Carlisle is a queer-masculine-trans-butch Boy (at-heart) who writes mostly prose. He/she: 1.) just packed up a truck and an Alien Green Kia Soul with novels, theory, poetry, and other crucial stuff and drove through wavering heat and rain bursts from Salt Lake City, UT to The U. of Dayton, OH . . . then unpacked and hopped a plane to the L.A. Lambda Workshops; b.) will soon become the next Herbert W. Martin Post-Doc Fellow of Diversity and Creative Writing at the above mentioned U. of Dayton; 3.) has a newly-minted Ph.D. (from the U. of Utah) and professorial dreams.; d.) won the Turow-Kinder Award at the U. of Pitt and the AWP Journals Project Award in Fiction; 5.) just finished a novel that plays with the conventions of postmodernism and pop culture . . . about a humble bunch of trans and butch boys; f.) craves LGBTQ support, can’t do it without You..
Nicole Y. Dennis-Benn is a Jamaican-born writer who received her BS in Nutrition from Cornell University, and a Masters of Public Health from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. But after years of working in public health, she decided to take the advice of an English professor who once said she ought to take her writing more seriously. She went back to school and received her MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College. Her writing has earned her fellowships from Kimbilio, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund for Women Writers. Her work has been awarded Honorable Mention from the Hurston/Wright Foundation, and has appeared in Red Rock Review, Kweli Literary Journal, Mosaic, Ebony.com, and the Feminist Wire. She currently teaches writing at the College of Staten Island and Manhattan College and lives with her wife in Brooklyn, New York. Donate to Nicole
Jenna Leigh Evans has been published in In Pieces: an Anthology of Fragmentary Writing; the Outlet, FragLit, theNervous Breakdown, and most recently The Toast. She’s a Barbara Deming grantee, a finalist for the Eludia Award, and a semifinalist for the Black Lawrence Press’s Big Moose Prize. Her debut novel, Prosperity, is slated to be published this summer. She lives in Brooklyn.
Alex Grandstaff is a nonbinary native Houstonian and founding member of Gamma Rho Lambda’s Kappa Chapter at their alma mater, University of Houston. Alex is into urban fantasy and magical realism stories with a side of memoirs. A writer of fiction and comics, they are currently writing and illustrating a graphic novel The Trialand working on the novel The Moving City. Both pieces began as a part of Alex’s senior honors thesis, a collection of fiction focused on queer protagonists. Alex still resides in Houston and can be found blogging at AnalyticalAlex and making art on AGrandMark. Donate to Alex.
Wayne Johns has published work in New England Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Image, court green, and elsewhere. His poetry manuscript, Words Without Songs, has been a finalist for the Wick Poetry Prize and the National Poetry Series, among others. His first published fiction was a short story selected by Scott Heim as runner-up for the 2013 Bloom Fiction Chapbook Prize. He has been a recent resident at the Vermont Studio Center and also began taking courses at Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies. He’s currently working on a novel (tentatively titled Where Your Children Are) set in his hometown of Atlanta, GA.
William Lung is an MFA student and adjunct instructor at the City College of New York, where he’s been the recipient of the Stark Short Fiction Prize and a Sydney Jacoff Graduate Scholarship. His fiction is often inspired by true stories and a love of travel, and while his writing hasn’t really appeared anywhere yet, he hopes that will change soon. Also, he admits to being overly fond of ellipses… Donate to William
Marcos L. Martínez is a native of Brownsville, TX, and is completing his MFA in Fiction at George Mason University. As a Sally Merten Fellow, he has taught creative writing to high school students and adults throughout Northern Virginia. He currently serves as the inaugural Student Editorial Manager for Stillhouse Press, a collaboration between GMU’s Creative Writing Program and Relegation Books. His work has appeared in The Washington Blade, RiverSedge, and Whiskey Island. Current projects include his novel, Embarkations (or, Boati
Ed Moreno is a writer, lecturer and bookseller living in Melbourne, Australia. He is currently undertaking a PhD on hate crimes against LBGT in Brazil, which has the highest homicide rate against LGBT in the world. Originally from New Mexico, Ed came to Australia “for a visit” in 1995, attended the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, fell in love with the rowdy, sophisticated locals and the bush and the beaches and the cities and now calls Australia home. Ed’s short stories have appeared at blithe.com, questions.com.au, Mini Shots, Poslink, and in Cleis Press’ Best Gay Romance and Best Gay Erotica. He is currently working on his first collection of short stories.
