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Best Bets for LGBTQ+ reads
Today’s Best Bets are LGBTQ+ reads; for the poetic reader who loves queer theory. LOTE (Metonymy Press) by Shola von Reinhold takes us through the art world and curates a queer historical scene breaking it open and reveling in it. Horrible Dance (Brick Books) by Avery Lake is a brilliant poetic debut about gender-based violence that dismantles received definitions of both gender and violence.
LOTE by Shola von Reinhold (Metonymy Press)Shola von Reinhold’s lavish debut novel LOTE, lays bare, through ornate, layered prose, the gaps and fault lines in the archive. Through obsessive research on an overlooked Black modernist poet, the narrator buckles under the vacuousness of the art world. Originally published in the UK by Jacaranda as part of the Twenty in 2020 Black British writers series, LOTE won both the James Tait Black Prize and The Republic of Consciousness Prize in 2021.But you don’t have to take our word for it: “LOTE accomplishes that rarest of literary feats—a totally fresh, funny, urgent iteration in a storied tradition: one hundred years later, the Bright Young Things are back.” — Torrey Peters, author of Detransition, Baby”You could tell the story this way: a queer Black woman, aesthete, researcher, living a life both lush and precarious, happens upon traces of an ancestor of sorts, a modernist poet, also Black. She goes looking for her—and finds her. In my way, I’ve itched for a version of that novel before. There’s the hunch that establishing an archive might help establish me. But there’s something about projects of queer biographical recovery that tend towards fixity, towards foundations, toward literal correspondences. And LOTE, the novel Shola von Reinhold has written, doesn’t fix, doesn’t found, isn’t literal. It shimmers, it slips, it extends.” — The Anarchist Review of BooksLOTE
Horrible Dance by Avery Lake (Brick Books)Horrible Dance is a rare text able to hold the full velocity of a survivor’s hurt and rage alongside a clear-eyed understanding of the extent and complexity of harm. In their honest accounting of a wide array of bad encounters, these poems point us, again, toward compassion, tenderness, and solidarity.But you don’t have to take our word for it: “Lake’s palimpsest of genders past and future is curious, strange, preoccupied, and lovely.” — Davey Davis, author of the earthquake room, DAVID, BAD GAY
* * *We hope you’ll follow along with us and our #ALUbestbets picks these next two weeks! Keep track and see all of the books on deck, right here.If you have your own accolades for these books to add, please do! Share in the comments below or on socials @alllitupcanada.