Based on the author’s life as a gay man and a poet, King of Shadows is a collection of twenty-one autobiographical essays that circle in and around San Francisco since the 1960s. The three longest pieces deal with Aaron Shurin’s coming into poetry and gay identity via a high school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, his deep relationships with poets Denise Levertov and Robert Duncan, and his personal history of venturing into San Francisco gay bars, starting in 1965 and ending just before Stonewall.
Aaron Shurin is the author of fifteen books, including Involuntary Lyrics and The Paradise of Forms, named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year.
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The accumulation of biographic and literary details conjures up an apparitional dreamscape of a very specific moment in American history—a new sense of personal and literary freedom, a new period of progressive political and literary ideas.Apr 21 2008 | Read Full Review of King of Shadows
Here is one sentence from his moving account of coming out in pre-Stonewall San Francisco: Last call at the Rendezvous-we stood around drinking, eyeing, and we went home and sometimes talked and sometimes didn’t and spread our legs or got spread, we licked and bathed each other in sweat and some...Jul 21 2009 | Read Full Review of King of Shadows