Christina Quintana is a New Orleans-grown, Brooklyn-based writer. Her plays have been developed and/or produced by the Alliance Theatre, INTAR Theatre, Prospect Theatre Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and Southern Rep. Her work has also appeared in ITCH Magazine, KNACK Magazine, and Glyph. She is a proud finalist for the 2014 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition and former intern for the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y. At the Retreat, she’ll be developing her first novel, Slip of Moon. BFA, Santa Fe University of Art and Design (College of Santa Fe); MFA Playwriting, Columbia University. www.cquintana.com Donate to Christina
Jeffrey Ricker is the author of Detours (2011) and the YA fantasy The Unwanted, both published by Bold Strokes Books. His writing has appeared in the anthologies Foolish Hearts: New Gay Fiction, A Family by Any Other Name, Men of the Mean Streets, and others. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, he holds an MFA from the University of British Columbia and lives in St. Louis with his partner and their contrary dachshund. Keep up with his work here. Donate to Jeffrey
kynita stringer-stanback is an Information Activist and native North Carolinian. She is working on her first novel (heretofore untitled) about a tween struggling with her identity and parent’s divorce. She resides in the Bull City (Durham, NC) with her partner and their three children.. Donate to kynita.
NONFICTION – FACULTY: RANDALL KENAN
Yana Calou is a genderqueer Brazilian-American writer, performance artist and media activist on economic, racial and gender justice issues. Yana has performed at the Pop-up Museum of Queer History, La MaMa, Dixon Place, and BAX. Yana lives in Brooklyn and is currently working on a master’s degree in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at the CUNY Graduate Center, and works at the Retail Action Project. In a past life, they led communications for the Utah Pride Center, GLAAD, and the Women’s Media Center. Donate to Yana.
Celeste Chan is a writer and artist/organizer, schooled by DIY and immigrant parents from Malaysia and the Bronx, NY. A VONA fellow, her writing can be found in As/us journal, Feminist Wire, and Hyphen blog. Her films have screened in CAAMFest, Digital Desperados, Entzaubert, Frameline, MIX NYC, National Queer Arts Festival, and Vancouver Queer Film Festival, among others. She has presented and curated in the SF Bay Area, NYC, Seattle, Bloomington, Glasgow, Berlin, and beyond. Alongside KB Boyce, she co-directs Queer Rebels, a queer and trans people of color arts project. She lives in San Francisco. www.celestechan.com Donate to Celeste
Annette Covrigaru is a Long Island, NY native who has not only spent the past four years living in rural Ohio, but has spent the past four years being asked, “Why did you want to go to school in Ohio?” That being said, she recently graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in English emphasizing in Creative Writing. Her short story “Echoes of Time” won the college’s Muriel C. Bradbrook Award. Her stories have been published in Kenyon’s student run literary magazine, HIKA. In past years, she has worked as a Kenyon Review Student Associate and has interned at Random House. An incoming M.A. student in the Weiss-Livnat International M.A. Program in Holocaust Studies at the University of Haifa, she will continue to merge her studies of the Holocaust and queer identity to create nonfictional stories and preserve LGBTQA Holocaust narratives. When she isn’t writing, Annette is most likely playing guitar, lounging on Fire Island, or watching Game of Thrones.
Timothy Dorsey is originally from St. Louis, Missouri, and lives in New York City. Currently he’s a candidate in the low residency MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is active in the field of art & social justice.
Seth Fischer is a writer, teacher and editor who lives in L.A. His work on bisexuality has appeared in The Rumpus and Buzzfeed, and his Rumpus essay was selected for Best Sex Writing 2013 and as a notable
in Best American Essays 2013. His essays and short stories have also appeared in Gertrude, Pank, Guernica, Lunch Ticket, and elsewhere. He teaches and tutors at Antioch University and Writing Workshops L.A., and he was a Jentel Arts Residency Program Fellow. He’s currently working on a memoir called The Three Year Switch.
