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Issues Archives: Thiry Years of HIV, Part I

March – April, 2011

Wandering Soul: The Dybbuk’s Creator, S. Ansky by Gabriella Safran

A Life on the Boarder

IN WANDERING SOUL, Gabriella Safran has written an erudite biography of the Yiddish radical, Russian revolutionary, writer, ethnographer, and playwright S. Ansky (or An-sky), who’s best remembered for his haunting play, The Dybbuk: Between Two Worlds. Drawing from Ansky’s own writings, Safran, who teaches Slavic literature at Stanford, depicts Ansky as a person of multiple identities …

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All The Kings Men: Beyond Drag Kingdom

All the King’s Men are Katie Allen, Julee Antonellis, Leighsa Burgin, Jill Gibson, Maria Kogan, and Karin Webb. I interviewed them in person late last year.

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AIDS Posters on the March

The following text is drawn from the catalog for an art exhibit called Graphic Intervention: 25 Years of International AIDS Awareness Posters: 1985–2010, which ran at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston last fall. The international poster collection of James Lapides formed the basis for the exhibit; several of the 153 posters that were on display are shown here.

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Annabel by Kathleen Winter

Gender Breaking

ON THE MORNING that Wayne Blake entered the world, the midwife, Thomasina Baikie, did what came naturally: she checked to see if the baby was male or female, and was shocked to discover that the baby appeared to be both.

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Two Poets of Witness

WHEN Carolyn Forché released her groundbreaking anthology Against Forgetting: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness, she did not include poems from the struggle for gay rights. The anthology was published in 1993, a bleak point in the history of the gay community due to the impact of AIDS on gay men and on the arts community. But, as readers today, we can easily situate AIDS poets in the panoply of poets of witness—those who write poetry that transcends the purely personal or the purely political and operates at their intersection. This is a type of poetry that exists in a space of resistance and re-orients points of view toward new ways of seeing and speaking. As a critical lens for understanding the cultural impact of poetry, Forché establishes an especially fruitful way of seeing poetry responding to AIDS.

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Dunstan Thompson: On the Life and Work of a Lost American Master Edited by D. A. Powell and Kevin Prufer

Love Poems of WWII

Dunstan Thompson: On the Life and Work of a Lost American Master collects a number of poems from [his] early books, along with a selection from Thompson’s later, posthumously published works, to yield a folio of over forty pages of his poetry. 

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The Epidemic That Barely Was

I STARTED TEACHING courses on hiv/aids literature to undergraduates after spending more than five years researching the subject for my doctorate. The period in which I initially sought out and devoured any and all types of “AIDS literature” was uneven enough. During my first year as a graduate student, 1990–91, it felt like a narrowly delimited topic with a few score works of creative literature in all genres, and just a handful with substantial literary interest.

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Short Reviews

Reviews of Derek Jarman’s Angelic Conversations, Gay Shame, Ballets Russes Style:  Diaghilev’s Dancers and Paris Fashion, and Mustn’t Do It.

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From Russia with Inspiration

HOW DOES one tell the story of Sergey Pavlovich Diaghilev, the impresario whose artistic accomplishments over three decades beginning at the turn of the 20th century seem to surpass what is humanly possible? How did this homosexual Russian émigré who spent the majority of his life exiled in Europe do it?

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The Flamboyant Life and Forbidden Art of George Quaintance by Reed Massengill

Artist Aroused

FEW ARTISTS, even those of great fame or historical importance, receive such magnificent treatment in a published monograph as George Quaintance (1902-1957), painter of beefcake images from the 1940’s and 50’s, receives in this volume. Known mostly to bodybuilders and physical culture fans of those decades and to legions of gay men of the pre-Stonewall years who were starving for images of hot men, Quaintance’s paintings graced the covers of many now-classic physique magazines. …

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