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Articles tagged "Queer Literature"

WWB Weekend: Muslim and Queer

In our sorrow and disbelief over the attack in Orlando, we turn to our archives for some insight into the lives of queer Muslims in other parts of the world. Two stories—one from Jordan, one from Iran—describe ruses based on queer identity, and social attitudes toward it, that provide illuminating context.  An excerpt from Fadi Zaghmout’s The Amman Bride opens with the gay narrator caught between his female fiancée and their looming marriage, and...

Writing Outside the Mainstream: An Interview with Jeon Sam-hye

Image: Anton Hur and Jeon Sam-hye at Seoul Pride, 2016. Anton Hur’s translaton of Jeon Sam-hye’s story “Genesis” appears in the June 2016 issue of Words without Borders: “The Queer Issue VII.” Anton Hur (AH): How did you come to write “Genesis”? Jeon Sam-hye (JSH): To be honest, this story ended up making trouble for a lot of people. “Genesis” was not a queer narrative to begin with. It started off with the idea that because...

From the Translator: A Lunar Sorority

Image: Phases of the Moon. (CC0 Public Domain.) Anton Hur’s translation of Jeon Sam-hye’s “Genesis” appears in the June 2016 issue of Words without Borders: “The Queer Issue VII.” Insofar as a translator can be “well-known,” I am not the most well-known gay translator of Korean literature. I am not even the second most well-known, or the third. In fact, one of my sisters-at-arms, Jamie Chang, already contributed a “From the...

In Praise of Nonconformity: The Queer Issue

Welcome to our annual salute to international queer literature. This issue, our seventh, comes at a less than celebratory time in the US. The current presidential campaign has propelled public discourse to new lows of coarseness and blunt prejudice, and the euphoria following last June’s repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act has petered out in the face of continuing anti-gay sentiment, most recently expressed in the rancorous debate over transgender bathroom access. Behind the bigotry...

Genesis

Only a few machines on this moon-base remain working. The satellite camera that always faces Earth, the monitor connected to that camera, the memory device, and the replay device. They run on solar power, so I suppose they’ll stay on as long as the sun exists. They’ll keep their vigil over Earth after I’m gone. The sun won’t last forever, but at least I’ll have disappeared before it goes out. It’s sad to disappear. I guess it’s like being an old...

Car Accident without Victims

Mind if I sit in the front? I’m going to Avenida Angélica, corner of Rua Maranhão, know where it is?  Pardon me, sir, but I need to get something off my chest. If you don’t want to, don’t pay any attention to the crazy things I’m about to say. You can see I’m a normal guy. At home, I always did everything right. I even went to Couples Meet Christ. I always liked sex more than she did. Even when we were first married, it was clear. Lots...

Tomorrow, God Willing

Long ago, my father told me that there was a place in Paris, behind a bush, where you could glimpse paradise, which you only saw once because men went there to die. This place was located somewhere in Montsouris Park, he said, hidden between two paths where someone walking would be swept along by the wind, while the dying man entertained his last conversation with himself before ending it all.   On September 6, 2042, I found myself there. Stretched out on the damp grass with a...

Outcast

1. It was a winter’s night, the kind with icy winds that blew so hard they tore into one’s pores and a cold that was enough to make each lonely heart freeze over. There, in the park, a ghostly young man drifted, a wandering soul with no family or friends to rely on. His black eyes flashed beneath the murky gray lamppost light as he watched me walking toward him. “This late and you’re not going home yet?” I patted one of his hunched up shoulders and he made an...

Three

I never got the knack of fidelity. Ever since I first experienced pleasure outside the four walls of our tacky bathroom, I’ve continually violated the most sacred pacts of love. At first I put this down to my lack of character or inability to assert my desires in relation to an Other, to have some coherence in my life. How could I enjoy properly transgressive sex without sacrificing Sunday movie nights and breakfasts in bed? How could I keep the excitement of a secret rendezvous but...

Small-town Novella

is it obvious when b’s gaze lingers on people in the schoolyard? there goes leif, being watched. how does it look to someone else? crazy? cheesy? b has known leif since twelfth grade, meaning they were separated from the others and sent to this school where they have a hundred and twenty classmates. then it’s down to pure chance whether old friendships slacken, stay firm, or fall apart at the seams. a high price to pay for a couple of “free” subject choices, limited...

Three Microfictions

Machos in the Metro I’m always aware of who’s around me in the metro. For two reasons. One is that I like to snap pics of hot guys without them realizing. I pretend to be texting or browsing Facebook, but I’m actually capturing portraits of raw masculinity: an unshaven square jaw, a bulge at the crotch of some sweatpants, the biceps of a guy holding onto the pole when the car starts to slow down. And it’s an even bigger turn-on because they’re not aware of my...

