Book review: Between: New Gay Poetry, edited by Jameson Currier

between coverBetween: New Gay Poetry. Ed. by Jameson Currier. Chelsea Station Editions, 2013. $16.00. 130p. PB. 978-1937627119.

This new anthology of gay poetry brings together 60 gay male poets both new and old to discuss one thing: the often-complicated relationships that exist between men. The editor is the author of five novels and founder of Chelsea Station.

Most poems are short, and the direct, rhythmic style of most of them makes the collection flow quickly. I found myself at the end before I had even realized what had happened; I was kicking myself for not having read with a pen in hand so that I could underline my favorite passages.

Overall, the work in the collection is very strong. By proposing such a broad theme for this collection, Currier allows individual poets to pursue the subject matter in a way that is most meaningful for each of them. This leads to a great deal of variety of both content and style providing something for everyone. For instance, Stephen S. Mills in “Real Men Love Jesus” examines a relationship between a man, his boyfriend, the boyfriend’s fire-and-brimstone pastor father, and the random missionaries they run into in city life. The momentary infatuation with strangers is the focus in Benjamin S. Grossberg’s “At the Gym,” and the painfulness in the death of lovers is exposed in Kevin McLellan’s “Darkening” and Rangi McNeil’s “And Red to Gesture Where the Past Has Been.”

Each poet in this collection has a single poem, but the layout can be confusing. Although most author biographies are on the left page facing the poem on the right, bios for poets with longer poems appear in the bottom right. At first, I thought that some poets had multiple entries and found it hard to keep track of who contributed what. It’s a minor formatting issue but did take away from some of the enjoyment in reading the poems.

This collection is recommended for any library that collects contemporary poetry and for any individual with an interest in that field although it will it probably appeal most to gay men.

Reviewer: Mack Freeman


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