Queer Indigenous Poet Tommy Pico’s Breaks the Boundaries of Poetry

Written by Jeff Rose

The work of queer and indigenous poet Tommy Pico fangirls over the songs of Amy Winehouse in one stanza, claps  back at gay men in the next, and then ruminates over Native American microaggressions. His work delves into his identity and experiences as a gay Kumeyaay man originally from the Viejas Indian Reservation but living in New York. Experimental, unique, and inspiring, Pico’s epic poetry speaks for his Native American people and for queer experiences.

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How Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman Representation Continues to Impact and Inspire

Written by Jeff Rose

Discussions on the importance of LGBTQ+ representation and accurate media portrayals and novel adaptations continue to dominate much of literary culture today. Neil Gaiman and N. K. Jemisin recently talked about these issues in a  discussion posted on LitHub.

As someone who read Gaiman’s The Sandman as a teenager, it was inspiring to see the way his work continues to influence new writers like Jemisin. Like Jemisin, I fell in love with American comics because of The Sandman. Gaiman’s comic showed me how impactful visual storytelling can be and how much of a literary art form it is.

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How Call Me By Your Name Needs to be Called by its True Name: Problematic

Written by Jeff Rose

With the recent success from the movie Call Me by Your Name, the book by Andre Aciman has surged in popularity. However, the film and book has been critiqued for several reasons, most notably the seven-year age gap of the two main characters and the fact it’s not breaking new ground in LGBTQ+ storytelling. The film/novel features a romantic relationship between Elio, a seventeen-year-old teenager, and Oliver, a twenty-four-year-old graduate student in Italy.

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Laying All the Cards on the Table: Orson Scott Card’s Homophobia

Written by Jeff Rose

In this installment of our Problematic Literary Faves column, I’d like to discuss Orson Scott Card, an author most famous for a little novel called Ender’s Game. He also happens to be very outspoken about his opposition to homosexuality and same-sex marriage. From 2009 to 2013, Card was a board director of the National Organization for Marriage, a group that campaigns against same-sex marriage, along with other LGBTQ rights.

As someone who read his iconic science-fiction novel in middle school, I tremendously enjoyed Ender’s story. The ideas Card presented over a fictional war that ranges in space through games seemed so wild, yet possible. As I was Ender’s age (ten) at the time, I really connected to his character even more so. Yet it was a shocking revelation to find out years later—after I solidified my identity as a member of the LGBTQ community—that Card vehemently protests against same-sex marriage.

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Texas Prisons and Their Banned Books

Written by Jeff Rose

A recent Dallas Morning News article reports that many surprising books are banned from Texas prisons (like a book of Shakespearean sonnets and The Color Purple, while books like Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf and some works produced by Ku Klux Klan are not.

Sounds off, right? The Texas Department of Criminal Justice lists several reasons a book may be banned. One book, Freakeconomics, which considers everyday concepts and explains their economic impact, is banned because it has racial content that may encourage disruptive behavior known to cause prison breakdowns. But pro-segregation books by David Duke, former KKK grand imperial wizard, are not banned for what could arguably cause more disruptive behavior.

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