Ceremonies: Prose & Poetry, by Essex Hemphill, 200 pages
Since it is Black History month, I am trying to read a few works by black authors. Essex Hemphill is a gay black poet who wrote essays, too, usually about the unique experience of being a gay, black man. His poems were powerful (and sexually explicit, so consider yourself warned), as were his essays. I had not read any of his essays, but they were very provocative- one addresses the schism in the gay community between white and black men; another addresses what he argues are the exploitative photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe (who is usually considered unassailable); and another discusses one of my favorite documentaries- Paris is Burning, about the gay ball scene in New York City. I thought this was a refreshing read from a point of view I rarely see.