Category Archives: Books


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Different Light Bookstore and ADLBooks.Com
Different Light Bookstore opened it's doors in November 1979.  As
with all of the independent gay bookstores during that time, our stores
became meeting places to promote GLBT writers, as well as gathering
places for GLBT activists.  And our independent gay bookstores served us
well in working towards the equality we have achieved today and are
working for in the future.
As you
are aware, from surfing the net to reading the few newspapers
and magazines that are still in print, our gay community bookstores,
publishers and many other gay community small businesses are closing
their doors.  It is a fact that businesses are only as good as their
customer and vendor bases.  And as history as shown us, change is
It is
my belief that the GLBT community is the best read and highest achieving
groups of people anywhere in the world.  I also believe that in the
future when the digital revolution has settled down that community based
businesses will again serve as a place of social interaction that the
human condition needs so badly.
saying this, A Different Light Bookstore and "need your help and support" to
continue to be a presence in San Francisco and online for our
communities that we ship to all over the world.
every customer in our store and online who receive our new product
updates would commit to investing $10, $20 or more each month in
purchasing our products, that would be an enormous step in continuing to
preserve  this very important part of our community.
effect of this action is more then just keeping our
business operational, but it also trickles down to our vendors.  Equally
important, your support will help keep and create local jobs that are
so important to our community.
are two actions that I would like you to consider.  The most immediate
action is of course stopping by our store or signing onto our website
and buying a great book, gift, movie, magazine or DVD's.
more serious request, and one that I think would set a stage for
preserving GLBT literature for the future is that you might consider
buying 1-10 copies of each Queer Classic and "donating" it to a school, university, GLBT
Center Library, local libraries or any of your favorite organizations. 
In addition to our GLBT archives around the world, this would put our
literature in the hands of readers who might otherwise not have access
or are being censored.
are asking for your support.  We sincerely appreciate and are thankful
for our customers who visit and buy from us on a regular basis.
you for your consideration and taking the time to read this note.
Different Light Bookstore and ADLBooks.Com

Mr. Isherwood Changes Trains

Victor Marsh's new book, Mr Isherwood Changes
Christopher Isherwood and the search
Marsh Isherwood Cover for the ‘home-self"
been published by Clouds of Magellan in Australia and is now available at

In the fascinating book, Marsh interrogates the
assumptions and prejudices that have combined to disparage the sincerity of
Isherwood’s spiritual life. He delves into those features of Vedanta philosophy
that enabled Isherwood to integrate the various aspects of his
his vocation as a writer, and a spirituality not based on a repudiation of his
sexuality as a gay man.

Marsh interviewed Isherwood’s life partner, Don
(who produced the portrait of Isherwood used on the cover at the right) in the
Winter 2006-2007 issue of White Crane.

WC81 – Joel Anastasi’s The Second Coming

The Second Coming:
The Archangel Gabriel Proclaims a New Age

By Joel D. Anastasi
iUniverse, 340 pages.  $20.95.  ISBN 978-0-595-49405-7
Reviewed by Toby Johnson

the Christian, long-anticipated “Second Coming of Christ” really refers
to is not a return of a bodily Jesus descending through the clouds as
portrayed in the myth, but rather the awakening of the soul in all of
humanity so humankind realizes and experiences the “Christ within,”
that is, that we are all incarnations of God.  This is, indeed, one of
the central themes in contemporary, post-Christian, post-mythological,
and (in the very best sense) New Age spiritual thought.

“You are
God. The container you’ve chosen has chosen one fragmentary aspect of
God to experience, one speck in the cosmos, one cell in the universe…
allowing God to experience itself in its infinite complexity.”
is how this wisdom is expressed by the Archangel Gabriel, speaking
through a trance channel, in Joel D. Anastasi’s fascinating and
thought-provoking The Second Coming: The Archangel Gabriel Proclaims a
New Age

Anastasi is a trained journalist, news reporter and former
magazine editor who applied his professional skills to interview the
entity that is channeled by Reiki Master, counselor and healing
practitioner Robert Baker. Baker has a website about his practice at

Part of the experience of reading the book is
understanding just what channeling is and how its productions are to be
evaluated. Certainly what is now called “trance channeling” is a
parallel phenomenon to what in Biblical times was called “prophecy” and
in Christian and Muslim tradition is called “revelation.” Through a
human being—especially a human being who has trained him or herself in
meditation practice to allow personal ego to quiet and a deeper voice
from within to speak—trans-human wisdom and information is articulated
as though it were coming from an external personal entity.

