Our Deep Gossip: Conversations with Gay Writers on Poetry and Desire

Our Deep Gossip: Conversations with Gay Writers on Poetry and Desire

by Christopher Hennessy, Christopher Bram
     
 

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From Walt Whitman forward, a century and a half of radical experimentation and bold speech by gay and lesbian poets has deeply influenced the American poetic voice. In Our Deep Gossip, Christopher Hennessy interviews eight gay men who are celebrated American poets and writers: Edward Field, John Ashbery, Richard Howard, Aaron Shurin, Dennis Cooper, Cyrus

Overview

From Walt Whitman forward, a century and a half of radical experimentation and bold speech by gay and lesbian poets has deeply influenced the American poetic voice. In Our Deep Gossip, Christopher Hennessy interviews eight gay men who are celebrated American poets and writers: Edward Field, John Ashbery, Richard Howard, Aaron Shurin, Dennis Cooper, Cyrus Cassells, Wayne Koestenbaum, and Kazim Ali. The interviews showcase the complex ways art and life intertwine, as the poets speak about their early lives, the friends and communities that shaped their work, the histories of gay writers before them, how sex and desire connect with artistic production, what coming out means to a writer, and much more.
            While the conversations here cover almost every conceivable topic of interest to readers of poetry and poets themselves, the book is an especially important, poignant, far-reaching, and enduring document of what it means to be a gay artist in twentieth- and early twenty-first-century America.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
11/25/2013
Interviewing eight contemporary gay male writers, this collection teases out the attachments between personal life and art-making practices in the dynamic world of queer poetry. Hennessy (Outside the Lines: Talking with Contemporary Gay Poets) is of equal measure an astute, studied academic and an enthusiastic fan of the collected writers. His intellect becomes a clever through line, adding cohesion to the diverse voices and philosophies of Edward Field, John Ashbery, Richard Howard, Aaron Shurin, Dennis Cooper, Cyrus Cassels, Wayne Koestenbaum, and Kazim Ali. While those who aren't already fans of these poets might find their interest lagging from time to time, there are enough singular and surprising moments to earn back the reader's attention—that incredibly rare occasion of hearing John Ashbery discuss the link between his sexuality and his writing style, for instance, or Wayne Koestenbaum's declaration that writing a particular poem felt like "diving into the wreck, but the drowned vessel was my father's anus." These moments are the strength of the text, allowing insight into the poet's work that evades the dry tedium of much criticism and is instead untethered through the free flow of conversation, favoring further questions rather than reductive answers. In short, Hennessy gives the poets generous space to speak, and in this space the book succeeds. B&w illus. (Nov.)
From the Publisher

"A powerful living archive of the great stakes and pleasures of contemporary queer poetry. Reading these pages often feels like a lucky and enriching eavesdropping."—Michael Snediker, author of Queer Optimism

"Our Deep Gossip isn't just smart. It isn't just a color-rich collection of interviews with eight amazing gay poets. And it isn't just a compelling record of their personalities, processes, and engagement with desire. It's a landmark in which Hennessy never misses the mark."—Jim Elledge, editor of Who's Yer Daddy

“Hennessy gives the poets generous space to speak, and in this space the book succeeds.”—Publishers Weekly

“Hennessy successfully presents readers with a snapshot of modern gay poetry while placing individual poets within the wider American literary landscape.”—Library Journal

“Passionate about the beauty of poetry, Hennessy presents eight master craftsmen at the top of their game. . . . His book will delight readers interested in how a poet’s mind works, and the many places a literary artist draws inspiration from.”—Bay Area Reporter

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780299295646
Publisher:
University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date:
11/29/2013
Edition description:
1
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author


Christopher Hennessy is the author of Outside the Lines: Talking with Contemporary Gay Poets and a collection of poems, Love-In-Idleness, which was a finalist for the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry. He is the associate editor for The Gay & Lesbian Review-Worldwide and lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

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