Jennie Gruber is a writer, educator, media-maker, queer punk, and true karaoke believer. She holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Sarah Lawrence. Her writing has appeared on Vice, Helix Queer Performance Network, Fleshbot, and Gaga Stigmata, in The Believer, AORTA, and Whore! magazines, and in several Cleis Press anthologies. Her workshops and readings have been featured at a variety of venues, including Red Umbrella Diaries, Perverts Put Out, Lesbian Sex Mafia, and the Feminist Porn Conference. In a parallel dimension, she is also an award-winning experimental documentary filmmaker. Born in Northern California, Gruber now lives in Manhattan with a very sweet bear. Donate to Jennie
Miah Jeffra is an artist, writer and educator, hailing from Baltimore. He runs social justice arts network ShadowLab and teaches cultural studies and writing at San Francisco Art Institute. He is recipient of the Clark-Gross Award for his novel Highlandtown, and is currently working on a book of short fiction, The Violence Almanac. His work can be seen most recently in North Atlantic Review, Educe, A Cappella Zoo, Fourteen Hills and Edge. He lives in San Francisco, and will do unconscionable things for a good beer. Maya was the recipient of Lambda’s 2014 Editorship Scholarship and will serve as Editor of the forthcoming e-book anthology of works by this year’s Fellows.
Yuska Lutfi earned MFA degrees in fiction and nonfiction writing from Saint Mary’s College of California. His peers described his pieces as “sartorially delicious, peppered with just enough snark, wit, and charm.” In spring 2014, he facilitated the memoir writing workshop for Lafayette Seniors Citizens, and curated the blog (lafayetteseniors.wordpress.com) and its anthology. He is working on his book that explores issues of drag performers, gender, and religion in his home country Indonesia. Yuska is an American Tribal Style belly dancer, photographer, and collector of antique fabrics and jewelry. He loves cats, cheesecakes, beefcakes, and dancing in his tiny kitchen.
Joseph Osmundson is a scientist, writer, and educator from rural Washington state. His research focuses on protein structure and function while his writing explores identity and place and sexuality and class and race and all sorts of messy, complicated stuff. His work has been published on Salon, The Feminist Wire, and Gawker, and he will have an essay included in the upcoming anthology The Queer South (Sibling Rivalry Press) due out in the Fall of 2014. He has taught at The New School and Vassar College and is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Systems Biology at New York University.
Parrish Turner is an aspiring essayist and playwright who hails from Georgia. He is pursuing a degree in Writing and Linguistics from Georgia Southern University. When he is not otherwise occupied in the full time job that is being queer, he spends his time camped out in the theater or watching way too many Netflix documentaries about the end of the world. Parrish has participated in the New Horizons Playwright Festival, Georgia Southern’s Ten Minute Play Festival, and, with his fellow playwrights, been honored with the Metro Atlanta Theater award for his work on the musical By Wheel and By Wing. Currently, he is working on a theater adaptation of Frankenstein and a collection of essays. Exploring ideas of family, gender, belief, experience, bodies, identity, and the crucial importance of the oxford comma, Parrish is always up for a late night discussion over tea. Donate to Parrish
David Weinstein is a writer and editor based in Boston. He works as an editorial assistant at Ploughshares and is an editorial consultant in his spare time. His MFA in nonfiction, still underway at Emerson College, has him writing personal and biographical essays. Of particular interest to him is the impact of technology on gay communities and relationships. His work has appeared in Slate, among other publications. Donate to David.
POETRY – FACULTY: EDUARDO C. CORRAL
Ian Spencer Bell is a dancer and poet combining the two in performance. He was awarded a grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts and fellowships from Summer Stages Dance and Jacob’s Pillow, where he danced with his group on the Inside/Out Stage. Bell often performs in gallery spaces and, in New York City, has danced at National Arts Club, Queens Museum, and Tibor de Nagy Gallery. He is artist in residence at the Nightingale-Bamford School and writes essays for Ballet Review. Donate to Ian
Wo Chan is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia where he studied Creative Writing as an undergrad. There he received the Rachel St. Paul Poetry Award for his work. He has received fellowships from Poets House, Kundiman, and Lambda Literary. Wo plans to pursue an MFA (eventually). He currently resides in Brooklyn, where he works as a makeup artist by day and performs as a standing member of the New York drag alliance, Switch N’ Play, by night.
