Greetings from the Gayborhood
by Donald F. Reuter
Abrams Image. 114 pages, $19.95
IN A POEM called “The Dump,” one of the last published by the late Thom Gunn, he describes a dream in which he wanders around a lifetime’s worth of ephemera left behind by a departed friend and fellow author. He sees vast mounds of paper, collections of every note and draft and manuscript the writer ever produced. But he also peruses the more common refuse of the man’s life: “I went in further and saw/ a hill of match covers / from every bar or restaurant/ he’d ever entered.” I thought of this poem as I read Donald F. Reuter’s Greetings from the Gayborhood, because Reuter’s book is like a collective photo album of gay American life since the mid-1940’s, and it’s lavishly and lovingly illustrated with the kinds of images one could imagine filling the landscape of Gunn’s poem.
The book is designed to mimic the horizontal layout of a postcard or a small photo album, and it appropriates the visual elements of the traditional “Greetings from …” postcard as a unifying design concept for what Reuter describes as his “whirlwind tour of twelve gayborhoods.”