She, You, and I

Darling, tell me that when we love, we’re not awaiting a reward or reciprocity. And that love is greatest when it’s fruitless, when feelings are more powerful, more real. What’s the point of love without suffering? Every time I contend with love, a new life is born in the fight. The anxiety I endure makes me feel my pulse, makes me feel I’m alive. I’m only happy when I’m seeking these things, not when I find them, because isn’t the footpath through...

Connections, Missed and Made: The Queer Issue

As I write, the Irish people have just approved a constitutional amendment in favor of same-sex marriage, the nineteenth country to recognize this right. In the US the television program Transparent, about an older man transitioning to female and his self-absorbed family, entered its second year of critical acclaim and industry prizes.  And, as in every June, cities around the world are building up to a month of celebration and reflection, noting the progress made since Stonewall and...

Pansies

Blue irises and garlic blossoms. The temptation is enormous, but I continue to resist. No more flowers, and no more excuses for either one of us. This ends here and now. The first time I saw you, it was early morning and I was out with the dog on the riverwalk alongside the Po. You were running—more a triumphal march than a jog, really. How could anyone have failed to notice you as you took possession of the world in your running shorts? There you were: focused, sweat on your...

A Faun’s Afternoon

The hand of the pocket watch winds on with a sound like mocking laughter—continuously pricking his anxiety, preventing him from forgetting how the nightmare started. He remembers. This is how it began: That day of the winter holiday happened to be Aso’s birthday. The bus passed through the deep gloom of the bamboo forest, delivering him, in a daze, to the spa town. The lattice of bamboo shadows fell upon him like a glitter of whirling blades, dicing his body to bits. He did, in...

From “The Year of Pearls”

The Year of Pearls tells the story of Lucie, a married woman in her late thirties whose life is thrown into disarray when she embarks on a heady, yearlong love affair with a younger woman. In this extract the narrator, still living with her husband, finally confronts the long-suppressed nature of her sexuality.  She made up her mind. There had to be some clues, signs, or leads somewhere around here. Some portents of things to come, some verifiable cracks appearing in the ground before...

Fakes

What won’t he fix, what won’t he do? The man’s a treasure, a must-have for any decent household. His fingers are like pincers, they can get a grip on even the tiniest little bits and pieces. His nimble joints can turn taps, table legs, and screws any which way. And then with some fast-drying adhesive, rubber cement or just ordinary glue, ta-da, he’s done. “Jeez Louise, how do you do it? Normally I’d have thrown that jewelry box in the trash already but...

From “The Memory of a Secret”

What do we know about our parents? They’re never anything but parents. They do what parents do, listen but never speak. Help you up but they themselves stay down. One day you’ll start to wonder who they are. Those people who’ve always just been there. You realize that you don’t know what they’re thinking about in their beds at night. You don’t know what they dream about. Your memories don’t provide any answers, they can’t reveal their true...

The Avenging Whip

The weather’s so hot at the moment that I can’t be assed to do anything. I spend all day vegging out in front of the TV, watching shows aimed at the unemployed, even though I have a real job. And when I’m not staring at the box and doing my eyes in . . . well, I sleep, I eat. I sleep some more and I eat some more. In other words, I do fuck all. When I opened the mailbox this morning, I realized that I was making a serious mistake. The bills for the things that rule our...

Evolution

EVOLUTION (1) Flight of the dwarf wasp, wingspan one millimeter beating 350 times per second finally captured in a photograph. After one million millenia of steadily evolving technology.   EVOLUTION (2) Let me help you said the ape. And placed the fish carefully in the crown of the tree. 

PEN World Voices Festival As It Happened: \“Queer Futures\”

Photo: Beowulf Sheehan/PEN World Voices Festival On May 6, 2015, the PEN World Voices Festival brought together South African visual activist Zanele Muholi, Nigerian social entrepreneur Kehinde Bademosi, and Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina for a panel discussion on “Queer Futures” moderated by Shireen Hassim, a professor of political studies in South Africa. Hassim opened with a quote from Ugandan academic Sylvia Tamale, noting that her notion of an...

An Introduction to Our Fourth Annual Queer Issue

This June, Words without Borders publishes its fourth annual Queer issue. The United States is celebrating LGBT pride month. The country’s Supreme Court is scheduled to deliver verdicts on two landmark cases relating to gay rights in America, both concerning the rights of same-sex couples to marry. In France, the new Socialist president François Hollande signed a “marriage for all” bill into law in late May. In response, massive demonstrations erupted around the...

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