Art & Sex in Greenwich Village: A Memoir of Gay Literary Life
Felice Picano, . . Carroll & Graf, $15.95 (265pp) ISBN 978-0-78671-813-9
Aprogenitor of the gay literary movement, as well as a poet, author and publisher, Picano recounts the creatively rich, landmark period during the 1970s and ’80s when the first dedicated gay presses arose in New York City. Focusing primarily on SeaHorse Press and the Gay Presses of New York, both founded or cofounded by Picano, he covers the two decades following the 1969 Stonewall riots, outlining how he (and others) fostered a GLBT literary tradition that continues today, with writers such as Edmund White, Andrew Holleran, Larry Kramer and, of course, Picano. Although evocative details thrust the reader immediately into the scene, there’s no larger narrative to anchor them. Dense with information, the book is weighed down by page after page of authors’ names, dates and titles of books, almost like a veteran’s memorial. Writing informally, Picano also has a tendency to digress and jump confusingly forward and back in time. This highly personal account of an important and often neglected area of gay history offers compelling material that makes a reader long for a more objective account. But until that book is written, this is the most complete document of the gay book publishing movement to date.
Reviewed on: 06/11/2007