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An exhibition tour of “Robert Giard: Towards the Particular”

On September 27th, Scott Rayter, Associate Director of the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies and lecturer in English and Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto, gave a tour of the exhibition Robert Giard: Towards the Particular at the University of Toronto Art Center. 

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Alison Bechdel: September Portrait of the Month

Alison Bechdel, Grand Isle, VT, 1995  Cartoonist Alison Bechdel was born in 1960 in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, to Roman Catholic parents who were both teachers. She attended Simon’s Rock College, and then transferred to Oberlin, graduating in 1981 with a BA in studio art and art history. She moved to New York, where the feminist newspaper WomaNews published her first work in its June 1983 issue. This drawing represented the beginning of her long-running comic strip, Dykes to Watch Out For, which developed from single-panel drawings to multi-paneled strips and from unconnected stories to a serialized plotline focused on a group of lesbian characters. A year later other outlets started running Dykes to Watch Out For, and a collection of the strips to date was published by Firebrand Books in 1986. From 1988 to 1990, The Advocate published “Servants to the Cause,” Bechdel’s one-page serial comic strip about the staff of a gay community newspaper. She moved to Duxbury, Vermont, in 1991, and continued her career as a full-time cartoonist, writing and drawing strips for numerous magazines and Web sites. In 2006, Bechdel published the autobiographical book, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, which chronicled in text and line drawings her childhood and her relationship to her gay, closeted father. The graphic memoir received mainstream success and critical praise from sources such as The New York Times, The Times of London, New York magazine, Entertainment Weekly, and Time magazine. Fun Home was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and earned the Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Work. Bechdel’s second book, Are You My Mother?, also a graphic memoir, was published in 2012 and investigated her relationship with her mother. It received acclaim from The New York Times Book Review, won the Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Non-Fiction, and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Memoir or Biography. Bechdel was a Mellon Residential Fellow for Arts and Practice at the University of Chicago in 2012. In the same year, she received the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement from Publishing Triangle, and is a 2014 MacArthur Genius Award recipient. The author currently lives in Bolton, Vermont.

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Mark Doty: August Portrait of the Month

Mark Doty, Provincetown, MA, 1992 Born in 1953 in Maryville, Tennessee, Mark Doty is an award-winning poet and memoirist. He holds a BA from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and an MFA in creative writing from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. His first book of poetry, titled Turtle, Swan, was published in 1987. When his partner Wally Roberts tested positive for HIV in 1989, Doty’s writing changed dramatically. My Alexandria, Doty’s 1993 book, is largely informed by the AIDS epidemic; it brought the author important accolades, including the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the T.S. Eliot Prize. Roberts’s death in 1994 inspired Doty’s 1995 book of poetry, Atlantis, as well as his 1996 memoir Heaven’s Coast. Another memoir, 1999’s Firebird, deals with the author’s childhood in the American South and in Arizona. Dog Years (2007), which won the American Library Association Stonewall Book Award, is about coping with the loss of a lover and the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001. Doty’s poems are published frequently in magazines such as The Atlantic Monthly, The London Review of Books, Ploughshares, Poetry, and The New Yorker. His most recent collection of poems, Fire to Fire, won the 2008 National Book Award for poetry. Doty is currently Distinguished Professor and Writer-in Residence in the English Department at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. He lives in New York City and the Springs in East Hampton, New York.

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