Browsing: In Search of Lost Identities

March – April, 2013

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A review of 9 poetry books; Slow Lightning, Divining Divas: 100 Gay Men on their Muses, When We Become Weavers, Among the Leaves:  Queer Male Poets on the Midwestern Experience, Lady Business: A Celebration of Lesbian Poetry, Skin Shift, Butcher’s Sugar, and Later Poems Selected and New: 1971-2012.

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The following article arrived as an unsolicited manuscript from the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York, where the author is incarcerated. Because I was unable to interact with him in preparing the piece for publication, I decided to run it almost verbatim, making only a few minor corrections. However, the piece was quite long and included a few digressions that I thought detracted from the narrative, so I have taken the liberty of cutting these passages (totaling some 1200 words). These three cuts are marked by an ellipsis in brackets.

– The Editor

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[Coal to Diamonds] is a first-person narrative in the straightforward language of a girl from rural Arkansas who escaped a traditional fate of lifelong poverty and oppression by following her dream. …

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Editor’s Note: The sudden, shocking death by suicide of 26-year-old Aaron Swartz, programming genius and free speech activist, provoked a huge Internet backlash when it was learned that he was being aggressively pursued by a Massachusetts prosecutor for the alleged crime of downloading scholarly articles from the database GSTOR. The case raises all kinds of issues of prosecutorial overreach, antiquated laws governing cyberspace, and so on. But there’s also a curious twist in that Aaron Swartz was apparently gay or bi-or, rather, not …

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UNTIL RECENTLY, it seemed that camp was and would remain a phenomenon of the 20th century—camp, in all its manifestations: as a theory of æsthetics and style; as coded communication and performativity; as a site of humor and parody; as provocative social commentary.

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THIS FASCINATING STUDY explores three places in Asia and the Pacific where gays have created and defended a community for themselves. Atkins, a communications professor at Seattle University, tells the stories of Bali, Bangkok, and Singapore on their separate journeys to becoming, respectively, the æsthetic capital, the pleasure capital, and the intellectual capital of the region.

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FOR THE PAST TEN YEARS, same-sex marriage has dominated the American political landscape, but this is not the first time in history this issue has made front-page news. In 1971, The San Francisco Chronicle declared that a “gay marriage boom” was under way. …

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In All We Know: Three Lives, Lisa Cohen rescues from history’s dustbin the lives of three extraordinary, glamorous, brilliant, independent lesbians. Cohen’s project is a welcome addition to the Herstory Project.

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