chapter
Fiction: New Queer Narrative
Pages 15

Around 1980 two gay men, Bruce Boone and Robert Glück, were talking about how to describe their writings, which at that point were heavily influenced by the Language poets. Boone said, “How about New Narrative? What a stupid name” (qtd. in Jackson, 26). A genre was born. New Narrative became at least marginally canonized as a critical term when, in 1984, Steve Abbott published his article “Notes on Boundaries: New Narrative,” which describes a loose but discernible group of writers including Boone, Glück, Kathy Acker, Dennis Cooper, Michael Amnasan, and Dodie Bellamy. Since the late 1980s the names associated with this school have grown in number to include, among others, Sarah Schulman, Bo Huston, Gary Indiana, Kevin Killian, the Canadian collective Dumb Bitch Deserves to Die, Dorothy Allison-the list could continue. Schulman, reviewing Killian’s Bedrooms Have Windows in 1986, provided an early recognition that something was afoot in terms of “an evolving literary movement”: “This trend consists of gay men and lesbian writers who are informed by the last 30 years of the avant-garde but [who] show feelings, don’t think they’re better than other people and put words together in a way that everyone can understand, even while using unusual rhythms and word orders” (Shulman, 60). She ends her statement not with a summation of the genre but with an ironic jab at the Bush administration: “It’s a kinder, gentler avantgarde.”