Literature has served as a touchstone for queer people through the ages—from the 19th and 20th century works of authors like Oscar Wilde and Gertrude Stein to the present day stories of Dorothy Allison and Michael Cunningham—but the written word is not the only art form that has impacted the LGBT community. Over the past several decades, film has introduced us to a variety of queer characters with stories just as powerful as those written in a book. Great stories, no matter what form they take, have the capability to lift us from dangerous places, to show us that we are never alone, to remind us that there are other people in the world who share our experiences, whether they are painful and frightening or uplifting and inspirational. But stories, at their best, also remind us that there are people in the world who are different than ourselves, people with different beliefs, backgrounds, genders, sexualities, ambitions, desires, and even fears.
When I was an enterprising young writer back in the turbulent years of middle school, my stories (usually fantasy, and all abandoned after one or two chapters) always featured a gay character. She (and she was usually female) wouldn’t be the main character, but a sidekick or best friend. It was perfectly normal, I reasoned with myself, to include gay characters in my stories; because some people in real life were gay, and what was so weird about it if lesbians consistently turned up in things I was writing, and I’m sure gay authors write about straight people, so nothing about this makes me gay. (more…)
“I started writing because all odds were against me and I wanted to share my own unique experiences so that others like me would know they are not alone in this world.”
“The Banal and the Profane” is a monthly Lambda Literary column in which we lift the veil on both the writerly life and the publishing industry. In each installment, we ask a different LGBT writer, or LGBT person of interest in the book industry, to guide us through a week in their lives.
This month’s “Banal and Profane” column comes to us from Emanuel Xavier. (more…)
To celebrate National Poetry Month in April, Rebel Satori Press joins forces with NYC’s El Museo del Barrio to publish Me No Habla With Acento: Contemporary Latino Poetry. The anthology includes poems by a number of out Latino poets, including Rigoberto Gonzalez, Luzma Umpierre, A.B. Lugo and Emanuel Xavier, who also edited. [Source]
Another out poet, Lambda Literary Award winner Ellen Bass, will be featured on the cover of the March/April issue of American Poetry Review. Even better, look inside for ten of Ellen’s poems. [Source]
Congratulations to Erin Dutton, Fran Heckrotte and Ali Vali, recipients of the 2011 Alice B. Medal, given annually to living writers whose careers have been distinguished by consistently well-written stories about lesbians. 2011 Lavender Certificates for outstanding first or early novels went to Amy Briant, Nat Burns, Gina Noelle Daggett, D. Jackson Leigh, Kristin Marra and Amy Dawson Robertson. [Source]
Emanuel Xavier has posted videos of spoken word poetry/dance presentations featuring poems from his collection If Jesus Were Gay & other poems. The performances revolve around themes of gays in the military, the Santeria religion, and a gay man’s struggle with Catholicism.
The Legendary Project was staged at El Museo del Barrio on June 20, 2010 for NYC Gay Pride featuring a talented troupe of modern dancers. Choreographed by Ferdinand De Jesus (a.k.a. Freddie Xtravaganza), the event celebrated the collaborations of Nuyorican poet Emanuel Xavier and music producer El David from the album “Legendary-The Spoken Word Poetry of Emanuel Xavier.” Additional choreography by Stefan Dolbashian. This excerpt was filmed by Joe DeShano. Make up by Blue Michael. Poem from the Xavier’s poetry collection, If Jesus Were Gay & other poems, reviewed here by Rigoberto Gonzalez. (more…)
Amos Lassen doesn’t think of himself this way, but he is one of the most influential Amazon reviewers in the nation — especially when it comes to the categories for gay romance, gay fiction, gay and lesbian erotica, DVD, and documentary. An Amazon Top 50 Reviewer and a member of the Amazon Vine Program—a highly-coveted, invitation only badge—he has reviewed 3,683 products to date and receives hundreds of review submissions a month. He was kind enough to share a summary of his favorite titles for 2010. From indie publishers to top houses, from romance to poetry to literary fiction, Lassen’s carefully curated list is as diverse as his evolving tastes.—AG (more…)
Three out gay writers are among the 13 “long list” nominees for the prestigious Man Booker Prize for Fiction: Brit Emma Donoghue for Room, South African Damon Galgut for In a Strange Room, and Aussie Christos Tsiolkas for The Slap. Emma was a joint winner of the 2008 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction for her novel The Sealed Letter and recently published a nonfiction book, Inseparable: Desire Between Women in Literature. The Man Booker Prize winner will be announced Oct. 12 and will receive $80,000. For details, click here.
Bella Books editorial director Karin Kallmaker has posted three extensive blogs dealing with the growing issue of piracy and its effects on lesbian writers and small presses in general. Here’s the link. (more…)
A survivor of the gritty NYC streets, Emanuel Xavier shaped the troubling details and experiences of his past into arresting spoken-word performance pieces that were first published as Pier Queen in 1997. Since then he has undertaken other challenges–novelist, editor, and literary activist–building a strong reputation as a writer who is frank about sex and sexuality, and critical of the hostile environment that gay Latinos must endure from their many environments.
His most recent publication, If Jesus Were Gay, announces his most daring premise–holding the Latino community accountable for its homophobia (more…)
When I received this book my first question when I opened it was, “why am I getting this?” Isn’t there a poetry editor? Does someone think poems about the men we love, the men who dump us, and poems about our self doubt and heartbreak are erotic literature? To me those poems are the stories of our lives, but maybe all the stories of gay men are erotic because that’s our essential nature. Once that question went unanswered I started reading the rest of the book and had trouble putting it down. Emanuel Xavier asks the question we’ve all wanted to ask major the influences in our lives. What if my Dad had played with another man in college? What if my mother had inherited a fortune? This “street grown poet angry with God” is also asking larger questions about morality and trust. It’s not about whether or not Jesus would pierce his nipple if he were gay, but would we see ourselves differently if the Jesus had been a queer shepherd boy? As he says, “would we hang him from our chest?” (more…)
With Easter upon us several new books tackle one particular subject matter: Jesus and homosexuality. Perhaps this isn’t a new concept, but a topical one nonetheless. Why does the idea of a gay Jesus provoke such visceral reactions from both believers and nonbelievers alike? This month, at least four authors are challenging traditional notions about Christ and his sexuality. (more…)