Of Rhyme and Reason: My Lyrics and Other Loves

The GLBTRT has been reviewing books and movies in its newsletter since the early 1990s. Trace the evolution of queer publishing through these historic reviews. This review was originally published in Vol. 3, No 3 & 4 Spring/Summer 1991. 

Cover of Of Rhyme and ReasonOf Rhyme and Reason: My Lyrics and Other Loves. By Bernard Spiro. Strawberry Hill Press, 1990. Paper. $9.95 (ISBN 89407-103-3).

As Bernard Spiro tells us in his introduction to this book, he had all this paper collected from his career as a musical comedy lyricist, and needed to get it organized. What better way than to publish a collection of his lyrics? And since his literary agent told him that books by lesser-known authors won’t sell unless there is sex or violence in them, he intersperses his book with autobiographical snippets illuminating his coming to terms with his homosexuality.

The unconventional coupling of unrelated topics might work occasionally — but not with this book. Spiro wrote lyrics for any number of forgotten shows, none of which were particularly memorable. And his writing of his life as a husband and father and latecomer to a gay sensibility, although sincere, meanders from one clump of cliches to another, with no apparent goal in sight. Equally apparent is that there was no editor in sight, either.

One senses that there was not enough material for two books, and so this one was spliced together with whatever was available. The result is unfortunate. Not recommended.

Jim McPeak
Lepper Public Library
Lisbon, Ohio

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