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The image selection for the cover of the catalog, a recent self-portrait by Senegalese photographer Omar Victor Diop, captures some of the exhibit’s themes. The photograph is a re-imagining of a late 18th-century painting by the French romanticist Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson, of a portrait of Jean-Baptiste Belley, a formerly enslaved person from Saint-Domingue who gained his freedom and fought in both the American War of Independence and the Haitian Revolution.

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There were two Bloomsburys: the one that began in 1906 at Cambridge University when John Maynard Keynes, the eminent economist, and Lytton Strachey founded a discussion society called The Apostles, in which great minds talked about ideas with handsome young undergraduates; and the one that resumed after World War I, when a new generation (who were part of, but not co-extensive with, the “Bright Young Things”) emerged.

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His New York Underground show featured art depict- ing scenes of cruising, bathhouse orgies, public sex, California surfers, disco queens, urban cowboys…

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What makes Richard Howard so discomforting and so important (the two in my mind are always linked) was his insatiability, not just as an intellectual, not merely as a translator, critic, and poet, but as a sensibility that could never see enough, never feel enough, never know enough, who wished to feel each moment not just in itself but as part of a continuity of moments that we share together. Nothing could be queerer than this insatiability.

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AS JACK KEROUAC’S centennial year draws to a close, I have been contemplating the open book of his sexuality. He married three times, had countless affairs with women, and was not above crude expressions of homophobia. However, he allied himself with his gay friends Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs in the creation of the Beat Movement, and, according to Ginsberg, there were times when Kerouac had sex with him or other men.

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            Who did read Merrick’s books? Not his agent, Merrick eventually realized, or even his editor at Avon Books. But thousands of fans did. Sales figures are sprinkled throughout Joseph M. Ortiz’ new biography, Gordon Merrick and the Great Gay American Novel. One refers to over a million books sold. They did well in France and England. French critics considered Merrick a “serious” novelist. It helped that Merrick was fluent in French (one reason the OSS hired him), and so did the fact that he was critical of his own country’s shortcomings.

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THE FIRST GLIMPSE I had of Thom Gunn was his picture in a poetry anthology titled The Modern Poets, edited by John Malcolm Brinnin and William Read. It was assigned as a textbook in an English literature class I was taking at Emory University in 1963, with consequences for me that the teacher could not have anticipated. That anthology was the first to include pictures of the poets alongside their selection, a bonus that always makes the reader curious about how the writer’s appearance bears on the work itself.

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The work of Kinsey, Hooker, and others all emboldened a new brand of post-Stonewall gay liberation activists ready to engage in dramatic and confrontational tactics, including disrupting APA meetings and demanding equal time to refute the theories of homosexual pathology.

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The following speech by the late Barbara Gittings first appeared in The G&LR’s July-August 2007 issue. The speech was delivered on October 7, 2006, on the occasion of Gittings’ acceptance of the American Psychiatric Association’s Fryer Award for her contribution to GLBT mental health.

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Editor’s Note: This “Open Letter” started as a lengthy letter to the editor, but it was too long for that format and warranted more prominent placement. The author was so kind as to adapt the letter to this format.

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