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Essex Hemphill (1957–1995)

Författare till Brother to Brother: New Writings by Black Gay Men

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One of the most important new voices on the gay literary scene, Hemphill has published poetry in several anthologies and essays in the gay press, most of which have been collected in his three books. The merits of his work have been rewarded with several fellowships, including one from the National visa mer Endowment for the Arts. Hemphill has also been involved in the production of three gay African American films: Looking for Langston, which is about Langston Hughes; Tongues Untied, a celebration of African American gay identity; and Out of the Shadows, an AIDS documentary. Hemphill says that his work has been informed by his efforts to "integrate all of my identities into a functioning self" and to "articulate and politicize my sexuality" (Ceremonies 53). As he makes clear, it is not easy to accomplish this in a racist and homophobic society. He deplores the racism that he finds in the gay community, in particular the sexual objectification of black men by white men, which he argues characterizes the art of the celebrated photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. He is equally critical of the sexism and homophobia of the African American community, which he believes informs the rhetoric of the key movement, Black Nationalism. But Hemphill also celebrates his sexual and racial identities, affirming his participation in both the gay and black communities even as he critiques them and American society at large, whose prejudices they sometimes share. (Bowker Author Biography) visa färre

Verk av Essex Hemphill

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Since I'm reading this as part of my New Year's Resolution to by-God read more books that are explicitly about race, I am specially noticing the parts I don't understand here. This is opaque to me; Hemphill's experience is so foreign that I am struggling to understand the emotional landscape here. Which is my flaw and not Hemphill's.

That said, I can judge the introduction: it's not very good. It's rambling, unorganized, and too long; it didn't add anything to my experience of reading the actual text, I think.

The combination of prose and poetry in the same volume was a struggle for me, although Hemphill can certainly write both. I liked the essays better than the poetry, by and large, but that is probably because I couldn't enter into the poems with the confidence I could the essays. "Voices" is a fabulous piece, the essay criticizing Mapplethorpe rocks, and "Ceremonies" is chilling in its description of the sexual culture in which Hemphill came to adulthood.
… (mer)
cricketbats | Mar 30, 2013 |


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