Richard Hell, Author . Akashic $13.95 (141p) ISBN 978-1-888451-77-1

Poet and punk pioneer Hell's lyrically melancholy second novel (after Go Now ), set primarily in the East Village circa 1972, honors decadence and dissolution and celebrates art and angst in a compelling if unsettling story of 27-year-old married poet Paul Vaughn's ("I'm not really a faggot. I just have a queer streak") transcendent affair with a 16-year-old. Would-be poet Randall Terence Wode ("T") is "a rampaging adolescent" whose "bony boy's buttocks" become, for a brief time, the center of Vaughn's physical desire, and whose brash spirit is, for 30 years, the core of Vaughn's emotional universe. The novel's wrenching account of a memorable love, peppered with poems (some original, others by James Schuyler, Ron Padgett and others), skips between the months of the older poet's affair with the cocky young Kentucky runaway and, decades later, the month of Vaughn's most recent institutionalization for psychiatric observation. But Hell's prose, alternately explosive and tender but always charged with rewarding humanity, ably propels the story. By no means a mainstream effort, this gritty novel will find readers in the demimonde of poets and people who read them, and among those who appreciate how artistry and sexuality can fuel each other. (July)

Reviewed on: 05/16/2005
Release date: 07/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Discover what to read next