THE NEXT TABLE
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 ďThe 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
(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 email@example.com.
Read the SGN interview with Nick about the club
Read all about SASG, our hosts
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
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