Lisa Galloway grew up in Indiana where she was adopted into a family with Southern Baptist roots (read more in her forthcoming collection). Thankfully, she moved to the far more progressive Pacific Northwest landing in Portland, Oregon just over ten years ago. In the last year, she’s worked as a writer/ researcher consulting with attorneys advocating for people screwed by ineffective systems, a carpenter, a vegetarian food cart cook, a video ethnographer for healthcare operations change, and a caterer. She’s the author of Liminal: A Life of Cleavage from Lost Horse Press’ New Poets, Short Books Series, a graduate of Pacific University’s MFA Program and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her poem “She Was a Chagall.” She is currently finishing her second poetry collection titled Mother, Marriage, and Other Natural Disasters that’s mostly about her mother’s death, contentious family dynamics, first gay marriage, and the other interestingly intense events from her astrological Saturn’s Return. Donate to Lisa.
Theodosia Henney was born in New York, raised in Utah, and currently resides in Vermont, where she attends circus school and works in a jam factory. When not learning to juggle and stand on her hands she writes reviews for Lambda Literary and is the Poetry Editor for Cactus Heart Literary Magazine. Additionally, she enjoys baking, campy sci-fi shows, lucid dreaming, and throwing knives at her dresser. Visit her at www.theodosia-henney.com. Donate to Theodosia
Baruch Porras-Hernandez is a writer, performer, and organizer, based in San Francisco. He has performed his writing all over California, and featured at shows in Washington D.C., NYC, and Canada. His poetry appears in Aim for the Head anthology of Zombie Poetry, -Write Bloody Publishing, Divining Divas - Lethe Press, Flicker and Spark Queer Poetry Anthology -Low Brow Press, Tandem – Bicycle Comics Press, Sparkle and Blink -Quiet Lightning Press, and is forth coming in Multiverse, anthology of Superhero Poetry, also with Write Bloody Publishing. For the past 5 years he’s been the curator and head organizer for The San Francisco Queer Open Mic and regularly puts together literary shows and festivals, most recently the ¿Donde Esta Mi Gente? festival of Latino Poetry and Spoken Word. He has been a resident artist at the spoken word program at the Banff Center in Alberta Canada, and the A.I.R. Program at The Garage, a Space for Performance Art, in San Francisco. He was born in Toluca, Mexico and grew up in Albany, California. Baruch Porras-Hernandez
Stephen Ira has published poetry and short fiction in Topside Press’s Collection, Spot Literary Magazine, the St. Sebastian Review, and Specter Magazine. He is a returning fellow from the cohort of 2013. In 2014, he was featured as a guest star in LA MAMA’S SQUIRTS: New Voices in Queer Performance. He’s gay. He’s a transsexual.
Meg Leitold is a ball of queer femme fire based in Toronto and a returning Lambda Fellow from the 2013 Non-Fiction workshop. A graduate of Concordia University’s Simone de Beauvoir Institute and the University of Toronto, her writing has been published in several zines, art installations, and journals, including No More Potlucks, Historiae, and Subversions. In her spare time, she delights in dancing, reading fiction, and out-jargoning the mansplainer. Donate to Meg
Megan McHugh is a garden teacher at a grade school in New Orleans, LA. She recently received her MFA in poetry from the University of New Orleans, while starting an urban flower farm: www.pistilandstamenflowers.com. She is originally from Chicago. Donate to Megan
Ricardo Hernandez is an aspiring poet. A recent CUNY Baruch graduate with a BA in English Literature, he looks forward to having some time to read and write poetry, and hopes to attend graduate school in the near future. He lives in Queens, NY with his parents, his sisters, and two larger-than-life Chihuahuas. Donate to Ricardo.
Roberto F. Santiago is a poet, translator, and lead singer in a solo act who produces his own music, and dances rips into his pants. Roberto received an MFA from Rutgers University, BA from Sarah Lawrence College, and is the recipient of the 2011 Alfred C. Carey Prize for Poetry. His poetry has been published in such anthologies/journals as Assaracus - Sibling Rivalry (2014), CURA: A Literary Magazine of Art & Action(2014), Hypothetical: A Review of Everything Imaginable(2014), and The Waiting Room Reader: Stories to Keep you Company - CavanKerry (2013). His first full-length collection of poems, Angel Park, will be released April 2015 by Lethe Press.
Noah Stetzer, born & raised in Pittsburgh PA, worked as a bookseller for twenty years and is an alumnus of the Young Writers Workshop at the University of Virginia. Noah is a 2014 degree candidate at The MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and currently lives with his partner in the Washington DC area.