Since the
central theme mentioned above holds that God is within each person,
then the entity that speaks from within is always that God. So
contemporary New Age spirituality naturally honors this particular
literary genre of channeled revelation as a manifestation of the
human/divinity unity. Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God
series, Jane Roberts’ Seth Speaks and Esther and Jerry Hicks’ Abraham
books, and in a slightly different way A Course in Miracles are other

Beyond the actual content of the revelation, what is
probably most important about the phenomenon is the meditation training
in quieting personal ego. And reading the productions and revelations
of trance channels are more important for how they train the reader in
such practice than in details they purport to reveal. That is to say,
at least in the understanding of this reviewer, the medium itself is
more important than the content. It’s the medium, the idea of
channeling itself, that reveals and demonstrates the central wisdom that all human beings are “fragmentary aspects of God.”

began studying with Robert Baker in 2002. He found the experience of
listening so profound and fascinating that he decided to write it down
and to organize and present the wisdom in the literary genre of modern
journalism: the interview. The style makes the material easier to
understand and less “ooo goo boo goo” mystical and more realistic and
down-to-earth. Indeed, since the interviews began in 2002, the
terrorist attack of 9/11 was still very vivid and so Gabriel naturally
comments on this watershed event in human history. As it happens,
Gabriel espouses the conspiracy theory that the World Trade towers were
imploded from within. That may or may not be actually so. My
proposition that the medium is more important than the content holds
that the value of the revelation is not dependent on the factuality of
what’s revealed. The Truth that Gabriel manifests through Robert Baker
wouldn’t be disproved by the evidence that there were no explosives in
the WTC any more than the mythological significance for Christianity of
the Resurrection would be invalidated by the discovery of Jesus’s
bones. The mythical, transcendent Truth stands beyond the metaphors
that are used to express it.

In The Second Coming that Truth is that
God is within us all. Reading the book is a fascinating reminder that
each of us should listen to our deepest selves.

I’m not sure what I
think about 9/11 Conspiracy Theory, though what it certainly true is
that contemporary human consciousness is permeated with conspiracy
theories, and these, at least, point to the reality of collective,
planetary consciousness. We all think something is going on beyond what
we all see; there’s a hidden dimension to human life.

Anastasi, an
openly gay man who occasionally mentions his partner and questions
Gabriel about gay issues, ends his introduction: “I began this journey
as a skeptic. The intuitive truth and rightness of Gabriel’s teachings
have found their way into my ‘deepest heart,’ my ‘deepest being.’ It is
my wish that Gabriel’s teachings find that place in you and that all
mankind may one day join in peace, love, and unity in this new
two-thousand-year age.”

In recommending this book to readers, I am
echoing that sentiment. We really are at the start of a “new age”; a
new religion, a new consciousness of what “God” means is being born in
our time. This book is a wonderful demonstration of that—and evidence,
I think, of how gay people are part of its unfolding.

Toby Johnson is a former publisher of White Crane and a contributing editor to the magazine. He lives in Austin, Texas.

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your friends who could use some wisdom!  If there's an article listed
above that was not excerpted online, copies of this issue are available
for purchase.  Contact us at



 This morning on NPR I heard an article about the closing of Lambda Rising, DC's oldest, exclusive GLBT bookstore. While I couldn't locate the segment online for this morning's session I did find this interview with All Things Considered from last Saturday. A lot of things ran through my head, well, the economy is sucking and small businesses are failing. Niche markets are hardest hit when disposable income suffers, and queer literature is indeed a niche market.

What hits me hardest though is the sentiment that "every mainstream bookstore has a GLBT literature section."

