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This week at The Paris Review, we’re highlighting the work of queer and trans writers in our archive in honor of Pride. Read on for Carl Phillips’s Art of Poetry interview, Jeanette Winterson’s short story “The Lives of Saints,” Timothy Liu’s poem “Action Painting,” and a selection of diary entries by Jan Morris.
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Carl Phillips, The Art of Poetry No. 103
Issue no. 228 (Spring 2019)
With that book you were part of a watershed moment for gay poetry.
Around the time of my first book, Mark Doty’s My Alexandria appeared. That was a very important book for me. And within a few years were first books from Timothy Liu and Rafael Campo. To write about having sex with someone of the same sex, to write about same-sex love and vulnerability—these were very new things in poetry, as far as I could tell. It’s something that gets taken for granted now, but it’s great that something like this can be taken for granted. Not that any of this means it’s not still very frightening, even dangerous, for many people to speak openly about who they are, and to live openly as they are. For many people of my generation, there was only the hetero model—so what to do when you have the freedom to make your own model?