Dixon, Melvin (1950–1992)
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The African American writer Melvin Dixon was born in Stamford, Connecticut. He earned a BA at Wesleyan University in 1971 and a Ph.D. from Brown University in 1975. During his career he published two critical, well-received collections of poetry. Change of Territory (1983) is an autobiographical and somewhat self-consciously cosmopolitan poem cycle in which Dixon charts and geographically metaphorizes his own intellectual development. The posthumously published Love’s Instruments (1995) offers similarly place-oriented poems as well as meditations on gay themes including Dixon’s own struggle with AIDS, most notably in the poems “One by One,” “Heartbeats,” and “Turning Forty in the 90s.” The volume also includes the often cited and controversial essay “I’ll Be Somewhere Listening for My Name,” with its opening line, “As gay men and lesbians, we are the sexual niggers of our society.”