Close to the Knives

A veteran of New York’s East Village art scene, Wojnarowicz made headlines in 1989 when his irreverent catalog essay for a group show at the Artists’ Space gallery prompted the NEA to withdraw funding for the show (it was later restored). Close to the Knives is his first book, a trenchant collection of essays and diary entries on the subject of being gay in a homophobic culture. Wojnarowicz writes like a big-hearted William S. Burroughs, describing his formative years as an abused child, runaway, and Times Square prostitute who turned his first trick at the age of 9. Now 36 and stricken with AIDS, he speaks for a vanishing segment of the thirtysomething generation, reporting from the trenches in blisteringly , anguished prose: ”I wake up every morning in this killing machine called America, and I’m carrying this rage like a blood-filled egg.” A-

Close to the Knives
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