Though true, Borders and Barnes and Noble both have gay literature sections, they pale in comparison. A mainstream bookstore may carry at most 100-200 titles in a GLBT "section" usually at most five shelves versus 20,000 titles in a store like Lambda Rising. Thinking about the selection process alone and only the most highly rated potential sales would even be chosen for that select shelf. Not to mention that most mainstream bookstores would include the erotica in there as well, thus taking up one of those five shelves with literary porn. Throw in biographies and histories and gay literature standards that are always selling (Jeanette Winterson, etc.) and you've got next to nothing left for new ideas, new fiction, theoretical works, subcultures… You only get what the mainstream bookseller thinks the gay consumer will buy, the lowest common denominator.

With the fading of indie bookstores and the move to the homogenous big box store what we get is a watering down of the breadth of gay culture. We become one small, carefully selected shelf in the vast body of popular literature.

This makes me wonder about monoculture.

When I was a child, I grew up in a small town with little to no ethnic diversity. People weren't German, Greek, Italian, Appalachian… We were all just white people. It didn't even occur to me that my family was of Irish descent until we got one of those family reunion ploys in the mail to get people to travel to Ireland. They must have sent every Riley in the country a mailer. Until I was about 18 years old, the only diversity I saw was on television.

Suffice it to say I didn't understand what being gay was until I was much older, and even then my perception of what it was colored my understanding of who I was. I didn't claim a gay identity until I was 21 or so. I didn't think I was one of the kinds of people I saw on television. I was different from them. It took me actually reading about gay people, going out to clubs, going to the GLBT community center and eventually finding the Radical Faeries before I could truly say that yes, I was gay and that it doesn't look like x, y or z. The kind of gay I am is not even in your alphabet. But it took years and years of learning and time and structure to form the identity I claim now. I had to learn the language, to navigate the wilds of subcultures to find the kinds of people who made sense to me.

I talk to a lot of people, many of them not much younger than I am, who say they're "post-gay" or don't identify as that kind of gay. They're something else, some kind of new-gay. Part of me wonders if they say this because they've grown up with an understanding of gay as some sort of homogenous identity. Perhaps much like I grew up just being generically a white person, these people have grown up with a definition of gay and they reject it because they recognize something more in themselves.

As we transition to a world where the breadth of gay identity is plowed under by mega-corporatizing influences, I suspect I'll hear more of this claim of a "post-gay" identity. Who we are needs the breadth of a library to explicate and understand the diversity of our lives, but our larger society run solely on profit incentive doesn't care about that. They only want to make money, they don't care who we are, where we came from or where we're going. They only care that we'll probably buy erotica. And we probably will.

WC80 – Review of Ed Madden’s Signals

RVU_Madden Signals By Ed Madden
The University of South Carolina Press
69 pages, $14.95
ISBN: 1570037507

Reviewed by Dan Vera

Ed Madden teaches English and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina.  He’s also a hell of a poet.  The publication of a book like Signals heralds great things for lovers of honest poetry that captures the lyrical beauty of life.  I spent a few hours reading this book, contempling the words and images.  I found them populating my mind.  I found a deep resonance to the questions I hold in my heart as a Gay man in the world and one deeply in love and partnered.

Along with his academic bona fides Madden serves as writer in residence at the Riverbanks Botanical Gardens in Columbia, South Carolina.  One sees evidence of this connection to the natural world in Madden’s work.  In poems like “Cabin Near Caesar’s Head” there is a gorgeous attention to the botanical splendor of the countryside.  Again and again one is — I don’t know what other word to use but — blessed by a precise litany of names — the luscious names of trees and flowers.  There is such great attention here and such care taken in creating miniature pictures in the mind.  I have to add that this collection is of importance for those grown thirsty for poems about the love of men, for Madden breaks the drought throughout this book. What’s most refreshing is the exercise doesn’t seem forced or premeditated.  Madden is writing plainly but with intention.
Signals has a number of poems that speak to the peculiar nature of the South’s ever-present racial history.  Others have done this.   But Madden is writing from his perspective as a gay man partnered with another.  This happens best in the poem “Confederates,” a poetic account of a day marching against South Carolina’s confederate-laced flag.  When a woman asks what the two white Gay men are doing at the march, the question has an immediate percussive ring that lays bare the joint allegiances Gay men and people of color should hold at this point in history.  It’s startling and affirming at the same time.  I can’t recall another poet writing of these things so effectively and convincingly.

