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Book reviews for "Larkin,_Joan" sorted by average review score:

Cold River: Poems
Published in Paperback by Painted Leaf Pr (1997)
Author: Joan Larkin
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Elegant and harsh, Larkin cuts to the essentials
I had the unique privilege of studying with Ms. Larkin last year, as a senior in college, but I had never read any of her work until I purchsed this collection, and was immediately blown away by her mastery of lyric form and cruel truth-telling. This is not a book for the faint of heart, since Larkin explores such timely issues as a loved one who is dying of AIDS, and the loss of lovers and stability in an ever-complicated world. She knows initmately how to break a scene down to its component parts and let you see, touch, smell, hear and feel what she examines with such precision. If you're an old poetry fan, or are dipping your toes into the genre for the first time, this is an excellent example of what is true and good in modern urban poetry.

Grace and strength in the face of loss and challenge
I can add little to what others have said here. Joan Larkin brings to bear the entire weight of her experiences of loss, as well as those of joy in self-definition and the quest for a community.

I had the great fortune to work in a year-long conference course with Joan at Sarah Lawrence College. As a teacher she possesses the same qualities in evidence in COLD RIVER: honesty, courage, and a deep respect for life's lessons. Buy this book!!!

Gay & Lesbian Poetry in Our Time: An Anthology (Stonewall Inn Editions)
Published in Paperback by St. Martin's Press (1989)
Authors: Carl Morse and Joan Larkin
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An inspiring and enriching anthology
"Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time: An Anthology," edited by Carl Morse and Joan Larkin, brings together the work of nearly 100 poets, mainly from the U.S. and Canada. This anthology is a stunning achievement. The poets represent a multigenerational group of men and women. These poets also represent many different cultural heritages: Native American, Jewish, Asian, Latina, and more. There is a particularly strong representation of African-American poets: Essex Hemphill, Audre Lorde, Cheryl Clarke, and many, many more.

The innovative introduction is written in the form of a dialogue between coeditors Morse and Larkin. Addressing the interesting question--Why a gay and lesbian anthology?--Larkin notes that "all kinds of sparks result when you get us all together in one place." She also observes that the poems begin "to speak to one another" when so gathered. The introduction also recalls some highlights from the history of 20th century lesbian and gay literature, with an emphasis on poetry and anthologies.

The authors are a good mix of both well-known and lesser-known poets. The poems themselves cover many different themes and stylistic approaches. Some of the many highlights include Alexis De Veaux's narrative poem "The Sisters"; Maurice Kenny's "Winkte," a celebration of the gay Native American experience; and Irena Klepfisz's "death camp," a painful poem about the Holocaust.

If you have a passion for poetry, for lesbian literature, for multicultural studies, or for gay men's literature, you will want to add "Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time" to your library. It is a remarkable volume.

A must have for any poetry-lover!
That's right, any poetry-lover. The poems in this collection reflect truly universal themes that anybody can relate to. This is a collection of nothing but masters of the art of poetry. From Beats to Surrealists to Confessionalists, it's all here (and not just for queers).

Glad Day: Daily Meditations for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender People
Published in Paperback by Hazelden Information Education (1998)
Author: Joan Larkin
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practical and uplifting!
This book is a collection of daily meditations for Gay, Lesbian, Transgendered, and bisexual people. Each day features a very short meditation: about two paragraphs, which gives insight on what it means to be a G/L/T/B person in today's world. Very positive! This book has helped me, as a gay person, examine how I live my life and how I can change for the better. Make it part of your daily ritual! This book sometimes gives a challenge for the day: i.e. one day gives us the challenge that if we hide our sexual identity from others, we are only making things more difficult for us. Others will let us take a break: i.e. today, maybe we shouldn't think about our sexuality at all. Sometimes, this little book asks us to stand up for ourselves, and perhaps confront others who have "pushed us around" in the past because of our sexuality; other times, it suggests perhaps we are not accepting straight people, or making false assumptions about what they are thinking about us. I have to say, this book is definitely encouraging. I only wish I was given this book the first day I knew about my sexuality.

If You Want What We Have: Sponsorship Meditations
Published in Paperback by Hazelden Information Education (1998)
Author: Joan Larkin
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Unique format, conversational tone.
Different from other "day by day guides," this book features a daily "dialogue" between sponsor and sponsee. The days are arranged one, two, three, etc., and begin with a quote. The quotes are great, from Joan Baez to Marilyn Monroe. Next is an issue or question from the sponsor, followed by a reply from the sponsee. This is a great book for anyone in their first (or any, really) year of recovery. The tone is not preachy or condescending, as can be the case with many books of this genre, but calm, warm and sometimes witty. An excellent appendix is provided in the back of the book, and the index is complete and helpful.

