Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Michael Montlack on The Heart’s History

Poet Michael Montlack and I met a few years ago, when we were both Fellows at the inaugural Lambda Writers Retreat. Sometime later, Michael edited a wonderful anthology entitled My Diva: 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them, in which my essay on the indomitable Auntie Mame stood beside the work of such illustrious writers as Mark Doty, Wayne Koestenbaum, and Mark Wunderlich. Michael recently published a sequel, Divining Divas, which explores similar relationships through poetry rather than prose. Somewhere in his busy schedule, he found time to share some lovely words on The Heart’s History:

"Yes, times are changing and for the better. But even with the legalization of gay marriage in Massachusetts, the circle of friends at the center of The Heart's History finds that 'nothing was easy anymore. Everything had something attached to it. There was history behind it all.' Edward has finally found love in a younger man just before realizing he contracted HIV from a previous lover. Harlan dodges his pals' meddling matchmaking, unsure if he even wants to settle down. And Kyle treats his best girlfriend like a partner because Edward will never be more than his friend. Even the giddy newlyweds Greg and Victor have to navigate a future with no precedents, no former generations to act as guides. In a crisp panoramic prose, with each chapter smoothly changing point of view, Lewis DeSimone shows this circle stumbling and dancing toward middle age with more and more questions about everything from politics, marriage, and parenting, to suburbia, open relationships, and grief. There are no answers, though DeSimone offers plenty of sharp humor and insight, as well as the consolation that friends have each other to lean on, their own history to write and remember. The Heart's History invites you to become part of this circle, and in it you will see (and probably better understand) your own circle too."

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