Last October, after many years of being an admirer of his work, I had the good fortune to read with him at the Atlanta Queer Literary Festival.  Hearing him read from these poems is a memory I will long treasure.

Signals is the resulting book from Madden’s winning the 2008 South Carolina Poetry Book Prize.  It is the greatest gift South Carolina has given me.  The gift is yours for the taking.

Dan Vera is White Crane’s managing editor and a poet living in Washington, DC.

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your friends who could use some wisdom!  If there's an article listed
above that was not excerpted online, copies of this issue are available
for purchase.  Contact us at

Harold Norse

Harold Norse by Allen Ginsberg We received word that Harold Norse passed away on Monday. He was 92. 

The Beat Museum will be hosting a Memorial for Harold Norse on Sunday, July 12th, time TBA.

From the Beat Museum: "In 1951, Norse's talent was recognized by William Carlos Williams, who invited him to read at the Museum of Modern Art in early 1952. Williams remarked on Norse's ability to "use the direct image on its own," and became an important mentor to Harold. Williams would later call Norse "the best poet of his generation," a profound accolade considering Williams was mentor to such figures as Charles Olson, Denise Levertov, and Allen Ginsberg. Following the 1953 publication of his first book of poetry, The Undersea Mountain, which was reviewed in The New York Times and Poetry magazine, Norse left America for Italy.

"In 1957, Norse was nearly deported from Italy when the Italian government deemed his poem "Victor Emmanuel Monument (Rome)," political fodder for the Communists.

"Norse moved to Paris in 1960, on a tip from Williams and, at the Beat Hotel, met Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, and others, drawn by their interest in Buddhist meditation, which Norse had recently taken up. Using the cut-up technique devised by Gysin and Burroughs, Norse wrote his experimental novel, Beat Hotel. Originally titled Sniffing Keyholes, the first chapter—which he describes as "a sex/dope scene between a muscular black youth called Melo and a blond Russian princess called Z.Z."— made even the often stoic Burroughs laugh. During his time at the Beat Hotel, Norse began creating his 'random paintings' or Cosmographs (using the hotel's bidet).

"Norse returned to America in 1969 and, with Carnivorous Saint: Gay Poems 1941-1976, became a leading gay liberation poet. For the last 35 years he lived in San Francisco’s Mission District."

Friends have created a memorial website But apparently the bandwidth has been exceeded and you may have difficulty reaching the site.

National Award for Arts Writing Winners

Kim Roberts, a frequent contributor and reviewer of books for White Crane, sent us this notice of two new books that have received laurels:

The Arts Club of Washington has announced the winners of the third annual National Award for Arts Writing. The $15,000 Award, although relatively new, has one of the largest purses of any annual book award in the U.S., and is the only award for non-fiction books on the arts for a general audience.

Winners must be living American authors, and books must be published in the U.S. in the previous year.  The award honors and encourages excellence in writing (“prose that is lucid, luminous, clear and inspiring”) and can be on any artistic discipline. Considering how jargon-laden much arts writing has become in recent years (particularly writing about the visual and literary arts), this emphasis on a general, rather than specialist, audience is refreshing. The award goes to books that help readers build a strong connection with arts and artists.

For the first time in the Award’s history, there are two winners, and the books make a fascinating study in contrasts.  The winners are:

Michael Sragow, for
Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master (Pantheon Books)
Brenda Wineapple, for
White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson & Thomas Wentworth Higginson (Knopf)

Victor Fleming by Michael Sragow Fleming was the movie director best known for Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz, and Sragow’s book is the first full-length Sragow  biography of this fascinating man. Some of the strongest writing in the book describes how Fleming developed screen personas for such leading men as Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, and Gary Cooper, often based on his own experiences. Sragow argues that Fleming developed characters of idealized American masculinity, creating a new definition for a “strong, silent type” who was forceful, charismatic, and vigorous. 

