Harvard Book Store welcomes ROBERT GLÜCK—poet, fiction writer, critic, and editor—for a discussion of his new book About Ed. He will be joined in conversation by AARON LECKLIDER—author of Love’s Next Meeting: The Forgotten History of Homosexuality and the Left in American Culture.
About About Ed
“I was a writer, but not the writer I needed to be. For that I had to become a different person,” Robert Glück, widely acclaimed as a novelist and as a theorist of “the new narrative,” recently told the Paris Review, in which a section of About Ed has appeared. About Ed is Glück’s portrait of the artist Ed Aulerich-Sugai, his sometime lover, met in the seventies in San Francisco, when gay life emerged unabashedly from the closet. “I wanted to find in Ed something to latch on to that was outside my egotism and fear, my threadbare relation to the world—a leap through Ed into lyric time,” Glück has said, and in this book that is both “a novel and my version of an AIDS memoir” he wanted to capture the full range of his feelings for Ed: “estranged from Ed, bored by him, moved by him.”
It is a book about the life they lived together—art and writing and family and sex and death—and, composed over many decades, it is also a book about how the past continues to change in memory and to charge the present. “What is the right question to ask about a life?” Glück asks, describing About Ed as a “collaborative project,” since “Ed helped me write this book.” Ed gave him “notes to fashion a chapter about the day he was diagnosed so I could describe his experience from the inside,” and “after Ed died, Daniel, Ed’s partner, lent me Ed’s dream journals. . . . He started writing them in 1970, the year that we met. We both used his journals, not as puzzles to solve the truth of a self but as a commons producing images that we harvested for paintings and poems. And fifty years later, there I was reading and copying out and running away from his dreams. Are they a condensed version of Ed? Shorthand? Distillation? Is he knowable and unknowable in the same degree sleeping or waking?”
About Ed is a challenging and beautiful book by one of America’s finest and most adventurous writers.
Praise for About Ed
“I’ve probably never anticipated a book so eagerly. About Ed is love the way it happens: awkward, lyrical with antagonism, stuff & flourish. Love has duration and is irreplaceable. And this is such a book.” —Eileen Myles, author of a “Working Life”