Bent Boy Book‘s latest publication “Remembered Men” by Shane Allison is a must read for all lovers of experimental narrative and/or gay sex. The book is an adventure into gay life told in exquisite lyrics of love, lust, and loss, “Remembered Men” is a must read in the post everything period of the forever now. A long poem in the great tradition of American erotic poetry, this is a roller coaster ride in which you’re always getting off but never exiting the ride. Once the book is opened the eyes and soul soar into a world wherein the individual is transposed upon the collective, every cock it’s own and every cock the world. This book and Shane Allison reinforce the power in chapbooks.
Shane Allison has authored six chapbook collections of poetry including Ceiling of Mirrors, Black Fag, Cock and Balls, I Want to Fuck a Redneck, I Want to Eat Chinese Food Off Your Ass, and Eros in a Tearoom. His first volume of poetry, Slut Machine is available from Queer Mojo. He edits gay erotic fiction anthologies for Cleis Press, Rebel Satori Press and Bold Stroke Books. His erotic fiction has been published in Velvet Mafia, Las Vegas Noir, Best Black Gay Erotica, Best Gay Bondage, and five editions of Best Gay Erotica. He is at work on a new collection of poetry and a sex memoir.
Last night I was a little drunk and a little facebook happy, and I managed to connect with Shane and we composed an “interview” via facebook messages. I was a little sloppy during the process so forgive and be sure to get a copy of Remembered Men!
MP: Hey Shane, I’m really excited about your new book “Remembered Men”. It’s a great fuck you to traditional narrative. What inspired its creation?
SA: I originally got the idea from a John Ashbery poem. “Remembered Men” began as a single poem, but I felt the need to keep going as I thought about all these guys I have encountered in some way or another. As a reader of the piece, you can’t pinpoint if I am talking about one particular man or many men. Men have had some affect on me in some capacity whether it be sexual or emotional. I always like to think outside the box when I write. I’m always trying to come up with new approaches to the work. That’s very important to me.
MP: I know your heavily involved in erotica. Are you simply a smut junky or is there more to your obsession?
SA: People have labeled me as that, but even within the confines of the erotica genre, some of it is more than dick stroking. Being called a smut junky only tells me it’s time to flip the script.
MP: What do you consider the line to be between porn and erotica, if any? What draws you to erotic writing?
SA: I read where someone once described porn as being a blunt force over the head and erotica is like a feather that’s suppose to tease the senses. I think if you’re going to write porn, you have to be really fucking creative in approaching it. Work at making it new.
MP: How much of your work is fictional or real? Do you have any concern about the boundary between fiction and real life or is that a really blurry line for you?
SA: There’s a little bit of real life in everything I write. The fun part is figuring out what’s real and what is made up.
MP: What authors make you wet and a few of your favorite books, please?
SA: Being that I’m also an anthologist of erotica, I come across a lot of work that gets me going. Jeff Mann is great. He writes with great lyricism and beauty. A writer named Rob Wolfsham is also great. Being that I’m so busy with my own stuff plus editing, I feel bad about not having more time to read at leisure. I miss it. I’m so scatter-brained trying to do ten things at once. Seems like nothing ever gets finished. But I like my black classics like Langston Hughes, Wallace Thurman, James Baldwin, Octavia Butler. I want to read more young adult work. I’m reading the Cirque Du Freak series by Darren Shan. Really amazing.
MP: I know you’ve complained about living in Florida. Where exactly are you enduring and why are you there?
SA: I live in Tallahassee, Florida, which is north Florida. Tally is the capital of this swamp. I don’t really hate Florida, just where I live. This is my hometown and I’m over it by eight years. I moved back here after I finished grad school at The New School. I was fucking around, drinking, clubbing, bar-hopping. There was plenty of time for that considering I only had classes two days a week and they were at night, so I would spend the rest of the week screwing around when I should have been trying to figure out a way to stay in New York. I loved it there and knew it was right for me. I couldn’t find a place or a group where I was able to fit in. It’s funny that I know more people in New York through Facebook than I did when I was living there.
MP: I know what you mean about “knowing” people through facebook… besides being a writer your also an editor. What is the editing process like for you of other peoples work? How does editing influence how you write?
SA: I look for work that is well-written and grabs my attention out of the gate. I don’t like rushed writing, work thrown together. Good writing takes time and hard work. You have to care about what you’re writing. Even with erotica, it has to be more than just wanting to get the writer off. I look for stories that does that well. I hate sloppy storytelling.
MP: Do you have spiritual aspirations? Do you see erotica as being able to provide transcendental experience?
SA: No. I’m not spiritual at all, but yes, I do look at erotica as a way to transcend my work to new levels. I never like to stick to one thing. I’m all over the place.
MP: Do you have a partner?
SA: I don’t have a partner.
MP: How do potential love interests respond to your work? You do want love, don’t you
SA: I would love to share myself with someone great who meets at least some of my criteria. He really has to get me though. I don’t want to be kept around just to fulfill someone’s fantasy. I’m not trying to be a walking cock for a guy. Some will ask what I do, and I’m happy to tell them that I’m a writer. Then they ask what I write and I say poetry and fiction. I never give specifics out of fear they would clam up if I told them I write sex stories. You know, thinking that I would write about them or something, which I do. LOL I like to get it down before the cum dries on my jeans.
MP: I know you’ve published quite a few chap books and shorter pieces in anthologies, what draws you to these more overlooked publications? Are you working on a longer work or are you committed to shorter pieces? Are you committed to experimental fiction? What interests you about breaking from norms?
SA: People are always on me about writing a book. I have had like three false starts and then end up stopping because I get distracted with other shit. Poems, short stories, editing. I’m not committed to one form of writing. I find out what the rules are and then I break them. Oh. Almost forgot. I’m working on turning “Remembered Men” into a longer book length work.