High Risk 2: Writings on Sex, Death, and Subversion

Amy Scholder, Author, IRA Silverberg, Editor Plume Books $10.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-452-27018-3
In 1991, the editors first collection of ``Forbidden Writing'' answered the cultural right's repressive ideology with works about sexual violence and bondage. Now, when fringe writing is under pressure not so much from politics as from conventionalism, High Risk 2 offers stories, essays and poems more remarkable for sadness than for anger. These are mostly about death, real or metaphorical. In Rebecca Brown's lovely ``Grief,'' a woman's death is fantasized as an airplane journey by friends, who dress to meet her at the airport day after day. In ``Best-Seller,'' Michael Blumlein expertly documents the spiritual morbidity of a writer forced to sell his body parts just to survive. The chant-like poems of Diamanda Galas propose ``prayer . . . not for miracles, and not for heaven. Just for silence and for mercy until the end.'' The uneven literary caliber of these selections, ranging from Patrick McGrath's splendid meditation to Stephen Beachy's hyperactive indulgence, is a disappointment, but the collective force lends credence to even the rawest voices. Of special merit are Darryl Pinckney's ``Throwing Shade,'' whose street-talking narrator offers delicate wisdom, and Craig G. Harris's wrenching essay about his own decline from AIDS. Some of these pieces will break readers' hearts, others will patch them with real artistry. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/04/1994
Release date: 07/01/1994
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