Outbound: Finding a Man, Sailing an Ocean (Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiographies, Joan Larkin and David Bergman, Series Editors)
Published in Hardcover by Univ of Wisconsin Pr (03 August, 2001)
Author: William Storandt
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Calling All Sailors & Gay Readers!
This is an interesting and fascinating memoir of one man's life who happens to love sailing and who is also a gay man living in a caring and loving relationship. You don't have to have a knowledge of sailing to enjoy this book. Although I have gone sailing a few times, I wasn't familiar with a lot of the sailing terms, but the author explains them very well. The author writes with dry wit, a questioning self-analysis, and deep passion. It was a pleasure to read his story, and it was never boring. This is a true-life story that will have broad appeal to many people.

Storandt tells in vivid detail the story of his transatlantic sailing adventure from Saybrook, Connecticut to Ireland, then on to Scotland aboard his 33-foot cutter named Clarity. He made this journey with his longtime partner Brian, and their friend Bob. It's an adventure that turns out to be exciting, unpredictable, and even life-threatening. They certainly get to test their sailing skills through rough seas, gale force winds, and a fierce storm. It's not "The Perfect Storm", but it's close. Interwoven throughout his sailing adventure we learn all about Storandt's earlier life; his marriage, being a freelance musician, living in the Vermont woods in a geodesic dome, leaving his marriage, coming out, and meeting his soon to be life partner, Brian, a Scottish doctor.

So whether you're hooked on sailing or just want to read a well-written passionate coming out story, this book is for you. I was disappointed when this adventure ended. As good a writer as he is a sailor, Storandt tells a wonderful story I couldn't put down till finished.

Perspective of a heterosexual landlubber
I bought this book because I was blown away by Storandt's first fictional novel, "The Summer They Came." However, as a straight male who does not know the first thing about sailing, I did not know what to expect from this work. My enjoyment of Storandt's effort is all the more impressive, given my lack of knowledge about the subject matter. Like all master story tellers, Storandt lets the reader enter his world by describing the situation in detail, with references to more familiar subject matter. For instance, when explaining why he cannot get out of bed during a severe storm, Storandt says that he can no more get out of bed than a potato worm can unfold in your hand ... brilliant! Storandt has 2 running stories in this book. In the foreground is his gripping account of his sailing adventure to Scotland (the homeplace of his life partner) across the Atlantic. In the background, is a discussion of his and his life partner's lives up until the time of the trip, with particular focus on how they came to realize they were gay. I highly recommend this book to even the most staunchly conservative "straights," and to the landlubbers most prone to sea-sickness!

Amazing Clarity!
Crossing thresholds, living dreams, staying steady and listening within! He did it! He writes it as only a person who has felt it all deeply and directly can do-it's not an "about" something book! So glad he wrote it for all of us-couldn't put thebook down!!!! Spellbound by all the possibilities it opens for each of us!

A Woman Like That : Lesbian and Bisexual Writers Tell Their Coming Out Stories
Published in Paperback by Perennial (2000)
Author: Joan Larkin
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A Dose of Heavy-Handed Realism?
When I finished reading this, I felt like a heavy burden on my back was emerging, mostly because of the several outcomes that were portrayed in the book. It amazes me as to how much of themselves these authors are willing to reveal about themselves. Some accounts were quite disturbing, by the way, so I'll tell you now that it's not light reading. Others were all right, but the reason why I gave it 4 stars was because sometimes the varying narrative styles were so different it was difficult to really understand what these women were really referring to.

A must-read for everyone
I was going to title my review "a must-read for all lesbians and bisexual women". But truthfully, everyone would benefit from reading this outstanding collection of coming out stories.

Any woman who is struggling with coming out will love A Woman Like That; it is fascinating, thought-provoking, funny, and wonderfully reassuring. Like me, you may wish this book would never end.

Here's hoping we see Volume 2!

Brilliant Writing on an Important Topic
A Woman Like That is an incredible collection of extremely intelligent and fascinating coming out stories. Each of the writers here take us on an adventure, albeit an often harrowing adventure, into the world of their youth. From Heather Lewis's tale of how her father's involvement with the Nixon White House affected her coming out to Minnie Bruce Pratt's moving tale of custody dispute, these writers transform the coming out story into a work of art.

