Friday, May 24, 2019

Book Review: 'Lovejets: Queer Male Poets on 200 Years of Walt Whitman' (Edited by Raymond Luczak)

Lovejets by Raymond Luczak

A worthy homage

Raymond Luczak is a deaf, gay writer whose poetry transcends most standard boundaries to become something completely unique. In an interview Luczak stated `My deafness wasn't diagnosed until I was two and half years old. I had a hearing aid and speech therapy. I didn't learn sign language until I was 15, [and] it was Signing Exact English (SEE). I didn't know there was Deaf culture. I began to write daily after my grandmother died, so I've been at it for over 30 years. Writing was my refuge when no one in my mainstream classes wanted to interact with me.'

Now Raymond continues his thoughts first stated in his book of poetry – THE KISS OF WALT WHITMAN STILL ON MY LIPS – in serving as an editor for eighty highly respected poets writing about Whitman. His description of the content is well stated – ‘Walt Whitman, author of Leaves of Grass, was born in 1819. The Stonewall riots happened 150 years later. On the bicentennial of Whitman's birth and the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, over 80 poets pay homage to not only Walt Whitman, but also to queer poets and queer poetry and the vast and various events, revolutions public and private, that have shaken our world since 1819: who we are, where we are, where we have been, and where we might be going in the 21st century.’

This is an important and meaningful survey of the influence of master poet Walt Whitman whose significance to the world of literature and to the cause of gay rights continues to flourish. This is a fine anthology. 

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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