From Friday, August 2 through Sunday, August 4, the Washington DC Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people will be hosting the 2013 OutWrite LGBT Book Fair, which will include book readings, discussions, and book venders. Authors scheduled to make an appearance include Brittany Fonte, Joseph Ross, Aaron Hamburger, and Kendrick Murry Johnson. Additional information, including a detailed schedule of events, is available on the DC Center’s website.

In the July 2013 issue of Harper’s, Mark Edmonson included his now controversial essay, titled “Poetry Slam,” in which he discusses the decline of American poetry, claiming that it has turned into writing that lacks “fire” or “ambition” and is “weak.” He blames this demise on the fact that poets, especially in the confines of MFA programs, feel an increasing need to be politically correct with their writing in order to please their teachers and ultimately land a prize, book deal, or fellowship. In turn, Edmonson feels that poetry has grown less universal, because poets are no longer speaking for humanity or trying to find truths about the human condition.

In a follow-up essay in The Atlantic, Joel Breuklander points out that the majority of these essays about how literature is dying that turn up every few months are written by white males, and predominately straight white males. As Breuklander writes,

“Let’s acknowledge that straight, white males’ stranglehold on American culture really is loosening. They are no longer expected to speak for everyone else.”

Meanwhile, a white woman writer’s experiences are the basis of a new Netflix original series, Orange is the New Black, which has been garnering a lot of positive reviews. Based on Piper Kerman’s memoir with the same title, the show captures Kerman’s year in a federal prison, where she was sentence during 2004 and 2005 after laundering money for her ex-girlfriend, a heroin trafficker. Kerman, who was from a respected New England family and graduated from Smith College, was not someone whose friends would have pegged her as a criminal. But beyond this tale of a good girl gone bad, Kerman’s memoir and the Netflix series delve into the unexpected and unexposed experiences of women in prison, which she discusses, among other things, in an interview with The Washington Post.

Lastly, New York City’s High Line, a walking path and park built on top of a former elevated railroad and one of the Chelsea neighborhood’s most popular attractions, is also home to several billboards that showcase artwork to pedestrians. This fall, the gay art duo Gilbert & George have agreed to temporarily put their 1984 mural “Waking” on display. Painted in a fashion meant to resemble stained glass, the brightly colored mural features a series of men in the foreground and close-ups of male faces lining the background. Cecilia Alemani, the High Line Art curator, told the New York Times that,

“With all the talk today about urban life and gay marriage, it seems even more appropriate now.”



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  • Ron Fritsch

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