RARA-AVIS: Lesbian Crime Sagas, Hard-Bitten '20s Poetry

From: chrisaschneider@earthlink.net
Date: 09 Aug 2003

From: Mark Sullivan < DJ-Anonyme@webtv.net> Sent: 08/08/03 06:57 PM To: rara-avis@icomm.ca Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: MONKEY'S MASK, Porter 1994
> "Never read anything with a strong lesbian theme before, either."

Oh, miker, although I didn't recommend this, I can recommend Sarah Schulman's lesbian crime novel After Delores.

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Let me second that recommendation. Schulman's a superb writer, one who's smart and funny. Anything with her name on it's worth looking at at least once. Good playwright, too.

As far as "hard-boiled in verse" is concerned ... has anyone spoken to you about Joseph Moncure March's "The Wild Party"? It's one of two novel-length poems that he wrote. ("The Set-Up," which was filmed in the '40s with that axiom who went by the name of Robert Ryan, I only know by reputation.)

"The Wild Party" is filled with hard-bitten attitude and rotten boozy behavior. Sex, alcohol, and death at the end -- plus, in the edition that I read, fascinating Art Spiegelman illustrations. Is it first-rate poetry? I'm not so sure, since the resuling book is like an ungodly melding of Eliot's "Waste Land" and "The Shooting of Dan McGrew." But it *is* memorable and very much a product of the late-'20s.


P.S. Also to be recommended -- for those who have the ears for such things -- is the CD of Michael John LaChiusa's stage musicalizing of "Wild Party." A fine, fine score performed by Mandy Patinkin and Toni Colette and Eartha Kitt. A score that's witty, youch, and not so much reminiscent of Rodgers & Hammerstein as of Kurt Weill or 1940s Stravinsky.

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