The Letters of Mina Harker
Dodie Bellamy; with a new Forward by Dennis Cooper University of Wisconsin Press, 2004 Library of Congress PS3552.E5319L47 2004 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
In Dodie Bellamy's imagined "sequel" to Bram Stoker's fin de siècle masterpiece Dracula, Van Helsing's plain Jane secretarial adjunct, Mina Harker, is recast as a sexual, independent woman living in San Francisco in the 1980s. The vampire Mina Harker, who possesses the body of author Dodie Bellamy, confesses the most intimate details of her relationships with four vastly different men through past letters. Simultaneously, a plague is let loose in San Francisco-the plague of AIDS.
Bigger-than-life, half goddess, half Bette Davis, Mina sends letter after letter to friends and co-conspirators, holding her reader captive through a display of illusion and longing. Juggling quivering vulnerability on one hand and gossip on the other, Mina spoofs and consumes and spews back up demented reembodiments of trash media and high theory alike. It's all fodder for her ravenous libido and "a messy ambiguous place where pathology meets pleasure." Sensuous and captivating, The Letters of Mina Harker describes one woman's struggles finding the right words to explain her desires and fears without confining herself to one identity.
From Walt Whitman forward, a century and a half of radical experimentation and bold speech by gay and lesbian poets has deeply influenced the American poetic voice. In Our Deep Gossip, Christopher Hennessy interviews eight gay men who are celebrated American poets and writers: Edward Field, John Ashbery, Richard Howard, Aaron Shurin, Dennis Cooper, Cyrus Cassells, Wayne Koestenbaum, and Kazim Ali. The interviews showcase the complex ways art and life intertwine, as the poets speak about their early lives, the friends and communities that shaped their work, the histories of gay writers before them, how sex and desire connect with artistic production, what coming out means to a writer, and much more.
While the conversations here cover almost every conceivable topic of interest to readers of poetry and poets themselves, the book is an especially important, poignant, far-reaching, and enduring document of what it means to be a gay artist in twentieth- and early twenty-first-century America.
Dennis Cooper is one of the most inventive and prolific artists of our time. Working in a variety of forms and media since he first exploded onto the scene in the early 1970s, he has been a punk poet, a queercore novelist, a transgressive blogger, an indie filmmaker—each successive incarnation more ingenious and surprising than the last. Cooper’s unflinching determination to probe the obscure, often violent recesses of the human psyche have seen him compared with literary outlaws like Rimbaud, Genet, and the Marquis de Sade.
In this, the first book-length study of Cooper’s life and work, Diarmuid Hester shows that such comparisons hardly scratch the surface. A lively retrospective appraisal of Cooper’s fifty-year career, Wrong tracks the emergence of Cooper’s singular style alongside his participation in a number of American subcultural movements like New York School poetry, punk rock, and radical queercore music and zines. Using extensive archival research, close readings of texts, and new interviews with Cooper and his contemporaries, Hester weaves a complex and often thrilling biographical narrative that attests to Cooper’s status as a leading figure of the American post–War avant-garde.