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

What’s going on with Rod Dreher?

Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher, one-time resident bigot at The Dallas Morning News, now serves as director of publications for the conservative John Templeton Foundation — or at least he did the last time we checked.

Dreher is also editor of the foundation’s Big Questions Online website. But Instant Tea reader Kip Sherling points us to Dreher’s announcement Friday that he has stopped blogging (“I hope to be blogging again s0on,” Dreher writes) and halted all reader comments on BQO.

Here’s Sherling’s take, sent under the subject line, “Karma’s a bitch for master culture baiter Dreher”:

Rod Dreher, who earlier this year tried to wrap the lips of his anti-anything-not-Dreher blogging needs around the John Templeton Foundation’s bottomless nipple, appears to have been rudely weaned.

In the last several days, Templeton has deleted most of Dreher’s most politically and culturally contentious posts while suspending both Dreher’s personal blog as well as comments site-wide at his Big Questions Online.

The sulking tone with which Dreher announced this administrative punishment online underwrites what many suspect, that Dreher’s habitual just-about-anything-baiting style has put him close in line for promotion to becoming Templeton’s next ex-editor and the first failed editor of its online adventure BQO.

What mystifies many, though, is why a multi-million dollar tax exempt foundation, which depends for its tax-exempt status on at least the appearance of its political neutrality and tries to position itself as a salon of lofty, highly civilized ideas savored by the Nobel Committee and the Vatican alike, would not want as its very vocal public face a gutter gay-baiter from the Rupert Murdoch school of tainted meat journalism. Whatever happens, this final betrayal of what, to Dreher, must surely have seemed at first blush true institutional love forged in Heaven, may forever remain a mystery.

If Sherling is right, let’s just pray The DMN doesn’t take Dreher back. Any thoughts, Jack E. Jett?

—  John Wright