I’m from a generation when librarians raised a disapproving finger to their lips to shush even the quietest whispers. So it felt odd (but liberating) to sit with a group of some fifty people in the Amsterdam Public Library and be encouraged – by a teacher, no less – to raise our voices in a resounding chant. “Gender is like a banana! Gender is like a banana!” Continue reading
Month: January 2013
Queer Street and the Occasional Poet
The auditorium is nearly full on a Friday afternoon as University of Amsterdam Pride kicks off its 2013 lecture series. The topic is the “unassuming word” queer, and its various conceptualizations and criticisms. It’s a long time since I was a student, and I’m unfamiliar with the latest academic jargon. I hope hegemony doesn’t pop up. I can never remember what that means. Likewise efficacy, post-structuralist and heteronormative. Almost immediately I’m in trouble.
As associate professor of Comparative Literature Murat Aydemir begins his talk, I feel myself sink beneath “another discursive horizon” (de Laurentis, 1991). I’m sitting too far from the exit to slink out unnoticed but I remember how to take notes, even if I don’t know what they mean. I smile and relax when the professor gets lost in one of his own sentences, and suddenly the fog begins to lift. I’m actually following the discussion. Continue reading
Flowers and a Single Man
Early in 2012 author Edmund White was asked by The Browser to select five gay novels with beautiful writing. His top two choices: Jean Genet’s Our Lady of the Flowers and A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood. He praised Genet for his sumptuous poetic style, Isherwood for his chaste simplicity. Polar opposites, some might say. And yet, true to my contrary nature, I find a certain confluence. Continue reading
New Year, New Blog
Happy New Year! Happy New Blog!
As another year rolls around, some look back and some look forward. I’m doing a bit of both simply by beginning this project. I’m not sure how it will develop but as exciting as most of 2012 turned out to be, I woke up today with a good feeling about 2013. Permit me a brief glance back to late October and two brief defining moments. Continue reading