Posts

Remember to Be Infinite

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David Wojnarowicz, untitled (Face in Dirt) Each painting, film, sculpture or page of writing I make represents to me a particular moment in the history of my body on this planet, in america. Therefore each photograph, film, sculpture and page of writing I make has built into it a particular frame of mind that only I can be sure of knowing, given that I have always felt alienated in this country, and thus have lived with the sensation of being an observer of my own life as it occurs.  --David Wojnarowicz,  Close to the Knives * Reading the early chapters of Cynthia Carr's biography of David Wojnarowicz, Fire in the Belly , provides an experience I can't recall in any other biography: the utter uncertainty of witness. Again and again, Carr presents an event as one person remembered it, then follows with other participants' very different recollections. Works of biography and history regularly present varying versions of events, but will usually take side

Revisitation: Men on Men 2: Best New Gay Fiction (1988)

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This is the second post in a series I have fallen into calling "Revisitations", in which I chronicle gay male short fiction from the 1980s and 1990s, starting first with the Men on Men series of anthologies. For the concept and purpose behind this series, see the first post . Contents (source in parentheses if previously published elsewhere)  Men on Men 2: Best New Gay Fiction edited by George Stambolian, Plume/NAL/Penguin, 1988, 371 pages This volume includes both reprint and original stories, but unlike the first volume, the reprints are no more than two years before the copyright date of the book itself. "My Mother's Clothes: The School of Beauty and Shame" by Richard McCann ( Atlantic Monthly ) "The Age of Anxiety" by David B. Feinberg ( Mandate ) "Jungle Dove" by Joseph Pintauro ( Christopher Street ) "In This Corner..." by James Purdy ( Christopher Street ) "Solidarity" by Albert Innaurato "Dancing on Tishe B

"It's Good to Hate Novels," He Said Lovingly

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In the first decade of the Twenty-First Century AD, there was a vogue called blogging. Blogging happened when people operated websites and used those websites to publish their own inane commentary on the issues of the day. —Jarett Kobek, Only Americans Burn in Hell 1.  The best novel I've read in a while is only a novel in the loosest sense of the term, and its most traditionally novelistic parts are openly and deliberately terrible. It's less a novel than an angry, fragmented essay with some shards of novelish text scattered through it. I read it compulsively, addictively, hardly believing my eyes. Though the book is messy, angry, sometimes despairing, and often outrageous, more than anything else while reading it I felt joy — and, as often as not, sheer, unbridled glee. The book is  Only Americans Burn in Hell  by Jarett Kobek, and it was published in 2019, though I only discovered it recently. On the cover, the title is gigantic and Kobek's name only appears in a small f