Writers Who Love Too Much: New Narrative 1977— 1997. Eds. Dodie Bellamy and Kevin Killian. 2017. ISBN: 978-1-937658-65-6.
544 pages. $24.95.
This book is the first major anthology of New Narrative writing—the San Francisco based literary movement fueled by punk, pop, porn, French theory, and social resistance.
In the twenty years that followed America’s bicentennial, narrative writing was re-formed, re ecting new political and sexual realities. With the publication of this anthology, the New Narrative era bounds back to life, ripe with dramatic propulsion and infused with the twin strains of poetry and continental theory. The reader will discover classic New Narrative texts, from Robert Glück to Kathy Acker, as well as rare supplemental materials, including period interviews, essays, and talks, which form a new map of late 20th century creative rebellion.
The New Narrators are not well known, and the reason why is precisely why they are significant. As LGBTQ literature grew out of its formative years, the New Narrative writers rebelled against the corporate hegemony of the East Coast publishing establishment. According to Richard Canning, these writers “focused on avant-garde collaboration, dialogue, and mutual support (mostly). They did not hope to make money or have a commercial ‘hit,’ and in almost every case they succeeded at commercial failure!”
Selections include: Robert Glück, “Sanchez and Day,” from Elements; Kathy Acker, “The End,” from Great Expectations; Edith A. Jenkins, “Against a Field Sinister”; Carla Harryman, “Animal Instincts”; David O. Steinberg, “Five Year Plan”; Michael Amnasan, “Joan,” from I Can’t Distinguish Opposites; Judy Grahn, interviewed by Steve Abbott and Dodie Bellamy; John Norton, “A Real Story”; Marsha Campbell, “Wearing a Tough Jacket”; Brad Gooch,“Satan”; Camille Roy, “Lynette #1,” “BABY,” and “Sex Life”; Sam D’Allesandro, “Jimmy,” “Walking to the Ocean This Morning,” Nothing Ever Just Disappears”; Bruce Boone, interviewed by Charles Bernstein; Dennis Cooper, “My Mark” from Safe; Kathe Burkhart, from The Double Standard; Roberto Bedoya, “Scene One,” from Decoto; F.S. Rosa, “Post War”; Robert Glück, “The Sky Looked Bruised, and That’s the Way the Air Felt, Achey”; Steve Abbott, “Notes on Boundaries/ New Narrative”; Gabrielle Daniels, “Our Nig: Discovering A Black Woman’s Novel” Dennis Cooper, “Square One”; Gary Indiana, “I Am Candy Jones”; Leslie Dick, “The Interpretation of Dreams”; Scott Watson, “Prince of the Damned”; Bruce Boone, “David’s Charm”; Dodie Bellamy, “Incarnation”; Gail Scott, from Heroine; Richard Hawkins, “Bo-Hunk”; Kevin Killian, “Sex Writing and the New Narrative”; Matias Viegener, “Twilight of the Gods”; R. Zamora Linmark, from Rolling the R’s; Ishmael Houston-Jones, “The End of Everything”; Rebecca Brown, “Junk Mail”; Nayland Blake, “The Secret Square”; Lynne Tillman, from Haunted Houses; Bruce Benderson, “Apollo’s Curse,” from User; Cecilia Dougherty, “Sue”; Dodie Bellamy, “Dear Gail”; Eileen Myles, “Chelsea Girls”; Gabrielle Daniels, “A City Girl Discovers the Forest”; Sarah Schulman, from Rat Bohemia; Kevin Killian, “Open letter to the Editors of Apex of the M”; Laurie Weeks, “Swallow”; Bob Flanagan, from The Book of Medicine; Lawrence Braithwaite, from Wigger; Chris Kraus, from I Love Dick.
Dodie Bellamy’s latest book is When the Sick Rule the World. She teaches creative writing at San Francisco State University and California College of the Arts.
Kevin Killian is a San Francisco-based poet, novelist, playwright, and art writer. He is the author of fifteen books and co-wrote Poet Be Like God, a biography of the American poet Jack Spicer (1925–1965).