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

By Emmanuel S. Nelson | Go to book overview

MELVIN DIXON (1950–1992)

Carrie J. Boden


BIOGRAPHY

Melvin Dixon was born on May 29, 1950, in Stamford, Connecticut, to his father Handy, an independent painter and contractor, and his mother Jessie, a nurse. Handy and Jessie moved to Stamford from the Carolinas in the late 1940s. As a child, Dixon made many trips back to the South with his family. It was during these excursions down-home that Dixon experienced Jim Crow laws. The family would set out on the fifteen-hour drive with food packed because they were unable to stop and eat at restaurants (Peterson 42). Both the cultural climate and the physical landscape of the South influenced Dixon’s sense of place, a theme that runs through virtually all of Dixon’s writing and literary criticism. His father’s hometown of Pee Dee, North Carolina, is the principal setting in his first novel, Trouble the Water (1989). Pee Dee, and the theme of returning to the South, is also invoked in Change of Territory (1983), a collection of poems that investigates what Dixon refers to as the “twin demons of history and memory” (“The Black Writer’s Use of Memory” 26). Writers such as James Baldwin, Robert Hayden, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Jay Wright, and Michael S. Harper heavily influenced Dixon. Dixon first discovered Baldwin in his teens. Dixon recounts, “The first term paper I wrote in junior high school was called ‘Baldwin’s Theme of Homosexuality.’ …I didn’t understand the impact Baldwin would have on me, but I knew he interested me” (Peterson 42). Dixon spent most of his career both paying homage to and engaging in literary conversation with the writers and works that influenced him.

Dixon had an expansive career as a poet, scholar, novelist, translator, and critic. Early in his academic career, Dixon graduated from Wesleyan in 1971 with a double major in English and theater. He earned an M.A. in 1973 and a Ph.D. in

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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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