The Seattle Gay and Lesbian Book Club meets at SASG on Capital Hill
(previously Dunshee House) every Wednesday, 6-7:15pm.

We read one book each month and discuss that book all month.
Some members come every Wednesday; some join us once or twice a month.

For busy people, four opportunities means not having to worry about missing out! And spreading the discussion over a month allows us to approach  topical questions in depth, for readers to dive back into the text and explore thoughts different from their own.


The Poetry of C.P. Cavafy

Think you donít like poetry? I donít much, either. But I make exceptions. And I say the name of C. P. CAVAFY with the deepest respect, because for me this Greek man is possibly the greatest gay poet who ever lived. Here, try one of his poems:

Canít be more than twenty-two years old.
And yet Iím sure that, just about the same
Number of years ago, I enjoyed that very body.
Itís not at all a flaring of desire.
And I only came to the casino a little while ago;
I havenít even had time to drink a lot.
This very body: I enjoyed it.
And if I donít remember where Ė one slip doesnít signify.
Ah there, sitting at the next table now:
I recognize each movement Ė and beneath the clothes
I see once more the naked limbs I loved.
Does that maybe speak to you a little? I hope so! For the month of August, read some Cavafy poems. With the precision of a surgeon, he can describe the heart of a quiet, older gay man better than anyone ever. Iím plowing through the only biography of him right now called CAVAFY by Robert Liddell Ė it might be in libraries Ė because I want to know more. But his poems are what weíre reading. There are a number of translations of his COMPLETE POEMS and COLLECTED POEMS: the Rae Dalven original in English, the Barnstone, and then the new awesome Mendelsohn. The Dalven is the one that made him famous. But they all work. If this guy hits you in the heart, believe me, you will want to buy the $35 Mendelsohn translation with its glorious footnotes and notes. You should be able to find used copies of the Dalven in many places, since it was reprinted and the only version for years. BUT AUGUST IS FREE. You donít need to buy a thing. Go online to the Official Website for C. P. Cavafy (
www.cavafy.com). Itís amazing! His poems are all there. But if you grow to love him like I do, youíll want a portable collection to carry with you.
The poem that changed my life is called ď
The City.Ē When I first read it, the poem spoke to me and altered my way of thinking. Itís still super powerful. Watch out. Many of his poems are taken from mythology or history Ė BUT the ones you will go crazy over are the gay ones Ė they are meticulous, word precise, so hot and filled with longing and desire the pages practically steam.
Cavafy was HUGE for E. M. Forster, Lawrence Durrell, and W.H. Auden, to name but a few. Find a poem by Cavafy that speaks to you. Come to a meeting and read it and tell us why. Easy! Thatís all weíre going to do for August. Weíre going to share knowledge of this private, private man who opened up his secret longings to the world. Letís understand his poems in light of his life. The more we share and know, the better. Havenít been to a meeting for a while? Perfect time to come back. No homework necessary. Read a Cavafy poem or two before you come. How easy is that? Letís celebrate this wise older gay man who makes exquisite word choices to express his heart. Cavafy is one of the true giants in the gay canon. If youíve never read his poems before, prepare to learn what poetry can do.



List of previous books

Come join us any Wednesday, 6-7:15pm at

303 17th Avenue East
Seattle 98112

(on Capitol Hill, near Group Health Hospital)

SASG phone: (206) 322-2437

Feel free to just show up, whether youíve finished the book or not.

For more information, contact Nick at

Read the SGN interview with Nick about the club

Read all about SASG, our hosts

Previous books


Breakfast with Scot Michael Downing

Orange Are Not the Only Fruit Jeanette Winterson

I Am Not Myself These Days John Kilmer-Purcell

The City and the Pillar Gore Vidal

The Price of Salt Patricia Highsmith

Fun Home Alison Bechdel

Queer William Burroughs

A Fairly Honourable Defeat Iris Murdoch

The Thiefís Journal Jean Genet

Wild Dogs Helen Humphreys

The Gifts of the Body Rebecca Brown

Death in Venice Thomas Mann


The Immoralist Andre Gide

A Single Man Christopher Isherwood

The Pure and the Impure Colette

The Last of the Wine Mary Renault

Satyricon Petronius

Maurice E. M. Forster

Leaves of Grass Walt Whitman

Dog Years Mark Doty

Portrait of the Addict as a Young Man Bill Clegg

Confessions of a Mask Yukio Mishima

Stuck Rubber Baby Howard Cruse

My Father and Myself J. R. Ackerley


Hindoo Holiday J. R. Ackerley

The Line of Beauty Alan Hollinghurst

Dry Augusten Burroughs

We Think the World of You J. R. Ackerley

Just Kids Patti Smith

The Counterfeiters Andre Gide

Union Atlantic Adam Haslett

Teleny and Camille Jon Macy, adapted from Oscar Wilde and His Circle

Moffie Andre Carl van der Merwe

The Ladies Doris Grumbach


The Strangerís Child Alan Hollinghurst

We the Animals Justin Torres

Jack Holmes and His Friend Edmund White

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? Jeanette Winterson

Are You My Mother? Alison Bechdel

The Swimming-pool Library Alan Hollinghurst

Mars Vs. Maple School Nick DiMartino

Goodbye to Berlin Christopher Isherwood

Christopher and His Kind Christopher Isherwood

The Picture of Dorian Gray (uncensored) Oscar Wilde

Mr. Fortuneís Maggot Sylvia Townsend Warner

Changes: In A Little Gay Bar Nick DiMartino


Becoming A Man Paul Monette

Borrowed Time Paul Monette

Heavenís Coast Mark Doty

The Gallery John Horne Burns

Stories for Boys Gregory Martin

Money Boy Paul Yee

The End of San Francisco Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore and
Toast Nigel Slater

The Story of the Night Colm Toibin

The Dream of the Celt Mario Vargas Llosa

Rough Music Richard Gale

The Two Hotel Francforts David Leavitt

The Devil in Love Nick DiMartino


Fairyland Alysia Abbott

Vainglory Ronald Firbank

Our Lady of the Flowers Jean Genet

Tell the Wolves Iím Home Carol Rifka Brunt

The Normal Heart Larry Kramer

Firefly Noel Coward

Young Torless Robert Musil

The Poetry of C.P. Cavafy