These stories are much more than just biography, they are poetry, pure and unfettered. These authors are not hampered by the desire to be political correct, but only by the desire to tell some truth about their lives, and all are incredibly moving. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the stories kept getting better and better, even though I didn't think that was possible. The diversity of ages, races and geographic territory covered here further adds to this collection's fullness. Lest you think I mean there are token accounts, there are not. Each is fully developed and stands proudly on its own, as well as fitting in with the other works. Tristan Taormino's entry about visiting her queer father as a teenager, and her adventures with her first girlfriend, and Cecilia Tan's amusing and honest tale of her mother coping with (and celebrating) her bisexuality and erotic writing, are especially enjoyable reading.

These tales will be welcome comfort to the lesbian or bisexual reader, but also to any teenager or other person who has every felt alienated, or who simply enjoys biography. The fact that this collection's contributors are all established, published writers adds both fascination to their stories and a quality of writing that is very welcome. These stories stay in the mind long after one closes the book.

Sor Juana's Love Poems: In Spanish and English
Published in Paperback by Painted Leaf Pr (1997)
Authors: Juana Ines De LA Cruz, Joan Larkin, Jaime Manrique, Sor Juana, and Sor Juana Ines de La Cruz
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Buena muestra de poesía barroca
Una excelente producción culterana de poesía amorosa, escrita por la "Décima Musa", Juana de Asbaje, transmutada en monja por obra y gracia de la época contrarreformista. Se ofrece aquí una sarta correctamente elegida de estrofas clásicas de la mejor poesía española, con graciosos juegos de palabras, dilogías sorprendentes, "conceptos", metáforas asombrosas, etc. El esplendor de la lengua española y la frescura y gracia de una intensa voz femenina.

Blood & Tears: Poems for Matthew Shepard
Published in Paperback by Painted Leaf Pr (1999)
Authors: Scott Gibson, Eileen Myles, and Joan Larkin
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A Cynical Attempt to Cash In On A National Tragedy
This book is a cynical attempt by some modestly talented poets in the main - excepting people like Campo - to jump on the bandwagon of the savage murder of Matthew Shepard. One gets the sense that poor Shepard's body was barely cold before someone decided that there was a buck to be made. Hopefully, word about the poor quality of most of the poems - many of which barely referred to Shepard - has got out so people don't waste their money. I would suggest that more good could be done by writing a check to anti-violence projects than supporting the self-indulgent and cynical exploitation of a tragedy...

Sensitive and want to stay that way....
Wow! Such mixed reviews on this one! It's true we cash in on the crimes that haunt us, but why look at it that way? Why not see the written word as a way to preserve that which we don't want to forget and that which we wish to use to teach others of our mistakes? MTV recently showed "Anatomy of A Hate Crime," the first movie-type documentation of this tragedy, but I didn't once think the station used it as a ploy to boost ratings. Have a heart! Who said true life is better than fiction? Yet, the tragedy of that "true life" is what has sparked the fire in so many writers throughout the past. Expression, imagination...freedom, let's not forget what we learned from this hate crime. So, I applaud the prose and am sure the poets meant it well. As for you readers who didn't get it, go take out your anger by hitting someone in the head 18 times with the handle of a gun and then let's see what you choose to write about.

Great collection
This is a great collection of poems about Matthew Shepard. One of the poems that really made me think simply has a "," (comma) on the page, many of the others pages long.

All of the poems are excellent. Great job Scott!

Widescreen Dreams: Growing Up Gay at the Movies (Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiographies, Joan Larkin and David Bergman, Series Editors)
Published in Paperback by Univ of Wisconsin Pr (21 August, 2001)
Author: Patrick E. Horrigan
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He loved The Wiz?
I enjoyed this book despite myself. The author just LOVED some really wretched movies - The Wiz shaped his life? However, his tales of growing up gay in a Catholic family in Reading, PA are interesting and evocative. A fun little diversion for those of us who grew up more into theatre, movies, and glamor than sports and girls.

Movie Memories and More!
This book gives enjoyable insight into the mind of a boy who was captured in the journey that cinema can take us on. He reveals quite well his child perspective and the impact films like The Sound of Music, Hello Dolly, The Wiz, and The Poseidon Adventure had on him. You get to travel through Patrick's recollections not only of film experiences but also of his large Catholic family, his self embrace of being gay and his dating interactions as a gay young man. I often found myself recalling my own childhood memories of cinematic impressions, relating to my early identity as a gay male, and I often found my self laughing out loud. Though it's a book of Patrick's history, it touches off sparks of memories that we all have in common and unknowingly share. It transports the reader to their own childhood memories which is a gift to any reader and the work of a skillful writer.

Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time: An Anthology
Published in Hardcover by St. Martin's Press (1988)
Authors: Carl Morse and Joan Larkin
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