Contemporary Gay American Poets and Playwrights: An A-to-Z Guide

By Emmanuel S. Nelson | Go to book overview

PAUL MONETTE (1945–1995)

Nathan G. Tipton


BIOGRAPHY

In the preface to his final poetry collection West of Yesterday, East of Summer: New and Selected Poems, 1973–1993, Paul Monette admitted, somewhat wryly, “Of course I never wrote anything except about myself, but then it was all so serious and dark that it fairly stank with merit” (xi). Monette is indeed best known for his trenchantly honest autobiographical memoirs Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir (1988) and Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story (1992), yet his fictional work and his poetry collections are also filled with what David Román considers “Monette’s own relentless commitment to leave a testimony of how gay men have lived and loved” (272). Even though Monette began his writing career as a poet, this testimonial commitment can be seen more clearly in his six novels, all of which treat gay themes such as fixing a secure gay identity in the face of familial and societal pressures. The passionate, agonized, stridently righteous anger that informs his poetry (and, later, his memoirs) developed fully in the 1980s, concurrent with the rise of the AIDS epidemic.

Paul Monette was born on October 16, 1945, in Lawrence, Massachusetts, but was raised in nearby Andover. He received a scholarship to Phillips Academy, a tony prep school in Andover, and after graduation attended Yale University. At Phillips, Monette dabbled with poetry, which he later dismissed as “wince-making rhymes and Arcadian locutions” (Becoming a Man 87). Nevertheless, at Yale he continued to write and experiment with poetic forms, publishing two multipart poems in the March 1965 issue of The Serpent’s Tooth, a residential college literary magazine on whose editorial board Monette served. Several poems that were later included in his 1975 collection The Carpenter at the Asylum first appeared in the prestigious Yale Literary Review. Monette was also chosen to write

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Contemporary Gay American Poets and Playwrights: An A-to-Z Guide
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiii
  • Edward Albee (1928–) 1
  • Jeff Baron (1952–) 11
  • Jeffery Beam (1953–) 19
  • David Bergman (1950–) 25
  • Alan Bowne (1945–1989) 29
  • Donald Britton (1951–1994) 38
  • James Broughton (1913–1999) 43
  • Bibliography 50
  • Victor Bumbalo (1946–) 54
  • Charles Busch (1954–) 61
  • Leo F. Cabranes-Grant (1960–) 69
  • Robert Chesley (1943–1990) 74
  • Justin Chin (1969–) 82
  • Alfred Corn (1943–) 87
  • Mart Crowley (1935–) 93
  • Melvin Dixon (1950–1992) 101
  • Bibliography 106
  • Tim Dlugos (1950–1990) 108
  • Bibliography 116
  • Mark Doty (1953–) 117
  • Bibliography 123
  • David Drake (1963–) 125
  • Robert Duncan (1919–1988) 130
  • Christopher Durang (1949–) 141
  • Edward Field (1924–) 147
  • Harvey Fierstein (1954–) 153
  • William Finn (1952–) 162
  • Kenny Fries (1960–) 171
  • Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997) 178
  • Thom Gunn (1929–) 188
  • Bibliography 196
  • Essex Hemphill (1957–1995) 198
  • William M. Hoffman (1939–) 205
  • Richard Howard (1929–) 212
  • Bibliography 215
  • Maurice Kenny (1929–) 217
  • Bibliography 220
  • Rudy Kikel (1943–) 222
  • Harry Kondoleon (1955–1994) 230
  • Bibliography 234
  • Larry Kramer (1935–) 236
  • Tony Kushner (1956–) 246
  • Michael Lassell (1947–) 260
  • Timothy Liu (1965–) 268
  • Craig Lucas (1951–) 272
  • Charles Ludlam (1943–1987) 280
  • J.D. Mcclatchy (1945–) 288
  • Bibliography 291
  • Terrence Mcnally (1939–) 293
  • Bibliography 307
  • Scott Mcpherson (1959–1992) 309
  • James Merrill (1926–1995) 316
  • Paul Monette (1945–1995) 323
  • Frank O’hara (1926–1966) 334
  • Bibliography 340
  • Robert O’hara (1970–) 342
  • Peter Parnell (1953–) 349
  • Carl Phillips (1959–) 357
  • Kenneth Pobo (1954–) 363
  • D.A. Powell (1963–) 369
  • Bibliography 376
  • Guillermo Reyes (1962–) 377
  • Bibliography 382
  • Assotto Saint (yves FranÇois Lubin) (1957–1994) 383
  • Bibliography 387
  • F. Allen Sawyer (1957–) 388
  • Bibliography 392
  • James Schuyler (1923–1991) 393
  • Reginald Shepherd (1963–) 398
  • Bibliography 405
  • Martin Sherman (1938–) 406
  • Aaron Shurin (1947–) 412
  • David Trinidad (1953–) 421
  • Gore Vidal (1925–) 427
  • Bibliography 435
  • Jonathan Williams (1929–) 438
  • Doric Wilson (1939–) 444
  • Lanford Wilson (1937–) 451
  • Chay Yew (1966–) 461
  • Selected Bibliography 467
  • Index 469
  • About the Contributors 477
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