Outside the Lines

Talking with Contemporary Gay Poets
Christopher Hennessy, Editor
The first book to collect the voices of our foremost and most promising gay poets


Editor Christopher Hennessy gathers interviews with some of the most significant figures in contemporary American poetry. While each poet is gay, these encompassing, craft-centered interviews reflect the diversity of their respective arts and serve as a testament to the impact gay poets have had and will continue to have on contemporary poetics.

The book includes twelve frank, intense interviews with some of America's best-known and loved poets, who have not only enjoyed wide critical acclaim but who have had lasting impact on both the gay tradition and the contemporary canon writ large, for example, Frank Bidart, the late Thom Gunn, and J. D. McClatchy. Some of the most honored and respected poets, still in the middle of their careers, are also included, for example, Mark Doty, Carl Phillips, and Reginald Shepherd. Each interview explores the poet's complete work to date, often illuminating the poet's technical evolution and emotional growth, probing shifts in theme, and even investigating links between verse and sexuality.

In addition to a selected bibliography of works by established poets, the book also includes a list of works by newer and emerging poets who are well on their way to becoming important voices of the new millennium.

Christopher Hennessy is a freelance writer living in Boston who publishes frequently in national and international gay literary publications. He is associate editor at the Gay and Lesbian Review--Worldwide.

Praise / Awards

  • "Outside the Lines explores the personal and historical forces that have shaped the work of a dozen gifted poets. The answers given to Hennessy's astute, perfectly tailored questions remind a reader how exciting poetry can be, and how writers create, through language, the world as we have never known it. These adventuresome interviews will stir anyone who cares about the making of art."
    —Bernard Cooper

  • "Michigan is known for its Poets on Poetry series, which collects the prose statements, interviews and poetry-related ephemera of individual contemporary poets; this anthology of frank interviews fits nicely alongside it. . . . As an interlocutor, Hennessy is . . . deeply informed, with an ability to register the hotter material without comment."
    Publishers Weekly

  • ". . . these interviews are astute, engrossing, and highly entertaining. Hennessy proves himself an articulate, erudite interviewer, and each of his subjects is more than up to the challenge of his probing queries. . . . This book is an indispensable resource for any scholar or student of contemporary poetry or gay literature, and a fascinating read for anyone who wonders where some of our nation's greatest poetry comes from and how those poets view their own body of work."
    Bloomsbury Review

Look Inside

Copyright © 2005, University of Michigan. All rights reserved. Posted May 2005 and January and February 2006.

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Product Details

  • 232 pages.
  • 12 B&W photographs.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Ebook
  • 2010
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-02632-6

  • PDF: Adobe Digital Editions e-book (DRM Protected)

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