The title of Reginald Harrisâ€™ deeply felt debut collection of poems, Autogeography (winner of the Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize), is happily deceptive, a play on autoerotica (or autoerogoneous). Like a map, the title opens itself to neighboring zones and states of being. Title and collection are viscerally complemented by deeply marine-blue cover artwork, a boy wading in the ocean and staring to that always ambiguous border between earth and voyage, that launch pad to imagination, the horizon. (more…)
It is the opposition of expectations, more than opposition of cultures, which affects the characters in Happiness, Â Like Water, a debut collection of ten stories by Nigerian author Chinelo Okparanta. Okparanta, a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, was one of Grantaâ€™s six new voices of 2012. (more…)
A collection of straight-ahead poems is a good thing, but equally good and also refreshing is a poetry collection diverse as a sound financial portfolio, with poems, prose, prose poems, epistles, and postcards revealing versatility and offering preventative action against dread humdrum. (more…)
Elizabeth Colen’s ambitious Waiting Up for the End of the World: Conspiracies (Jaded Ibis Press) offers a cohesion of themes: cataclysm, catastrophe, and possibly worse, and the legal definition of conspiracy, a decision by two or more people to commit a crime. (more…)
Oh, â€śmurderous gaysâ€ť and â€śself-hating lesbiansâ€ť! You distraught and twisted queers were once our sole image in film. Then things changed, changed again, and now, well. . .. Definitely thereâ€™s a history here. Barbara Mennelâ€™s Queer Cinema: Schoolgirls, Vampires and Gay Cowboys (Wallflower Press) provides that history of us onscreen, beginning in the early 1900s. Part of Wallflower Pressâ€™ Short Cuts: Introduction to Film Studies series, Queer Cinema situates the LGBT presence in movies and some TV within its social and historical milieu. Unsurprising and necessary are the many parallels author Barbara Mennel, an associate professor of film studies and German studies at the University of Florida, draws between the cultureâ€™s comfort level with queers and how weâ€™re portrayed. The writing is workmanlike, clear, and detailed. I am not a film scholar, surprise surprise, and though I probably shouldnâ€™t admit it, I am an IMDB.com fanatic. And, proudly, an L.A. girl at heart. Iâ€™m interested. So. (more…)
I have heard rumors, lately, of a poet once of the City of New York named Ahron Grinsberg, no wait, that’s my building manager, let’s see, yes, here: Allen Ginsberg. He seemed to have had a faint few followers when he resided in the formerly seedy East Village.
If Roseanne Barr wrote prose poems, they wouldn’t be so very different from those in Buddha in My Belly, Brittany K. Fonte’s debut collection (Hopewell Publications, 2012).Â Like Barr’s routines, these pieces are sardonic, honestâ€”and about women. Sometimes it’s hard to be one. Okay, that was Tammy. Anyway.
A dozen long-stemmed red roses? Ho hum. How 50s heterosexual can you get?Â It’s not that I’m disenchanted with roses, their heady fragrance and dizzying blend of fragility and toughness. It’s just, well, I love me some variety. (more…)
The world of My Sister Chaos (Triangle Publishing’sÂ Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction winner and a finalist for this year’s Lambda Literary Award in Lesbian Debut Fiction) is disconcerting.Â Always near the surface of this quiet and speculative methodical tale is the fact that we are in a time of crisis. (more…)