Saturday, April 28, 2012

Are You My Mother?

Alison Bechdel's sequel to her Fun House which we read almost five years ago is going to be published next week. Judith Thurman's profile in last week's The New Yorker might tempt readers who don't know her work to think of it as a pre-pub puff piece. Of course it's not. Highly recommended but not available online.

I enjoyed this little confusion/confession: "I started drawing at the age everyone does—when they pick up a crayon. But most people stop, and I didn't. When I was little, I either wanted to be a cartoonist or a psychiatrist—they were conflated in my mind by all the analyst cartoons in The New Yorker."

And speaking of which, the new title reminds me of the anecdote regarding W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman shortly after they'd met, when the two of them were sorting out who was who in the psychodynamics of their relationship.

Scene: a NYC subway car. Decibel level: must shout to be heard.

AUDEN: "I am not your father, I'm your mother!"
CHESTER: "You're not my mother! I'm your mother! … You're my father!"
AUDEN: "But you've got a father! I'm your bloody mother, darling, you've been looking for her since you were four [when she died]!"

Friday, April 27, 2012

how books will survive amazon

—Jason Epstein blogging on the NYR website.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Notable 2011-2012 Books

by African-American LGBT Authors — Toni Newman in the Huffington Post.

Assaracus — a Best New Magazine

according to the Library Journal

Friday, April 6, 2012

Adrienne Rich: 5/16/29 – 3/27/12

To take note of the recent death of the great lesbian poet Adrienne Rich,
here are two of her  "Twenty-One Love Poems"  (written 1974-6):

Your small hands, precisely equal to my own—
only the thumb is larger, longer—in these hands
I could trust the world, or in many hands like these,
handling power-tools or steering-wheel
or touching a human face… Such hands could turn
the unborn child rightways in the birth canal
or pilot the exploratory rescue-ship
through icebergs, or piece together
the fine, needle-like sherds of a great krater-cup
bearing on its sides
figures of ecstatic women striding
to the sibyl’s den or the Eleusinian cave—
such hands might carry out an unavoidable violence
with such restraint, with such a grasp
of the range and limits of violence
that violence ever after would be obsolete.

Can it be growing colder when I begin
to touch myself again, adhesions pull away?
When slowly the naked face turns from staring backward
and looks into the present,
the eye of winter, city, anger, poverty, and death
and the lips part and say: I mean to go on living?
Am I speaking coldly when I tell you in a dream
or in this poem, There are no miracles?
(I told you from the first I wanted daily life,
this island of Manhattan was island enough for me.)
If I could let you know—
two women together is a work
nothing in civilization has make simple,
two people together is a work
heroic in its ordinariness,
the slow-picked, halting traverse of a pitch
where the fiercest attention becomes routine
—look at the faces of those who have chosen it.