Posts

Showing posts from May, 2021

"Dulse" by Alice Munro

Image
sunset at "Whistle" light house, Grand Manan, via Wikipedia Alice Munro will celebrate her 90th birthday on July 10 of this year, and in honor of that auspicious occasion, I plan to write here a few posts about her work. This is the first. At the heart of Alice Munro's story "Dulse" is a question the protagonist wonders about the writer Willa Cather: How did she live?  It is a question of vital importance to her, because she is at a moment of transition in her own life, and her future feels unclear.  Munro knows that the power of fiction is in posing questions, not answering them, and the wonder of this story is that it shows us that such questions as how to live may sometimes be the wrong ones — that how  is not nearly as important as to live . "Dulse" was first published in The New Yorker  in 1980, then revised for inclusion in Alice Munro's 1982 collection The Moons of Jupiter . The biggest change between the magazine and book versions is the

Revisitation: Men on Men 4: Best New Gay Fiction (1992)

Image
This is the fourth 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 4: Best New Gay Fiction edited by George Stambolian, Plume/Penguin, 1992, 405 pages introduction by Felice Picano "Love in the Backrooms" by John Rechy "Fucking Martin" by Dale Peck "The Fiancé" by Michael Wade Simpson ( Crescent Review ) "Sacred Lips of the Bronx" by Douglas Sadownick "The Little Trooper" by Manuel Igrejas "Cultural Revolution" by Norman Wong ( Kenyon Review ) "The Magistrate's Monkey" by Richard House "Ten Reasons Why Michael and Geoff Never Got It On" by Raymond Luczak "The Greek Head"

Dylan at 80

Image
  8 fragments for Dylan on his 80th birthday—   1. Oh a false clock tries to tick out my time While it can feel a bit strange to think of any icon of youth culture (which he surely was in the mid-1960s) as an older person, Dylan has often seemed old, or at least outside of time. He began his professional career not as the rock 'n' roll innovator he would (briefly) become, but as someone devoted to the music of his parents' and grandparents' generation. His debut album only had two original songs (both folksy); all the rest were blues standards or old traditionals. Even when he was electrifying the acoustic world, he never lost his devotion to the old, weird sound. He followed up the rock of  Highway 61 Revisited  (1965) and Blonde on Blonde  (1966) with the antiquarian quiet of  John Wesley Harding  (1967) and the crooning country of  Nashville Skyline  (1969). Dylan turning 80 doesn't feel the least bit surprising; it feels appropriate. In many ways, Dylan has al

Revisitation: Men on Men 3: Best New Gay Fiction (1990)

Image
This is the third 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 3: Best New Gay Fiction  edited by George Stambolian, Plume/Penguin, 1990, 375 pages Part One "Halfway Home" by Paul Monette "Myths" by William Haywood Henderson "Blond Dog" by Robert Haule "Great Lengths" by Joe Keenan "Meeting Imelda Marcos" by Christopher Bram "Enrollment" by Philip Gambone "A Happy Automaton" by Bruce Benderson ( Pretending to Say No ) "In My Father's Car" by George Stambolian "Popular Mechanics" by Craig Lee "When Marquita Gets Home" by Bil Wright "English as a Second Language" by Bernard