Victor Vazquez is a PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellow, and holds two playwriting commissions with 24th Street Theatre’s Teatro del Pueblo Initiative working with the community of University Park in South Los Angeles. He is a recipient of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund McNamara Creative Arts Grant, a graduate of UC Irvine’s undergraduate creative writing emphasis program, and currently works as a Community Organizer in the Artistic Department at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, CA. Spanish is his native language. He is writing a book of poems titled MEN, and a novel titled, Us, Boys. He lives in Los Angeles. Donate to Victor
GENRE FICTION - FACULTY: ELIZABETH SIMS
John Copenhaver chairs the English department at Flint Hill School, an independent high school outside of Washington, DC. His novel Dodging and Burning placed as a quarterfinalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. He attended Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in 2012 and 2013, and Tin House in 2013. In 2011 he was a fellow in genre fiction at the Lambda Writers Retreat. He graduated with his MFA from George Mason, where he edited the literary magazine Phoebe. He has published in regional journals, including Timber Creek Review and The Roanoke Review, and was first runner-up in the F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Story Contest and Narrative Magazine Winter Story Contest, 2014. His blog is called Talking the Walk.
Garrett Foster is an Emmy Award-winning writer for his work on the CBS daytime drama Guiding Light. A graduate of Vassar College with a B.A. in English, Garrett has also worked as an editor/writer at The Palm Beach Post and Sun Sentinel and served as editor-in-chief of Soap Opera Magazine. A Connecticut native, Garrett traded in his snow shoes for flip flops, moved to South Florida in 1991 and hasn’t looked back since. He is currently working on his fifth novel and finally working up the nerve to actually start sending them out! When he isn’t writing, he can be found doing a mean Warrior pose, trying to perfect the ultimate smoothie, and spending time with the sweetest rescue cat in the world, Katie.
Regina Jamison is a writer, educator, mother, and dreamer who lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her poetry has appeared in Promethean eZine and Off the Rocks: An Anthology of GLBT Writing Vols. 14 & 15. Her erotic short stories have appeared in Girls Who Bite: Vampire Lesbian Anthology and Purple Panties: Anthology of Black Lesbian Erotica. She is infatuated with southern settings, dialects, and characters. She is currently working on a YA novel set in. Louisiana. Donate to Regina
Anne Laughlin is the author of five novels – three that have been published by Bold Strokes Books and two more that will come out in late 2014. She has written numerous short stories published by Cleis Press, Alyson Books and others. Her story “It Only Occurred to Me Later” was a finalist in the Saints and Sinners 2013 Short Fiction Contest. She is a three time Goldie Award winner and has twice been short listed for a Lammy Award. Anne was named a Writers Retreat Fellow by the Lambda Literary Foundation in 2008. She’s been accepted into residencies at Ragdale and Vermont Studio Center. Anne lives in Chicago with her wife, Linda.
CLAUDIA MOSS is the author of two novels, Dolly: The Memoirs of a High School Graduate (her Holloway House debut, adolescent novel) and If You Love Me, Come (her sophomore, self-published novel). She has authored a short fiction collection, a series of books debuting the feisty Ms. Wanda B. Wonders, a contemporary of Langston Hughes’ Jessie B. Simple. In addition, Claudia is the author of Soft Tsunami: a poetry collection showcasing lesbian desire. Her short fiction has appeared in a host of anthologies including Longing, Lust, and Love: Black Lesbian Stories (Nghosi Books), Gietic: Erotic Poems/Kinky Short Stories (Gia Bella & The Siren), The Lust Chronicles (e-book), The Hoot & Holler of the Owls (Hurston/Wright Publications), Purple Panties (Strebor Books), SWING!: Adventures in Swinging By Today’s Top Erotica Writers (Logical-Lust Publications),Life, Love & Lust and Her Voice (Lesbian Memoirs). Her poetry has appeared inVenus Magazine and a Pearl Cleage magazine with the theme “What Women Want.” Donate to Claudia
Morgan M Page (Odofemi) is a trans performance + video artist, writer, and Santera in Montreal. Her video work has screened in Canada, Hong Kong, and South Korea, and she regularly performs across Canada and the United States. Her writings have been featured on PrettyQueer.com, TitsandSass.com, and in the upcoming anthology Fractured (Exile Editions, 2014). Her first novel is forthcoming from Topside Press later this year. Morgan can be found online at Odofemi.com and @morganmpage on Twitter. Donate to Morgan
