High Risk: An Anthology of Forbidden Writings

Amy Scholder, Editor, Ira Silverberg, Editor Plume Books $14 (320p) ISBN 978-0-452-26582-0
According to the editors, this collection of essays, stories, poems and memoirs seeks to explore ``the otherness of the junkie, the homosexual, the sadomasochist, the criminal, the prostitute, the marginalized'' in the hope of ``exposing the society in which we live.'' To mainstream society, however, much of the ``otherness'' of these testimonies is a given; as a result, this anthology simply presumes a cultural conflict that it refuses to elucidate, which can hardly be construed as risk-taking. The pieces themselves, with a few exceptions, are uninspired as either literary or ideological forays into the wilderness. William Burroughs offers a tired polemic in favor of drug decriminalization; Gary Indiana's story about gay encounters trods upon familiar fictive ground; and the coming-of-age stories and memoirs--by John Preston, Dorothy Allison and Jane Delynn--are proud paeans to homosexuality undermined by a plea for sympathy. Still, High Risk has its surprises: David Wojnarowicz's musical and dreamlike ``Being Queer in America''; Terence Sellers's bizarre tract ``Is There Life After Sadomasochism,'' in which Lord Byron, ``an out-of-work libertine,'' visits a ``viral'' Manhattan. Scholder is an editor with City Lights Books; Silverberg is a literary agent. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991
Release date: 03/01/1991
Hardcover - 275 pages - 978-0-525-24966-5
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