Books by David Bergman

Released: Jan. 1, 2000

MEN ON MEN 2000Best New Gay Fiction for the MillenniumBergman, David & Karl Woelz—Eds. Read full book review >
MEN ON MEN 7 by David Bergman
Released: Nov. 2, 1998

The latest addition to this now venerable series (the first volume was issued in 1986) offers once again a useful summary of current concerns and approaches in fiction dealing with gay experience. As editor Bergman (Men on Men 6, etc.) points out in his concise, lucid introduction, recent fiction by gay writers has begun to reflect a heightened interest in the experience of working-class gay life (represented here by stories like Keith Banner's fierce and funny "Holding Hands for Safety" and Shawn Behlen's precise, unsettling "Mullinville"), and a return to stories that include, but are not overwhelmed by, sexual explicitness, such as Michael Carroll's "My Senior Senior Year." More importantly, of course, Men on Men continues to maintain a very high standard of work; among the first-rate pieces here are Greg Johnson's "The Death of Jackie Kennedy," Ernest McLeod's "Frankie's Wedding," and Kevin Killian's deeply moving "Biography." An instructive and admirably varied gathering of stories. Read full book review >
HEROIC MEASURES by David Bergman
Released: May 1, 1998

paper 0-8142-0784-7 Towson State English professor and editor of numerous anthologies of gay fiction, Bergman (Cracking the Code) relies on his superb knowledge of traditional prosody in the various forms he so purposefully explores in this, his second collection. The short dialogue between Death and a beautiful Young Man, which opens the volume, sets the elegiac tone for a dozen or so graceful poems about AIDS—from a witty portrait of a wild transvestite who died by accident, unlike his co-workers at the hair salon, each dead by disease, to a narrative about taking part in a clinical study of HIV. —Days of the 1970s— tells the history of the decade simply by its clever rhymes: —AIDS,— —escapades,— —parades,— and —raids.— Cats figure in poems about desertion by a lover and about memory of a friend recently dead. Bergman's —transgressions— against —entropy— include smart lyrics about grubs at night, planting a garden, a mockingbird that sounds like a car alarm, and a group of poems inspired by art and travel. A skilled narrative artist, Bergman tells the chilling tale of a psychic, consulted by the police, who realizes that a missing boy was killed by his mother, and he also captures the voice of a female primatologist who prefers her monkeys to men. Poems about his aging father, including the wonderful title piece, combine Bergman's campy charms with his expressive clarity: While his father asks that no —heroic measures— be taken to sustain his life, his son preserves that life quite elegantly in his own strong measures. Read full book review >
MEN ON MEN 6 by David Bergman
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

As Bergman (The Violet Quill Reader, 1994) admits in his introduction, Men on Men has become an institution, a bellwether of gay taste. Venerability doesn't have to mean boring, however, as the 22 stories in this latest edition prove. Bergman's editorial preferences lean toward flawless execution and masterful style, but his appetite for the aesthetically formidable is tempered by a willingness to take chances. Here, he steers away from AIDS and toward the illumination of meaningful experiences, a move that elevates the overall quality of his selections. Dangerous tales, such as Bruce Benderson's drag-queen meets the-damaged-bloom-of-youth ``Blades'' and Kevin Martin's drugs-, race-, and sex-addled ``Crack,'' share space with accounts of emerging sexuality; David Ebershoff's ``Trespass'' depicts a boy witnessing a very normal gay life through the lens of an absent homeowner, and Paul Lisicky's ``Lawnboy'' pits a teenager's sexual education against his parents' intolerance. In a rare nod to the difficulty of transacting a young-adult gay life, Jim Grimsley, in ``Comfort and Joy,'' finds a twentysomething intern dueling with the contrast between his parents' conventional expectations and his own brittle desires. Two long contributions, Thomas Glave's ``Their Story'' and James Purdy's ``The White Blackbird,'' employ retrospect and slightly spooky motifs to tremendous effect. Achim Nowak, in the long ``Graham Greene Is Dead,'' explores the correspondences between disease and expatriation, using Trinidad and Tobago settings to reconsider his title's celebrated globetrotter. In ``Tricks of the Trade,'' William J. Mann obsesses in summertime Provincetown; and Philip Gefter, in ``Elizabeth New Jersey,'' gets busy, in Paris, with clothing. Paul Gervais's ``Love in the Eyes of God'' devises some lusty mileage, and similar elements of barely requited desire are presented in Jason K. Friedman's ``Massage.'' As a gay literary institution, this one ranks with the best over the past two decades. Read full book review >
Released: April 27, 1994

This rich anthology of essays, stories, and correspondences offers the cumulative voice of the important post-Stonewall generation of gay writers who called themselves the Violet Quill. The book begins with a young Edmund White's letter to Ann and Alfred Corn about the Stonewall riots: ``The Voice runs two front- page stories on the riots, both snide, both devoted primarily to assuring readers that the authors are straight.'' It ends with Andrew Holleran's salute to the solidarity of the Violet Quill, in which he recalls the words of a friend, Robert Ferro, afflicted with AIDS: `` `I am hoping that in the next month or two, they will get into trying combination tests of several drugs.... A hot cup of AZT and Interleukin-II, please. The genetic vaccine and Dr. Lo's new virus. Hold the mayo.' '' Read full book review >