BLACK GAY MAN

Robert Reid-Pharr, Author, Samuel Delany, Author, Samuel R. Delany, Foreword by . New York Univ. $16.95 (214p) ISBN 978-0-8147-7503-5

"If there is one thing that marks us as queer... it is undoubtedly our relationship to the body," writes Reid-Pharr in this startling and provocative collection of essays detailing his intellectual (and erotic) life as a black, gay man living in a racist, heterosexual, postmodern world. Covering a wide range of topics—black anti-Semitism, the Million Man March, interracial sex, the black family, gay male identity and lesbianism—Reid-Pharr presents a cogent analysis that combines the personal with the political, the intellectual with the emotional and the erotic. Several essays gracefully unite literary and social concerns—as when he uses the works of Frantz Fanon, George Jackson's letters from prison and the poems of Phyllis Wheatley to explicate the political position of black women in the nuclear family. Meanwhile, Reid-Pharr can be equally insightful and poetic when describing the meanings of his own sexual adventures with white men. An associate professor of English at Johns Hopkins, he demonstrates his training in literature in lengthy discussions of such works as Piri Thomas's Down These Mean Streets, Eldridge Cleaver's Soul on Ice, James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room and the posthumously published poetry of Gary Fisher. But the vitality and importance of this collection resides in Reid-Pharr's ability to move these works—and their themes—from the limited analysis of the academy into a broader realm of lived experience and social context that makes them, as well as Reid-Pharr's own thoughts, vital and genuinely consequential. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/25/2001
Release date: 04/01/2001
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Hardcover - 195 pages - 978-0-8147-7502-8
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