Tuesday, May 21, 2019

NOT a good way to celebrate Walt Whitman's bicentennial!

Greetings, Colleagues--

With Walt Whitman's bicentennial rapidly approaching--the poet was born on May 31, 1819--I was pleased to see that Michael Ruane had devoted a "Retropolis" column to that topic in the May 20 Washington Post.  Or at least I was until I actually read the piece, which never even alludes to the poet's homosexuality.  The closest he comes is a bland statement that Whitman was "earthy" and wrote about sex and death.

Nor does Ruane reference the moving words, taken from "The Wound Dresser" (an 1865 poem describing the many hours Whitman spent comforting young soldiers wounded in the Civil War), carved into the walls of the Q St. entrance to the Dupont Circle Metro station:

Thus in silence in dreams' projections
Returning, resuming, I thread my way through the hospitals;
The hurt and wounded I pacify with soothing hand,
I sit by the restless all the dark night--some are so young;
Some suffer so much--I recall the experience sweet and sad.

That inscription was placed there in 2007 as a memorial to the thousands of Americans who died during the AIDS crisis.  Elsewhere in the District, you'll find Whitman's words at the Archives-Navy Memorial Metro station, at Freedom Plaza and in Mount Pleasant.

I've written Mr. Ruane deploring these sins of omission, acknowledging that some readers undoubtedly feel that Whitman's work is all that matters, not his personal life.  But I feel sure that the poet would emphatically disagree with that dismissive view.

I'm not holding my breath for a reply, but I'll let you know if I get one.

Cheers, Steve

Bookmen DC turns 20!

Greetings, Colleagues--

I've already e-mailed a readout on our birthday bash at the DC Center last Wednesday night, May 15, but here is a summary for our far-flung readership.

Eighteen guys attended, representing a nice cross-section of our membership: all the way from founding members to a first-time visitor, plus David Mariner, director of the Center.  We enjoyed  fellowship over lots of good food and drink supplied by attendees.

Two founding facilitators, Bill Malone and Greg Farber, were on hand to share memories of our group's early years, after which several other Bookmen spoke about what the group means to them.  I then wrapped things up, after which we enjoyed birthday cake and toasted our 20th anniversary.

Cheers, Steve

Friday, May 10, 2019

The Blade Story

—appears on page 38 of the May 10 issue (hardcopy). Or click for pdf and download or scroll to page 38.

Publicity for our 20th anniversary!

Both MW and the Blade came through with nice write-ups about our 20th anniversary in their latest issues.  They got a few details wrong, but nothing major.

Hope to see many of you on Wednesday at the DC Center! đŸ„ł

Saturday, May 4, 2019

"The Lavender Scare" — DC Screening

This Tuesday, May 7, the Abrahamson auditorium
(free, but registration required).

We read the book (4/4/12) and Thomas Mallon's novel Fellow Travelers (and some of us got "into" Gregory Spears' moving opera of the same title). Additionally, we'll be discussing Craig Loftin's Masked Voices this July 3rd.

The Fifties — for those of us who lived through them (and even through our own 50s) there's no escaping them!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Rencontre avec Edouard Louis

Saturday 4th May 2019 — 6:30pm to 9:00pm … L'Ă©vĂ©nement sera en français exclusivement, sans traduction.

Monday, April 29, 2019

New additions to our 2019-2020 reading list

I've already disseminated the winning titles from our most recent round of nominations for our next reading list to you via e-mail, but here they are for more general approbation. As always, Tim Walton enters the discussion schedule for upcoming selections in the right-hand column of the blog.


Leading Men. Christopher Castellani. 2019, 368pp, Viking, $18.

A Brief History of Seven Killings. Marlon James. 2014, 704pp, Riverhead Books, $13

Martin Bauman. David Leavitt. 2000, 400pp, Mariner, $9

In September, the Light Changes: The Stories of Andrew Holleran. Andrew Holleran. 1999, 320pp, Hyperion, $20

Such Times. Christopher Coe. 1993, 336pp, Penguin, $15

The Lure. Felice Picano. 1979, 267pp, Bold Strokes Books, $17

Julian: A Novel. Gore Vidal. 1964, 528pp, Vintage, $14

Concerning the Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli. Ronald Firbank. 1926, 47pp, New Directions, $28


Has the Gay Movement Failed? Martin Duberman. 2018, 272pp, U. of Cal Press, $17

The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone. Olivia Laing. 2016, 336pp, Picador, $13

And the Band Played On. Randy Shilts. 1988, 656pp, St. Martin's Griffin, $13


Born to Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey. Mark Dery. 2018, 512pp, Little Brown, $20

City Poet: The Life and Times of Frank O'Hara. Brad Gooch. 1993, 576pp, Harper Perennial, $17


Shortest Way Home. Pete Buttigieg. 2019, 352pp, Liveright, $17
(NOTE: We will be discussing this book on June 5.)


The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard. Joe Brainard. 2012, 576pp, Library of America, $19

Illuminations. Arthur Rimbaud (John Ashbery, translator). 1874, 176pp, W.W. Norton, $14


The Inheritance. Matthew Lopez. 2019, 350pp, Faber & Faber, $20


Speak My Language, and Other Stories: An Anthology of Gay Fiction. Torsten Hojer, editor. 2015, 592pp, Constable & Robinson, $17