In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic

Marie Howe, Editor, Michael Klein, Editor
Marie Howe, Editor, Michael Klein, Editor Persea Books $14.95 (219p) ISBN 978-0-89255-208-5
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
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``We wanted to collect writing that was smart, funny, reflective, angry, and immediate,'' says Howe (editor of Poets for Life) in his introduction. Thanks to this broad perspective, the editors have successfully pulled together many voices and viewpoints into a balanced and accomplished collection that includes unknown and often unidentified writers along with Mark Doty, Paul Monette and Harold Brodkey. The late Iris de la Cruz, a former prostitute, drug user and emergency medical technician, writes plainly and openly about her past and about feeling ``like I was the only woman in the world with AIDS. It was all gay white men.'' Christine Boose tells how her best friend from high school discovered she was HIV-positive when she got pregnant, then killed herself. One of several anonymous contributors, a 21-year-old college student, ruminates on why she continues to have unsafe sex, while another anonymous contributor mourns the passing of her drug-addicted daughter, ``her girl-child ravaged and addicted and hunted down like an animal.'' Denise Ribble relates a bizarre incident from New York City's Community Health Project: a woman calls and asks whether she's at risk because she's a lesbian vampire who consumes the menstrual blood of other women. ``If I'm really a vampire, I don't have anything to worry about because I'm immortal. But if I'm just a fucked-up woman who drinks other women's blood, I'm at risk aren't I?'' Some of this writing is very intense, some is more reflective, but all of it contributes to creating an effective whole. (July)
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