The University of Wisconsin Press

Literature & Criticism / Gay and Lesbian Interest

Our Deep Gossip
Conversations with Gay Writers on Poetry and Desire
Christopher Hennessy
Foreword by Christopher Bram

“A powerful living archive of the great stakes and pleasures of contemporary queer poetry. Reading these pages often feels like a lucky and enriching eavesdropping.”
—Michael Snediker, author of Queer Optimism

From Walt Whitman forward, a century and a half of radical experimentation and bold speech by gay and lesbian poets has deeply influenced the American poetic voice. In Our Deep Gossip, Christopher Hennessy interviews eight gay men who are celebrated American poets and writers: Edward Field, John Ashbery, Richard Howard, Aaron Shurin, Dennis Cooper, Cyrus Cassells, Wayne Koestenbaum, and Kazim Ali. The interviews showcase the complex ways art and life intertwine, as the poets speak about their early lives, the friends and communities that shaped their work, the histories of gay writers before them, how sex and desire connect with artistic production, what coming out means to a writer, and much more.

While the conversations here cover almost every conceivable topic of interest to readers of poetry and poets themselves, the book is an especially important, poignant, far-reaching, and enduring document of what it means to be a gay artist in twentieth- and early twenty-first-century America.

Christopher Hennessy is the author of Outside the Lines: Talking with Contemporary Gay Poets and a collection of poems, Love-In-Idleness, which was a finalist for the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry. He is the associate editor for The Gay & Lesbian Review-Worldwide and lives in Boston, Massachusetts.


“Hennessy has done a real service not only to gay poetry but to poetry in general.”
Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide

“Passionate about the beauty of poetry, Hennessy presents eight master craftsmen at the top of their game. . . . His book will delight readers interested in how a poet's mind works, and the many places a literary artist draws inspiration from.”
Bay Area Reporter

“Hennessy successfully presents readers with a snapshot of modern gay poetry while placing individual poets within the wider American literary landscape.”
Library Journal

“Hennessy gives the poets generous space to speak, and in this space the book succeeds.”
Publishers Weekly

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)


November 2013
LC: 2013015069 PS
308 pp.   5 1/2 x 8 1/4  
8 b/w photos

Book icon
Paper $26.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-29564-6
Shopping cart ADD TO CART

Our Deep Gossip isn’t just smart. It isn’t just a color-rich collection of interviews with eight amazing gay poets. And it isn’t just a compelling record of their personalities, processes, and engagement with desire. It’s a landmark in which Hennessy never misses the mark.”
—Jim Elledge, editor of Who’s Yer Daddy



Home | Books | Journals | Events | Textbooks | Authors | Related | Search | Order | Contact

If you have trouble accessing any page in this web site, contact our Web manager.

Updated March 10, 2013

© 2013 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System