Corey Saucier is an African American Queer artist living in Los Angeles. He is a Lambda Literary Fellow in Fiction and Non-Fiction and is currently penning his first novel. His musings and wanderings on Love, Life, and Non-sense can be found at www.justwords.tumblr.com Donate to Corey
Hope Thompson is a Toronto-based playwright, filmmaker and writer and is a graduate of Norman Jewison’s CanadianFilm Centre. Hope is interested in mystery, film noir and camp and has written and directed several award-winning short films and many one-act plays in these genres.Hope’s monologue, Cardigan Confidential was published in the collection, City Voices: A Book of Monologues by Toronto Artists and she will be performing it at World Pride in Toronto this June. Hope is currently working on her first mystery novel. www.hopethompson.net
Jan Zivic, a Lambda Literary Fellow, received her Master of Fine Arts from the University of San Francisco in 2012. In 2011 she published a memoir piece in the Porter Gulch Review, and more recently, a short story in Temporary Shelter, Eleven Stories, edited by Karl Soehnlein. In 2007, Jan co-founded vibrantBrains, a cognitive gym and start-up listed in Entrepreneur Magazine’s “100 Brilliant Companies.” She has received the Cable Car Woman of the Year Award, the Maya Angelou Award for Community Leadership from the Center for Excellence at the University of California Medical School, and a Distinguished Alumna Award from the University of California, PA, all for her community philanthropic and volunteer leadership. She currently serves on the Board of Lambda Literary, and is still working on emerging as a published writer…published being the key word here.
|On behalf of the Staff and Board of Trustees of Lambda Literary Foundation, we introduce to you our 2013 Emerging LGBT Voices.The Writers’ Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices is made possible in part with a generous contribution from Amazon.com.|
Join your favorite authors and artists this Sunday, September 30th for the 11th Annual West Hollywood Book Fair from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the West Hollywood Library and West Hollywood Park, 625 North San Vicente Boulevard. To name a few of this year’s participants: Audrey Bilger (Here Come the Brides! Reflections on Lesbian Love and Marriage), Dan Bucatinsky (Does this Baby Make Me Look Straight?), Stephen A. Williams (For Colored Boys: Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Still Not Enough), Charlie Jensen (Divining Divas), George Snyder (Down the Garden Path and On Wings of Affection), Mignon Moore (Invisible Families: Gay Identities, Relationships, and Motherhood Among Black Women), Eduardo Santiago (Tomorrow They Will Kiss), Randall Neece (Gone Today, Here Tomorrow: A Memoir), Sheryl Lee Ralph (Redefining Diva), and many many more.
New month! New books! This April you can pick up new releases from Eileen Myles, Sarah Van Arsdale, and Felice Picano.
- Acclaimed poet, critic, and Lambda Award winning author Eileen Myles releases her first book of poetry since 2007–Snowflake/different streets (Wave Books). The publisher’s blurb states:
[Myles]creates poet and poem anew as she pushes the boundaries of her craft ever closer to the enigmatic core. Snowflake finds the poet awash in an extended and distressed landscape mediated by technology and its distortion of time and space. In different streets, the poet returns home, to the familiar world of human connection. Two books meet as one: more Eileen Myles, more indelible connection, more fleeting ecstasy….
- Cheyenne Press is releasing a new novel from Lambda Award winning novelist Erik Orrantia. The book is described as a vivid fictional examination of ” Tijuana — the melting pot of Mexico, the gateway to the U.S[....]Two million souls struggle for survival, each searching for a way to become … something, anything better. “
- Vincent Emery Productions is releasing a collection of interviews with iconic activist Harvey Milk.
The Harvey Milk Interviews provides 39 interviews spanning Milk’s political career from his first days as an unskilled candidate in 1973 to shortly before his assassination in 1978. They are linked by biographical passages and arranged chronologically so we see Milk’s thoughts changing over time, both his political ideas and his concept of himself.
- Also this month expect new releases from novelist Owen Keehnen, Daniel Allen Cox, and a new memoir from Chana Wilson.
As always, if we missed an author or book, or if you have a book coming out next month, please email us.