He writes, “The stars he helped create have never stopped hovering over the heads of Hollywood actors, who still try to emulate their careers, or of American men in general, who still try to live up to their examples. The director’s combination of gritty nobility and erotic frankness and his ability to mix action and rumination helped mint a new composite image for the American male. Fleming’s big-screen alter egos melded nineteenth-century beliefs in individual strength and family with twentieth-century appetites for sex, speed, and inner and outer exploration. His heroes were unpretentious, direct, and honest, though not sloppily self-revealing.”

BrendaWIneapple_by_Joyce_Ravid[1] WhiteHeatCover Wineapple’s book, in contrast, captures something of Emily Dickinson’s elusive spirit, as she initiated and sustained a friendship with Thomas Wentworth Higginson, her long-time confidant. Wineapple argues that Dickinson cannily sensed that he would be a sympathetic reader, because Higginson, a former pastor who frequently wrote for The Atlantic Monthly, was also outspoken on issues of abolition of slavery and women’s rights. She was also befriending the man who would later make the posthumous publication of her poems possible.

On the selection of the two winners, judge David Kipen says, “The idea of the passionate but chaste Emily Dickinson on a blind date with Byronic, swashbuckling Victor Fleming, if only for one night, encompasses precisely the breadth of inspiration that these awards exist to honor.”

The Arts Club of Washington will begin accepting books published in 2009 in June for consideration for the next award. There is no entry fee. Publishers, agents, or authors may submit books; three copies of each book and the official entry form are required. The deadline for the next award is October 1, 2009.  Full guidelines and entry forms may be found at:

Kim Roberts is the administrator for the National Award for Arts Writing.  She previously wrote about Emily Dickinson’s Herbarium for White Crane (Issue #73).

Every Elder Lost is a Library Lost…

Teal G. Donn Teal, one of the founders of the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) organization in late 1969, died February 3, 2009 after a long illness. He was 76 years old.


On February 23rd 1969, his pro-Gay New York Times article, "Why Can't 'We' Love Happily Ever After, Too?" appeared: a protest against the "doomed misfit/sinner" stereotype of American Gay men and lesbians in film, on stage, and in literature. The article provoked great response, and was followed on June 1st by "Why Record Homosexual Anguish?", a Times review of A&M Records' original-cast recording of Mart Crowley's play "The Boys in the Band."

More importantly, he wrote the first history of the Gay liberation movement, "The Gay Militants" (Stein & The Militant Homosexual Day, 1971; St. Martin's Press, 1995), as well as articles in The Advocate, Ovation, Musical America, and other magazine and newspapers, notably the Village Voice, in which appeared "Straight Father, Gay Son: A Memoir of Reconciliation" on June 26, 1978; the article was later republished under Mr. Teal's nom de plume, Roger Forsythe, in Ralph Keyes' 1992 collection for HarperCollins, Sons on Fathers.

Historian David Carter adds: Donn's closest friends, Trumbull Rogers and Randy Wicker, the early homophile movement militant, asked me to make the above material available to the media. I volunteered to use whatever media was available when they remarked to me that he and Randy would arrange a memorial service for Donn "although only seven people will show up."  

I volunteered to do this, because I regard Teal's book, The Gay Militants, as one of the most important works of LGBT history and I did not want Donn's passing to be noted by only a handful of people. As the author of The Stonewall Riots I have always said that the Stonewall Riots are important only because they gave birth to the Gay liberation movement, just as the fall of the Bastille is important because it led to the French Revolution. If that book was about the spark that set things off, then Donn's was about something immeasurably more important: the revolution itself. And a damn fine history it was, written by Donn, who went to all the meetings he reported about in the book, allowing the book to be both highly accurate, have a wealth of detail and be told with an immediacy that makes it gripping to read. Unfortunately the book has been rather forgotten except by scholars. Anyone who has an interest in Gay history should — no…rather he or she must read this book.


Donn was one of the co-founders of the Gay Activist Alliance (GAA), the organization that was the main exemplar of that revolution, and, unfortunately today too many people have forgotten about GAA, Donn was so modest that not many people ever thought of him as a founder of GAA, but he was one of the original 13 wo started it in December of 1969. 


