or, "Anne and Bernadette Go to the Coliseum." I really like this piece but mostly I just love how it moves, I love watching it run up and down the court and sweat and vamp and show its muscles.
A love poem about a crumbling love that is also about poetry's incantatory power to empty things. "Tel Aviv" is not Tel Aviv. "Tel Aviv" is ugliness, "Tel Aviv" is making a world you can live in when you take language in your hands and warm it and soften it and push it around. A poem about a city that is mostly Brooklyn and history that is everywhere and in the heart.
This book makes me feel like I'm sitting in a room filled with plants. Like, calm. Tingling with awareness. These stories are simple and elusive, filled with light and hands and houses and roads and horses, too.
A sometimes-forgotten novel from one of our best writers on freedom.
Hartman has written a history that might seem imposiible to write -- an intimate history of Black women and queer people who made lives in Philadelphia and New York at the beginning of the 20th century. Punctuated with captionless photos, the book reads like equal parts novel, essay, and elegy.
A gorgeous essay-book from multi-disciplinary Trinidadian artist Agard. She digests an impossible array of cultural imperatives and hands us something new. Equal parts refusal to surrender and celebration of that which is hybrid, messy, elusive, and multiple. Full, too, of gorgeous images -- including some of her paintings. Her writing flashes and cuts like a diamond.
I can't say I'm particularly well-versed in science fiction. But I've been carrying these stories with me, thinking of them often in the weeks since I read them. Pollack is writing about gender and the legacy of queer community, and she's also thinking about how our hearts get stuck on ideas of who we are and want to be in the world. She writes with an eye to the long arc of the history of the spirit, and with much compassion for the muck of where we are now. Her writing has become a smooth little stone I carry in my pocket and reach for often.
A rather unfortunately slightly forgotten classic. Marshall's characters learn how to be true to themselves; like Jacobs wrestling angels, they claim futures for themselves, even if they forever after walk with limps.
Maybe my favorite novel of 2020. There's something a little formal about Crain's sentences -- I want to call it poise, or a certain faith in the ability of language language to invoke the sensuous reality of the world. (And it does that... I smelled old lvoers, heard the twitter of birds, biked over bridges after midnight.) But this book is nudging a toe towards the edge of what life is now, and asking gorgeous questions about how we carry our hearts in the face of ever-expanding digital surveillance and collective crisis. Somehow it gets away with being a page-turner, a heart-squeezer, and an orchestra of ideas all at once.
I loved this book.
A tender and penetrating manifesto? A series of parables and sayings? A loving memorial to a queer community? Feels damn fresh, tho it was first published in the 70s.
What happens when love pushes up against limits? It spills over.
Made me feel lots of feelings.
"I know nothing / But the lassitude of love // Half an hour after sunset / All the windows are frozen shut // Like psychology / I have to hammer the sides with my fists / To get them open, often I wonder / If I think the same things I thought as a child / When I didn't know the future of a form"
One of the great poems of the 20th century.
This book jumped up and down all over my queer heart.
More! I whimpered. More!
A swift shock of a book that has changed how I see our world. As punchy & fleet as it is eerie and melancholy -- sort of about where we're headed, but really about where we've always been.
A collection of essays and fragments. I've been comign back to this book a lot in these dark times. Howe is a poet and novelist; she has been circling back to questions of God, justice, poverty, race, poetry, and weakness in her many-decade career. Her writing is lyrical, tough, and brilliant.
Cain is one of my favorite writers, period. This, her first novel, is spare and warm and transfixing.
A play for reading aloud in living rooms that is also a kind of a prayer, a poem, a manifesto. Kosmas is a tender and hopeful archaeologist of the surreal -- so, like, a extraordinary documentarian of everyday life.
I tore through this, laughed, cried, bit my nails, the whole deal. For the young person in your life learning about love.
The selected diaries of trans activist and historian Lou Sullivan. Sullivan writes about love, sex, music, community, and gender in ways that felt so intimate -- he was writing his way into being. I almost couldn't bear to keep going, knowing the book would end with his death, in 1991, of AIDS. Now I miss him. Such a joyful book, somehow, though.
What does queer life look like, when it's so often haunted by queer death? A book that is both very funny and very sad, full of loops and questions. Felt kind of scarily alive to our now.
I couldn't get enough. And then it destroyed me.
Disorientingly violent in an emotional way and somehow funny. Mordant, I guess, is the word?