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Zigzag: Phil Gambone Reads
SM Poetry and Prose Café
Wednesday, January 10

December 31, 2023

Philip Gambone, a regular contributor to Lokkal, has been publishing books, essays, reviews and feature articles for over forty years. He is a recipient of numerous awards and artist's fellowships.

Phil will read from his forthcoming collection of short stories,Zigzag, a series of 16 stories about the lives of older gay men." My aim," he says, "is to tell stories about a segment of the gay community that hasn't received much attention in fiction. I want to show the rich complexity of gay men of my generation—their problems, anxieties, love affairs, dreams, domestic arrangements, and fragile but gutsy humanness."

While each story is self-contained, characters from one story sometimes show up in another. "Boston, where all the stories are set," he explains, "is not that big a city. I figured it would be strange if some of these gay men didn't end up in each other's stories. And in the final story, which is set at an art opening, quite a few of them show up, with some interesting and volatile results. The title of the collection comes from that final story, a metaphor for how our lives may seem to zigzag through time and events but, in fact, describe a straight—pardon the pun!—unified, unbroken path. Maybe that's rosy thinking, but that's how I see it."

Three of the stories in Zigzag have already been published in literary magazines; and one has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Phil says, "I'm thrilled to be doing my first in-person, public reading from my new book here in San Miguel, which has such a vibrant writing community."


Phil Gambone Reads Zigzag
Wednesday, January 10, 5pm
San Miguel Poetry and Prose Café
Café Murmullo, de Ancha San Antonio


Books by Phil Gambone

First Book - The Language We Use Up Here, short stories, 1991, (Dutton)

Nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. One story included in Best American Short Stories, 1989 (Houghton Mifflin).

Praise - "Philip Gambone he has done something extraordinary—he has written with honesty, humor, and compassion about the lives of ordinary gay men," said writer and editor George Stambolian. "His characters speak to us in voices that are almost hypnotically real. They charm us with their words only to catch us with startling revelations of truth."


Second Book - Something Inside: Conversations with Gay Fiction Writers, 1999 (U. Wisconsin Press)

Named one of the "Best Books of 1999" by Pride magazine. Recently reissued by ReQueered Tales Press.

Praise - Publisher's Weekly "Gambone's knowledge of each writer's work and his sensitivity to the craft is impressive. While consciously eschewing 'literary gossip,' his carefully probing interviews provide insight into the working methods and aesthetic, personal and social concerns of a varied group."

Based on many years of interviews conducted with LGBTQ writers, both for journals and for a weekly radio show on WOMR in Provincetown, Massachusetts.


Third Book - Beijing, novel, 2003 (University of Wisconsin)

Nominated for two awards, including a PEN/Bingham Award for Best First Novel.

Inspired by a teaching stint in China.


Fourth Book - Travels in a Gay Nation: Portraits of LGBTQ Americans, 2010 (University of Wisconsin)

Finalist, for Foreword Magazine's Anthology of the Year. Named an Outstanding Book in the High School Category by the American Association of School Libraries. Named a Best Book in Special Interest Category by the Public Library Association.

Praise - "This collection of interviews with gay activists and artists is like going to dinner with people you'd love to know but don't," wrote novelist Andrew Holleran. "Phil Gambone is the perfect stand-in for the reader: impressively prepared, sympathetic, and smart."

"This was an enormously fun book to work on. I got to travel all over the country interviewing prominent, interesting, courageous LGBTQ folk from all walks of life, from Congressman Barney Frank and actor George Takei, the Mr. Sulu of Star Trek, to writer David Sedaris and lesbian cartoonist Alison Bechdel."


Fifth Book: As Far as I Can Tell, memoir, 2020 (Rattling Good Yarns Press)

Named one of the Best Books of 2020 by the Boston Globe.

Traces the journey that his father made with the Fifth Armored Division during World War II. "It's a double memoir," Phil explains. "Not only was I trying to reconstruct what my father's experience was like, an experience he never spoke about, but I was also writing a parallel memoir, about what it was like for me, a gay man who was rejected for service in Vietnam because I was gay, to learn about my father's journey."


Phil has also contributed numerous essays, reviews, features pieces, and scholarly articles to several U.S. journals including The New York Times Book Review and The Boston Globe. He has contributed three chapters on Chinese history to two textbooks published Cheng and Tsui.

His longer essays have appeared in a number of anthologies, including Hometowns (Dutton), Sister and Brother (Harper San Francisco), Wrestling with the Angel (Riverside), Inside Out (Pursue University Press), Boys Like Us (Avon), and Wonderlands (University of Wisconsin), and Big Trips (Wisconsin).

Phil has taught writing at the University of Massachusetts, Boston College, and in the freshman expository writing program at Harvard. He has twice been awarded Distinguished Teaching Citations by Harvard. In 2013, he was honored by the Department of Continuing Education upon completing his twenty-fifth year of teaching for the Harvard Extension School. He recently retired from a 44-year career as a high school English teacher, most recently at Boston University Academy.

Phil has received artist's fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Massachusetts Arts Council.

While in San Miguel, where he spends every winter, Phil is currently working on a new memoir and continuing his series of pieces for Lokkal under the general heading "The Writer in Mexico." The series looks at writers—both foreign and Mexican—who have been inspired by this country to write novels, short stories, poems, plays and travel accounts.

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