October 1, 2014

‘Law and the Gay Rights Story: The Long Search for Equal Justice in a Divided Democracy’ by Walter Frank

Posted on September 29, 2014 by in Nonfiction, Reviews

For many American LGBTQs, June 26, 2013 was a day in which everything changed. On that date, the Supreme Court of the United States, in a stunning 5-4 decision, ruled in United States v. Windsor that restricting the federal interpretation of “marriage” and “spouse” to only heterosexual unions, as specified in Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), was unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment. Since that momentous ruling, the legal landscape for LGBTQs has undergone a tectonic shift, with district, state, and federal courts from around the country almost uniformly ruling in favor of gays and lesbians by upending state constitutional bans on same-sex marriage. (more…)

‘A Gathering Storm’ by Jameson Currier

Posted on September 27, 2014 by in Fiction, Reviews

A Gathering Storm by Jameson Currier is the story of a hate crime. In a small, unnamed university town in the American South, on a Monday night in September, a gay college student named Danny meets two other men in a local bar; after they leave, they drive Danny to a remote spot, beat him, tie him to a fence, and leave him to die. Once he is discovered—after suffering exposure outdoors overnight—and taken to a local hospital, word of the hate crime spreads, and the residents of the town and university suddenly find themselves at the center of a media frenzy, as the news quickly reverberates beyond the local community. (more…)

‘A Cup of Water Under My Bed’ by Daisy Hernández

Posted on September 27, 2014 by in Bio/Memoir, Reviews

If you yearn for thoughtful, truth-filled, and honest writing about US racism that is sharp and righteous, read Colorlines. ColorLines exemplifies progressive journalism with a racial justice lens. From 2004 through 2010, Daisy Hernández helped build Colorlines. Working as a writer and editor, Hernández, with a team of activist journalists, migrated the print magazine from its quarterly publication to its current incarnation as a powerful online news journal characterized by incisive analysis. If you care about racial justice news, subscribe to the Colorlines feed. (more…)

‘A Several World’ by Brian Blanchfield

Posted on September 23, 2014 by in Poetry, Reviews

“We came in here to pretend.” So begins Brian Blanchfield’s “Open House,” a playfully serious poem about a gay couple who, in the course of a spring walk, encounter an up-market house they cannot afford. Their finances do not prevent them from running room to room as they imagine themselves making space for Hart Crane and Eileen Myles in a study or removing awful drapes from a window overlooking the bay. It’s a game couples play all the time, though the queer spin here signals other themes, namely the limits to which the American Dream is available to gay men, whose recent past consigned them to urban rentals in clogged asphalt jungles. That the game turns partially earnest (“we weren’t faking exactly”) suggests the poem’s jaunty veneer masks a darker truth: the dream is seductive—and forever out of reach. Its voice may possess a biting wit that includes references to Diaghilev and Nijinsky, Bouvard and Pecuchet, and the ironic appropriation of legal terminology and Latin phrases, but in the end he must admit he and his lover, who “blew in notional,” imagine a future that is “not us, not any more.”  (more…)

‘Queer and Trans Artists of Color: Stories of Some of Our Lives’ by Nia King

Posted on September 22, 2014 by in Nonfiction

In my former review of Nia King’s work, I mentioned her media presence, via her website, tumblr, and her podcasts We Want the Airwaves: QPOC Artists on the Rise, in which she interviews queer and transgender artists of color. She successfully used indiegogo to raise enough money to transcribe interviews from her podcast and is now publishing them as a book, in order to share these artists’ stories, knowledge and oral histories. (more…)

‘Travels with Casey’ by Benoit Denizet-Lewis

Posted on September 21, 2014 by in Bio/Memoir, Reviews

It’s a strange thing. We never really know what our pets are feeling, and yet we’re so often convinced they either love us or hate us. Consider Benoit Denizet-Lewis, author and owner of a nine-year-old Labrador-Golden Retriever mix. “Casey’s really good at looking miserable,” Denizet-Lewis complains to his psychoanalyst. He hopes his upcoming cross-country road trip with the dog, for a new book called Travels with Casey, will give them a chance to bond. (more…)

‘Barracuda’ by Christos Tsiolkas

Posted on September 19, 2014 by in Fiction, Reviews

Deep into Christos Tsiolkas’ Barracuda (Hogarth), Danny, the novel’s angry gay protagonist, returns to his native Australia and has a conversation with his brother. “I could have had a future,” he tells Theo as he looks back at his young life. The words could have been an apt subtitle to the book: Barracuda; or I Could Have Had a Future. Yet in the end, the novelisn’t quite as pessimistic as it might originally seem. While there is no false optimism as we are pulled through Danny’s bleak adolescence into his early adulthood, Tsiolkas does offer a quiet yet clear redemption. Hope is earned, even if in a minor key. (more…)

‘Kicker’s Journey’ by Lois Cloarec Hart

Posted on September 18, 2014 by in Reviews, Romance

Canadian author Lois Cloarec Hart claims to be an accidental author. But her latest rich, opulent period piece set in Victorian England and the Canadian “Wild West” demonstrates that readers are all the better for the circumstances which prompted this gifted author to take up ink and pen. (more…)

‘The Road to Emmaus’ by Spencer Reece

Posted on September 17, 2014 by in Poetry, Reviews

The electrifying self-reveal has long been a favorite trick of the gods. An amiable companion on horseback uncloaks himself as Odin, deity of wisdom, poetry, and victory in battle; in Genesis, Jacob rises from a wrestling match to find the challenger was Yahweh in human form. And on The Road to Emmaus, as depicted in a garish postcard in Sister Ann’s office, where Spencer Reece’s speaker remembers his older mentor and would-be lover in the title poem of his latest collection, two travelers from Jerusalem are joined by a third, who listens intently to a description of their savior before revealing himself as Christ. (more…)

How Everett Maroon Turned Me Into an Unintentional YA Fan

Posted on September 16, 2014 by in Interviews, Young Adult

I imagine it is bad form to start off talking about a book by bad-mouthing its genre, but I felt the need to disclose, if only to emphasize how damn good Everett Maroon’s new young adult novel is: I don’t much care for YA. Well, at least I thought I didn’t. Let me explain. (more…)