- Ali and Ramazan by Perihan Magden, Amazon Crossing
- Basement of Wolves by Daniel Allen Cox, Arsenal Pulp Press
- Grand Isle by Sarah Van Arsdale, Suny Press Excelsior Editions
- The Sand Bar by Owen Keehnen, Lethe Press
- Taxi Rojo by Erik Orrantia, Cheyenne Press
- Twelve O’Clock Tales by Felice Picano, Bold Strokes Books
- After the History of Sexuality edited by Scott Spector , Helmut Puff , and Dagmar Herzog, Berghahn Books
- Breaking Out II by Kelvin Anderson, Insomniac Press
- Gay and Lesbian Cops: Diversity and Effective Policing by Roddrick A. Colvin, Lynne Rienner Publishing
- Gay Conversations with God: Straight Talk on Fanatics, Fags and the God Who Loves Us All by James Alexander Langteaux, Findhorn Press
- Gay Rights at the Ballot Box by Amy L. Stone Univserity of Minnesota Press
- The Harvey Milk Interviews edited by Vince Emery, Vince Emery Productions
- Key West on the Edge: Inventing the Conch Republic by Bob Kerstein, University of Florida Press
- A Legal Guide for Lesbian & Gay Couples by Denis Clifford, Frederick Hertz, and Emily Doskow, NOLO
- Masked Voices: Gay Men and Lesbians in Cold War America by Craig M. Loftin, State University of New York Press
- Mind Blowing Sex: A Woman’s Guide by Diana Cage, Seal Press
- The Queer Uncanny: New Perspectives on the Gothic by Paulina Palmer, University of Wales Press
- Rainbow Family Collections: Selecting and Using Children’s Books with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Content by Nicholas Teich, Columbia University Press
- Sex/Gender: Biology in a Social World by Anne Fausto-Sterling, Routledge
- Whitman’s Queer Children: America’s Homosexual Epics by Catherine A. Davies,Continuum
- Why Homosexuals Deserve Equality Rights: An Empowerment Guide by B.L Fowler, Positive Light For Positive Living
- Dos Equis by Anthony Bidulka, Insomniac Press
- The Seer: Connected by Linda Andersson and Sara Marx, Bella
- Tapas on the Ramblas by Anthony Bidulka, Insomniac Press
- Words to Die by William Holden, Bold Strokes Books
- Coming Out Together: An Ethnohistory of the Asian and Pacific Islander Queer Women’s and Transgendered Peoples’s Movement of San Francisco, 1898-2001 by Trinity Ordona, Routledge
- Flaming Souls: Homosexuality, Homophobia, and Social Change in Barbados by David A.B. Murray, University of Toronto Press
- Friendship As a Way of Life: Foucault, AIDS, and the Politics of Shared Estrangement by Tom Roach, State University of New York Press
- Opacity and the Closet: Queer Tactics in Foucault, Barthes, and Warhol by Nicholas de Villiers, University of Minnesota Press
- Queer Environmentality: Ecology, Evolution, and Sexuality in American Literature by Robert Azzarello, Ashgate Publishing
- Bitter Harvest by Kim Knox, Carina Press
- Brook Street: Fortune Hunter by Ava March, Carina Press
- Everything Pales in Comparison by Rebecca Swartz, Bella Books
- The Fling by Rebekah Weatherspoon, Bold Strokes Books
- Handle with Care by Josephine Myles, Samhain Publishing Ltd
- Spice and Smoke by Suleikha Snyder , Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
- Cruising: Gay Erotic Stories by Shane Allison, Cleis Press
- Buccaneer Island by J.P. Beausejour, Bold Stokes Books
- The Dirty Boys’ Club: The Soap Opera Murders by Simon Sheppard, Lethe Pess
- Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica edited by Sinclair Sexsmith, Cleis Press
- Bomber’s Moon: Under the Hill, Part 1 Alex Beecroft, Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
- Point of Hopes: A Novel of Astreiant by Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett, Lethe Press
- David Hockney: The Biography by Christopher Simon Sykes, Nan A. Talese
- Into the Garden with Charles: a Memoir by Clyde Phillip Wachsberger, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family by Zach Wahls and Bruce Littlefield, Gotham
- Riding Fury Home: A Memoir by Chana Wilson, Seal Press
- Divining Divas: 100 Gay Poets on the Women Who Inspire Them edited by Michael Montlack, Lethe Press
- Paradise, Indiana by Bruce Snider, LSU Press
- Snowflake / different streets by Eileen Myles, Wave Press
- Slow Lightning by Eduardo Corral, Yale University Press
- Stones, Eyes by Elana Bell, LSU Press
- Good Sports by Dale Lazaro , Bruno Gmunder Verlag Gmbh
- Beach Boys by Max-Arthur Mantle, Bruno Gmunder Verlag Gmbh