Longing to touch: more queer lit to read amid a pandemic
By Adam Zmith
These queerantine lit lists are building up. Here’s one bunch of reading recs from writers who have appeared at Fringe! and here’s another from Lori, one of our volunteers, focusing on trans/nb/womxn writers. And now here’s one from me, plus some friends and Twitter followers.
Words you can read online right now:
A gloriously erotic short story from Garth Greenwell, including an audio of the author reading it to you — the edging of desire, the longing for intimacy, all so human.
Have you heard of the poet Mary Jean Chan (left)? She’s won various prizes if you like that kind of thing. She’s one of the best queer poets at work today, and you can FOUR of her poems online right here. My friend Han especially loves Names.
Seeking Same is a story about queer love in the digital world by H.E. Casson, a library technician and writer. The story features a comment on how real feelings are made, and snot.
My friend Joel recommends this audio interview with the lesbian poet Mary Oliver, featuring some of her work read in her own voice. She’s the wise old queer owl we all deserve.
From my friend Hugh in New York comes the suggestion to listen to Walt Whitman reading from his poem America. It’s a super rare recording of Whitman (right). “I love it because to me I can hear the queer in his voice,” says Hugh, “and because the recording ends the poem two lines earlier, on love, which also feels like it gives it a queerness.”
Words you’ll have to order (or load up on your e-reader):
If you need a very long novel, I have to recommend A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. There’s a wonderful and slightly wanky debate about whether it’s a “queer book”. But it touched the spots of this little queer reader when two characters explored the boundaries of sexuality, sensuality and friendship — especially in the context of trauma.
Sticking with American writers, you can never go wrong with Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin (left). Yes, yes, it’s a gay classic that you always said you’d get round to reading. Now’s the time! (Thanks to Charlie for the rec. And to Baldwin for being the human I want to be.)
Another Fringe programmer, Seán McGovern recommends the erotic love story Ready to Catch Him Should He Fall by Neil Bartlett, which is pretty cheap on Kindle. Right now!
Tell me what you’re ready in lockdown @AdamZmith on Twitter.