Detective Daryl Chandler has a gift even she finds hard to explain. She has the uncanny ability to find missing children. When cases begun to surface of children being stolen from their mothers, Daryl is convinced that they are being given to well-off adoptive lesbian couples and she enlists the help of an old friend in the Deviant Data Unit in New York. The old friend partners her with Agent Blythe Kent to try to crack the case. Together Daryl and Blythe move into the affluent community populated by same-sex couples under the guise that they are a loving couple seeking to adopt a child to complete their family. (more…)
There are primary and secondary definitions of sisterhood: one relating to blood sisters, and one relating to any community of women. In her second collection of poems, Julie R. Enszer holds both definitions close with evocative results. Sisterhood (Sibling Rivalry Press) offers mesmerizing narratives and observations, as well as surprising intersections of culture and the burden of loss. (more…)
Various media outlets from around the world have been offering poignant commemorations of Nelson Mandela, the recently deceased civil rights figure “who led the emancipation of South Africa from white minority rule and served as that country’s first black president” and who was also a stalwart champion for lgbt rights.
One beautifully rendered remembrance comes to us from writer Ayana Mathis, posted this week in New Yorker‘s “Page-Turner” blog:
It is unlikely, as I sit here at my desk, a mug of tea steaming, the radio playing softly, that I truly understand freedom, having always had it. Nor have I any real notion of confinement, never having been subject to it. And do I understand—do we understand—courage? What about conviction? What about greatness? Mandela left the world better than he found it not just because of what he did but because of what he wanted us to do. “Your freedom and mine cannot be separated,” he once said. His legacy is a reverberating call to action[...]
Read the complete post here.
Image by Kadir Nelson via The New Yorker
A confession: I like to read the endings first. Not for novels or narrative memoirs, but always for a collection of poems. I’m not worried that the last poem in the book is going to give something vital away. Surprise is chronic in good poetry, and insight is recursive. These aren’t elements the reader has to wait for in the form of a Big Reveal. Rather, I like to peek ahead in the spirit of T.S. Eliot, trusting that “The end is where we start from,” and also, if we’re lucky, that “the end of all our exploring/ Will be to arrive where we started/ And know the place for the first time.” (more…)
This boom in self-publishing (according to Bowker’s latest figures, 391,000 books were self-published in 2012, a 59 percent jump from 2011) has launched a revolution in reading—and writing. The questions that arise when talking about self-publishing are about quality. Of course, for some titles, the “quality” is that of a first draft. But so what? Many writers have stopped talking about writing a book and now have actually written one. There’s tremendous value in sitting with a topic long enough to write an entire book about it, even if that value is to the writer alone. And with self-publishing, there can always be a second, fifth, or 23rd draft. (more…)
December is upon us and so are a slew of new and noteworthy LGBT books.
Jordan MacKenzie is a social worker who has recently fled a job at a medium security women’s prison to a position in a maximum security facility to get away from a relationship-gone-bad with a coworker. When she starts her new job, she has no idea of the Web of Obsessions in which she will become unwittingly entangled. Meeting Danielle Veillard, assistant superintendent of operations, proves to be a bright light in a rather dismal atmosphere, and Jordan is immediately taken with Danielle’s professionalism, beauty and friendliness as Danielle extends a warm welcome and the two women begin a tentative working relationship. But as the association continues, each woman is forced to acknowledge an attraction that their individual struggles cannot keep at bay. (more…)
Medieval womanhood. Middle Ages. Those words conjure a time and a place where women were an afterthought except as consorts and producers of heirs–sons, not daughters. What do we really know of women in the Middle Ages and how they lived? Weren’t the lives of women so restrictive and constricted as to be barely worth noting? Can we even conceptualize lesbianism in that era? (more…)
I’m sure I had heard of the “zipless fuck” or Fear of Flying before, but my first real introduction to Erica Jong was when I read Kathy Acker’s scathing 1982 piece, Hello, I’m Erica Jong in my senior year of college. I was only a little curious about Erica Jong, singled out as she was for Acker’s ire. I figured Erica Jong was some uptight square, a bourgeois celebrity writer whose work struck Acker as worthy of scorn. If Kathy Acker thought she was worth making fun of, then I did too. She parodies the title of Jong’s sophomore novel (How to Save Your Own Life) as How to Die Successfully. Acker gives a mock impersonation: “I would rather be a baby than have sex. I would rather go GOOGOO. I would rather write googoo.” By the end of the two page screed, Erica Jong becomes a cipher through which she vents (possibly her own) sexual frustration. In retrospect, this was probably a fair enough introduction, not unlike learning about disco icons from drag impersonators, or being educated in the Broadway diva canon by bitter but patient show queens. (more…)
The New York Times wrote a sharp, seething, unpleasant four-page screed of an obituary about her that was both shocking and unsurprising. The piece reminded me of how much Lessing was loathed by many because her ideas were so strong, her vision so demanding, the inability to pigeonhole her maddening and misogyny still so rampant. Those of us who loved her work were often taken to task for it–much as the Nobel Committee itself was for choosing her in 2007. (The gay literary critic, Harold Bloom, said of her winning, “Although Ms. Lessing at the beginning of her writing career had a few admirable qualities, I find her work for the past 15 years quite unreadable–fourth-rate science fiction.”) (more…)