Gay poets to be featured at SMU Lit Fest

Rick Barot and C. Dale Young have been announced as two of the eight writers scheduled for the SMU Literary Festival 2011.  The event will be held March 24–26 on the school’s campus.

Barot’s last book, 2009′s Want, was a collection of poetry Lambda Literary reviewer Brent Calderwood described as an “impressive collection.” And the excerpt he includes in the review is also kinda hot.

In “Theories of the Invisible,” Barot collages pithy, lush observations about art with the fleshly beauty of a man with whom the speaker shared a summer house. In pondering the nipple of a Greek sculpture, Barot notes the “deliberate / chiseling accorded even to the brailled / texture surrounding the stiff eraser-like tip” as well as “the prerogative no of the youth something I can only imagine, / no worked into the cold sinew, the utterly / soft cock.” In this way, Barot intimates that the speaker’s adoration for his summer housemate was also unrequited.

Young’s Torn is slated for a Spring release and perhaps right in time for the festival. He was a finalist for the 2007 Lambda Literary Award in poetry. And if that’s not enough, the guy is also a practicing physician and educator. He recently posted on his blog that Lambda Literary listed Torn as one of the “23 Highly Anticipated Books of 2011.”

The book is described on his site as an “earnest investigations into the human, depicted as both spiritual being and a process, as “the soul and its attendant concerns” and as a device that “requires charge, small / electrical impulses / racing through our bodies.” What Young tells and shows us, what his poems let us hear, does not aim to reassure or soothe. These are poems written from “white and yellow scraps / covered with words and words and more words— // I may never find the right words to describe this.”

Now you know.

—  Rich Lopez

‘Born this Way’ photo essay blog is charming as hell — and has nothing to do with Lady Gaga

Thanks to Brad over at Gilley’s for tipping me off to this (albeit inadvertently through Facebook). He linked to this new photo essay/blog titled Born This Way. In it are images submitted by people who, in hindsight, can see the gay coming in their childhood photos. By the looks of it, the first post was published on Sunday, and already there’s a pretty impressive collection.

Born This Way is Paul V.’s project (and yes, Gaga’s next album title). Paul V. is a DJ based in Los Angeles, but I’m really hoping he sticks to this project. There’s such a heart to the pictures that makes it so super charming and even funny — but in a good way because you’ll likely relate to it.

Paul V. was inspired, if you will, by the recent teen suicides as well as the political movement and rhetoric around Prop 8 and DADT. Initially he thought his idea would be great as a book, but after sitting on it for a while, he told me he just wanted to get it out there. And it’s caught on — like wildfire. “I’m a little inundated but it’s great,” he said. “The first photo (above) was from a MySpace friend. I just thought if any pic ever proved that we feel what we feel and it comes through, this was it. I was heartbroken by the suicides and if  young people find this blog and realize there have been gay kids forever, they see they aren’t alone.”

—  Rich Lopez