A James Broughton Reader

A James Broughton Reader

A James Broughton Reader

A James Broughton Reader


In a lifetime that stretched from 1913 to 1999 James Broughton witnessed and commented on most of the twentieth century. His commentary, made from the point of view of an outsider, was leveled at some of the century's most precious myths. Broughton countered myth with myth. In a time aghast at its own horrors, Broughton championed laughter. He was a poet, not of the ivory tower but of the innovative street; a playful, urban voice with the notion that a poet could change the world. In a rational century, he asserted mystery. All: A James Broughton Reader collects the range of this acclaimed poet and filmmaker.


White Crane Institute is proud to make the writings of poet and filmmaker James Broughton available again; some of the material in this book have never before been published.

Certainly to have a new collection of James Broughton's work that renders the arch of his magical life is a reason enough to celebrate. But in our on-going efforts to make significant gay culture and spiritual thinking available more widely, there is a distinction that can and should be made between those who were (and are) “gay artists” and those who made art “gaily.”

James is, quintessentially, the latter. Nowhere is the sheer effervescence of gayness more clearly demonstrated than in the lifework and writings of James Broughton. Nowhere is joy of life proclaimed with more fervor and an almost divine obliviousness to any form of shame. the depth and mythology of gay love has never been more innocently and vociferously celebrated; the proud reclaiming of “queer” can, arguably, be traced to Broughton. No one has explored the full dimensions of a vibrant eros more deliciously than he did with every word he wrote, every frame he shot… with every moment of his life. If poetry is the language of the soul, Broughton had an unparalleled fluency. If film is one of the truly American contributions to world culture, Broughton was its gay ambassador. And, as always he said it best:

“To assert, to assert. To mate Eros to Logos. To sing the divine unions!”

White Crane Institute is grateful to the artist Joel Singer, James Broughton's loving partner for the most creative years of his life, for bringing this manuscript to our door and for the loving portrait of James that graces the cover.

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