Let us remember, then, that this is year is not only the 40th anniversary of the birth of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and of the Gay Activist Alliance and hence of the Gay liberation movement, that critical phase of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender civil rights movement that put us on the map for all time. 


Donn Teal was born in Columbus, Ohio.


Also: The Oscar Wilde Bookstore has announced that, under the strains of the current economy, it is closing its doors. The Oscar Wilde Bookstore first opened in 1967. OscarWildeoutside

Jesse’s Journal — In Praise of Books

I recently saw Mark Doty accept the National Book Award in Poetry for his book Fire to Fire: New and Collected Poems (Harper Collins).  During his acceptance speech Doty thanked his husband Paul; they Doty Fire to Fire were recently married in Massachusetts. Like Augusten Burroughs’s memoirs, and David Sedaris’s humor, Mark Doty’s poetry appeals to all readers regardless of sexual orientation. Needless to say, it is a great distinction for an out Gay poet to be honored, not as an "American Gay poet," but as an American poet, period. Doty’s honor was well-deserved. (He is, by the way, also the judge for the 2008 White Crane James White Poetry Prize, the winner of which will be announced in the spring issue of White Crane.)
Doty and dog Doty’s NBA acceptance speech was one of the most inspirational I have seen or heard in quite a while. Unfortunately, I had to go to the National Book Awards Web sit to see and hear Doty’s acceptance speech, and those of the other NBA winners. That is because, unlike awards ceremonies honoring movies, recorded music, television or theater, literary awards are never televised, except perhaps on C-SPAN (which, as the saying goes, “nobody watches”). The fact that literary awards are almost never televised is an indication of literature’s low standing in modern American society, gay or straight. While the major networks know that broadcasting the Oscars, the Grammys, the Emmys or the Tonys will win them large audiences, televising the National Book Awards would almost certainly be a ratings disaster and, even worse, drive away the advertisers.
There was a time, before recorded music, movies, radio and television, when literature was our culture’s most popular art form. Great writers like Voltaire, Goethe, Scott, Byron, Hugo, Dickens, Zola, Tolstoy and Mark Twain were celebrities in their own right, and their lives and loves enthralled the public the way that the antics of Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan do today. Today, of course, we have a wide variety of media to give books and their authors stiff competition.  Books have to compete with movies, television and recorded music for the public’s time, money and interest, and books generally lose. Only a few writers dominate bestseller lists and make fortunes from their works. J. K. Rowling (Harry Potter), Stephenie Meyer (Twilight), TV preacher and homophobe Rick Warren (The Purpose Driven Life) and, of course, Barack Obama are just four names in an all-too short list of popular and successful writers.
Xie - the MOMA Library 46-50 - oil on canvas For generations of Gay men, Lesbian women, bisexuals and transgender people, books were an important part of the coming out process. Books like Malcolm Boyd's Take Off the Masks, Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness, Donald Webster Cory's The Homosexual In America, Christine Jorgensen’s Personal Autobiography, Rita Mae Brown's Rubyfruit Jungle or Patricia Nell Warren's The Front Runner, helped many of us come to terms with our own sexual or gender identity. 
Sadly, interest in books and writers is not what it used to be, not even in the GLBT community. For many years GLBT bookstores served as de facto community centers. Today, there is only one GLBT bookstore left in Florida, Lambda Passages in Miami. Wilton Manors, Florida’s leading “gayborhood,” has many types of stores on Wilton Drive, but no book store. And while book reviews are still a major part of such publications as White Crane, the Lambda Book Report, the Gay & Lesbian Review and the online Books to Watch Out For, most mainstream GLBT publications have dropped their book columns altogether for lack of interest. (Most mainstream journals, Gay or straight, have done the same.)
At their best, books are an important part of our lives: they educate us, they entertain us, they enlighten us, they inspire us. Unlike most media, books do not require expensive equipment (unless you consider reading glasses to be “equipment”). Long before other media deigned to notice us, books spoke to us and about our lives as GLBT people. And books will continue to do so (I hope) when the other media are long gone. So I urge you to support good Gay books, writers, literary journals, book stores and book clubs, for they give us so much in return.
Jesse Monteagudo is a South-Florida based freelance writer and Gay book buff.  Write him and express your views at