Contemporary Gay American Poets and Playwrights

An A-to-Z Guide

by Emmanuel S. Nelson, ed.


Alphabetically arranged entries discuss the lives, works, themes, and critical reception of 62 contemporary gay American poets and playwrights.

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Cover image for Contemporary Gay American Poets and Playwrights

June 2003


Pages 496
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Gay & Lesbian Studies/General

Gay presence is nothing new to American verse and theater. Homoerotic themes are discernible in American poetry as early as the 19th century, and identifiably gay characters appeared on the American stage more than 70 years ago. But aside from a few notable exceptions, gay artists of earlier generations felt compelled to avoid sexual candor in their writings. Conversely, most contemporary gay poets and playwrights are free from such constraints and have created a remarkable body of work. This reference is a guide to their creative achievements. Alphabetically arranged entries present 62 contemporary gay American poets and dramatists.

While the majority of included writers are younger artists who came of age in the post-Stonewall U.S., some are older authors whose work has continued or persisted into recent decades. A number of these writers are well known, including Edward Albee, Harvey Fierstein, and Allen Ginsberg. Others, such as Alan Bowne, Timothy Liu, and Robert O'Hara, merit wider recognition. Each entry is written by an expert contributor and includes a biography, a discussion of major works and themes, an overview of the author's critical reception, and primary and secondary bibliographies.



Reference departments interested in contemporary literature will want this book....Recommended. All collections.—Choice

[c]olleges across the country teach gay literature as a specific subject, and all libraries need a good trail blazer in this field. Scholarly in nature but accessible in style, Nelson's work serves its purpose well....All in all, a unique reference worthy of purchase.—Library Journal

Emmanuel S. Nelson should be commended.—Lambda Book Report

Large academic libraries, large public libraries, and gay student departments will want to purchase.—Reference & User Services Quarterly

This volume merits the same recognition that RBB gave to Nelson's 1993 guide to novelists: Nelson has done an excellent job in editing this book...which should be a welcome addition in all research libraries as well as other libraries where there is an interest in gay and lesbian culture. Many of these writers are not included in standard general literary reference sources, so this compilation's biographical, critical, thematic, and especially bibliographic information will be very helpful to students and scholars.—Booklist/RBB

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