For anyone who will be attending the AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) conference in New York City later this week, I will be chairing a panel on Saturday, February 2 from noon to one fifteen on Gay Male Poetry Post Identity Politics, featuring “emerging” poets Christopher Hennessy (whose wonderful blog Outside the Lines focuses on the relationship of identity and creativity), Brad Richard, Aaron Smith (whose entertaining blog focuses on anything but poetry), and Brian Teare. Here is the description of the panel from the conference schedule, and the "statement of merit" from the panel proposal, both written by moi:
What does it mean to be a gay male poet today, after gay liberation, the somewhat domesticated gay rights movement, the revived radicalism of Queer Nation, the AIDS epidemic and ACT UP, and intellectual interrogations of “queerness” and identity itself? Contemporary gay male poets can take their gayness for granted on several levels. They also can explore, question, and even explode that identity. On this panel, four emerging gay male poets discuss what the words gay male poetry mean to them.
Despite the much greater social openness in the almost thirty years since gay liberation began, homosexuality is still a contentious topic in America, and gay writing is still a marginal presence in American literature. It’s important for writers to see not only that can one be an openly gay writer, but also that there is no set way in which to be a gay writer. This panel explores some of the things that gay poets have done with their new freedoms and their continuing constrictions.
I hope that all interested parties will attend. Let’s make this panel a party!