This is a piece I wrote for The Advocate about teaching my Queer Literature and Theory course. Glad that it’s in the world.
I published a review of Jason K. Friedman’s short story collection, Fire Year, this week at the LARB. Enjoy.
Dispatches from a high school Queer Literature and Theory course. A.k.a. what I’m up to currently. Enjoy.
I am excited that I will be reading from He Will Laugh and on a poetry panel at this year’s Tennessee Williams / New Orleans Literary Festival. The Festival is March 19-23 and has a star-studded lineup. My panel / reading will be on Saturday, March 22. The festival program will be released soon with more details. Looking forward to food, drink, poetry, and Williams!
You’ve got more time!
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
Sibling Rivalry Press seeks poetry and creative nonfiction submissions for The Queer South, an anthology scheduled for publication in September 2014. The anthology, edited by Douglas Ray, will be the first-ever to explore and celebrate Dixie’s queer culture in essays and poetry. Whether your roots are in the South, you spent some time there, you had an unforgettable encounter at a Mardi Gras ball in the Reagan Era, or you staged an impromptu drag show in Talladega after a NASCAR race, your submissions are welcome. This anthology will build on the shoulders of Capote, McCullers, and Williams (among others) and show that queer culture has, does, and will flourish in the red states south of the Mason-Dixon.
Submit up to four previously unpublished poems or one essay of no more than 5000 words at thequeersouth.submittable.com.
Author should identify as LGBTIQ. Poems / essays should have some relationship to the American South. Payment will be in the form of a contributor’s copy. Direct questions to email@example.com. The submission period ends June 15, 2013. The submission period ends July 31st, with decisions for inclusion made by or before early September.
ABOUT THE EDITOR
A native Mississippian, Douglas Ray is author of He Will Laugh (Lethe Press, 2012), which explores the relationship of two young men from first meeting to the aftermath of one man’s suicide. A former Lambda Literary Foundation Poetry Fellow, he earned his B.A. in classics and English and M.F.A. in poetry from The University of Mississippi, where he edited The Yalobusha Review. He is Writer-in-Residence at Indian Springs School, an independent boarding and day school in Birmingham, Alabama. Visit him at sdouglasray.com.
ABOUT THE PRESS
Founded in 2010, Sibling Rivalry Press is an independent publishing house based just outside of Little Rock, Arkansas, in the small town of Alexander. Our mission is to promote new, emerging, and established literary talent, particularly those writers who don’t fit into the mainstream. Sibling Rivalry Press is proud to be the home of Assaracus, the world’s only print journal of gay male poetry and one of Library Journal‘s “Best New Magazines.” Several Sibling Rivalry Press titles have been honored by the American Library Association through its “Over the Rainbow” list of recommended LGBT reading, including Ocean Vuong’s Burnings, Kevin Simmonds’ Collective Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets and Faith, Religion & Spirituality, and Bryan Borland’s My Life as Adam. While we champion our LGBTIQ authors and artists, we are an inclusive publishing house and welcome all authors, artists, and readers regardless of sexual orientation or identity.
The Next Big Thing Interview
Thanks to the lovely Matthew Hittinger for tagging me for The Next Big Thing Interview series. Matthew’s big, beautiful book Skin Shift was released by Sibling Rivalry Press in 2012. He will be featured as part of Indian Springs School’s Visiting Writers Series on April 8th.
What is the title of your book?
Who is the publisher of your book?
Lethe Press published the book in 2012.
What genre does your book fall under?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
In a sequence of poems, He Will Laugh explores an intense relationship between two young men from their first meeting to the aftermath of one man’s suicide.
What inspired you to write this book/where did the idea for the book come from?
The idea for writing a book-length sequence of interconnected poems came from taking Ann Fisher-Wirth’s class on the North American Long Poem while in the M.F.A. program at Ole Miss. We had read Eliot’s Four Quartets, Crane’s The Bridge, Merwin’s The Folding Cliffs, Carson’s Autobiography of Red, amongst others as a class. And I had read Marilyn Hacker’s Love, Death, and the Changing of the Seasons independently. I thought it was interesting that book explored a lesbian relationship in traditional forms, primarily sonnets—a sort of subversive conservatism.
Also, at the start of the project, I was in a new relationship (the whole experience was relatively new for me, at 21) and wanted to write about that in poems.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? What are your influences for this book / what other books would you compare this book to within your genre?
I started writing the book in Spring 2008 and finished the book in January 2010. The project was dormant for a while, since I couldn’t see a real shape for making the sequence feel like a whole. But the rest of the book basically wrote itself after a suicide and the desire and need to write those poems.
The book is in conversation with any other that explores love, loss, and grief, thematically. It also contributes to the tradition of book-length sequences of poems.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Dear James Franco, please play me in a movie of these poems. Why not?
I don’t know who could possibly play Isaac! I think the world would need to be scoured for new, exciting, beautiful, dangerous talent.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
If you have any interest in Glen Gould, Federico Garcia Lorca, Mississippi, Handel’s Messiah, John Waters, Cher, Jack Spicer, Highway Patrolmen, James Baldwin, Paris, South Africa, “road head,” the Bible, etymology, sweat, Mama Cass Elliot, Barbara Bush, Ricky Martin, benzodiazepines, or harvest moons, this book’s for you.
My essay “Magnetic Genius” has been published in A Short Ride: Remembering Barry Hannah, which is a collection of 30+ essays celebrating America’s “short story master.” I am really impressed with the variety of essays; the book also includes interviews and photographs. It’s available from Nautilus publishing here.