The set of resources listed below were collated by participants in a panel at the annual conference of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) on February 9, 2017, in Washington, DC. The panel was entitled “The Elegy Endures: 30 Years of Community Witness to HIV/AIDS.” It was organized by Celeste Gainey and included Irene Borger, Michael Broder, David Groff, Reginald Harris, and Terry Wolverton. The panelist bios and their suggested resource materials on the history and culture of HIV/AIDS are listed below.


Irene Borger

Irene Borger is a writer, teacher, and director of the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts. The former artist-in-residence at AIDS Project Los Angeles, where she founded the Writing Program, she is the editor of the anthology, From a Burning House, and The Force of Curiosity, a book of interviews with risk-taking playwrights, choreographers, composers, and artists. The audio version of From a Burning House was nominated for a Grammy in the Spoken Word category and installed at the Whitney Museum. Irene teaches on-going writing workshops in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, and at Rancho la Puerta, Tecate, BC. For information on training workshops – for writers wishing to start community-based writing programs – and the use of stories from Burning House for public readings, please contact:

Irene’s Suggestions

Irene Borger, ed., From A Burning House: The AIDS Project Los Angeles Writers’ Workshop Collection, intro by Tony Kushner, Washington Square Press, 1996

Rafael Campo, The Poetry of Healing: A Doctor’s Education in Empathy, Identity, and Desire, W.W. Norton, 1996

Carolyn Forché, Against Forgetting: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness, Norton, 1993

Rita Charon, et al, The Principles and Practice of Narrative Medicine, Oxford University Press, 2016

Rita Charon, Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness, Oxford University Press, 2008

David Gere, How to Make Dance in an Epidemic: Tracking Choreography in the Age of AIDS, University of Wisconsin Press, 2004

Timothy F. Murphy and Suzanne Poirier, eds., Writing AIDS: Gay Literature, Language, and Analysis, Columbia University Press, 1993 (includes excellent bibliography)

Anatole Broyard, Intoxicated by My Illness and other the writings on life and death, Clarkson Potter, 1992


Michael Broder

Michael Broder is a gay male HIV-positive poet and founding director of the Indolent Arts Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to poetry, art, and justice through publication, production, and community outreach. In 1989 he worked at a policy organization that helped write the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Ryan White Care Act. In the 90s he worked in continuing medical education, spending Big Pharma dollars on AIDS education programs for doctors, nurses, physician assistants, HIV counselors, and community members. In 2015 he started the HIV Here & Now Project, gathering new poems about HIV and AIDS by a diverse and inclusive group of poets, many of whom were not yet born when AIDS first surfaced. His 2014 book, This Life Now, was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry.

Michael’s Suggestions

How to Have Sex in an Epidemic (pamphlet, 1983), Richard Berkowitz and Michael Callen

An Early Frost (Film, 1885), John Erman

The Normal Heart (play, 1985), Larry Kramer

A Virus Knows no Morals (film, 1986), Rosa von Praunheim

And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic (nonfiction, 1987), Randy Shilts

Angels in America (play, 1993), Tony Kushner

Fast Trip, Long Drop (film, 1994), Gregg Bordowitz

Is the Rectum a Grave? (essay, 1987) Leo Bersani

AIDS and Its Metaphors (theory, 1989), Susan Sontag

How to Survive a Plague (film, 2012), David France

Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival (memoir, 2014), Sean Strub


David Groff

David Groff’s book of poems Clay was chosen by Michael Waters as winner of the Louise Bogan Award and published in 2013 by Trio House Press. His previous collection, Theory of Devolution, published in 2002 by the University of Illinois Press, was selected by Mark Doty for the National Poetry Series. Both books were finalists for the Lambda Literary Award. With Jim Elledge he edited the Lambda Award-winning anthology Who’s Yer Daddy?: Gay Writers Celebrate Their Mentors and Forerunners (University of Wisconsin Press, 2013) and with Phillip Clark he edited the anthology Persistent Voices: Poetry by Writers Lost to AIDS (Alyson, 2009). For his friend Robin Hardy he completed the book The Crisis of Desire: AIDS and the Fate of Gay Brotherhood, which was published in 1999 by Houghton Mifflin and in 2000 by the University of Minnesota Press. David received his MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop and his MA in English from the University of Iowa. He is a cofounder of the Publishing Triangle, the association of LGBT people in publishing, a member of the board of Lambda Literary, and an executor of the estate of writer Paul Monette. David works as an independent book editor and publishing consultant and teaches in the MFA creative writing program of the City College of New York.  He lives in New York with his husband, Clay Williams.

David’s Suggestions

Robin Hardy with David Groff, The Crisis of Desire: AIDS and the Fate of Gay Brotherhood. Houghton Mifflin, 1999; University of Minnesota Press, 2002.

Paul Monette, Last Watch of the Night: Essays Too Personal and Otherwise. Harcourt, 1994

Paul Monette, Love Alone: Eighteen Elegies for Rog. St. Martin’s Press, 1988.

Paul Monette, Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir. Harcourt, 1988

Tory Dent, Black Milk. Sheep Meadow, 2005.

Tory Dent, HIV, Mon Amour: Poems. Sheep Meadow, 1999.

Michael Klein, ed., Poets for Life: Seventy-Six Poets Respond to AIDS. Crown, 1989; Braziller, 1992.

Michael Klein and Richard McCann, eds., Things Shaped in Passing: More “Poets for Life” Writing from the AIDS Pandemic. Persea, 1994.

 Marie Howe and Michael Klein, eds., In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic. Persea, 1995.

Philip Clark and David Groff, eds., Persistent Voices: Poetry by Writers Lost to AIDS. Alyson Books, 2009.

Paul Monette: The Brink of Summer’s End directed by Monte Bramer. Narrated by Linda Hunt.


Reginald Harris

Director of Library and Outreach Services for Poets House in New York City, Reginald Harris won the 2012 Cave Canem /Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize for Autogeography, published in 2014 by Northwestern University Press. A Pushcart Prize Nominee and Associate Editor for Lambda Literary Foundation’s Lambda Literary Review, his work has appeared in numerous journals, anthologies, and other publications including Black Gay Genius: Answering Joseph Beam’s Call, Encyclopedia of Contemporary Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Literature of the United States, Spaces Between Us: Poetry, Prose and Art on HIV/AIDS, BuzzFeed, and POZ Magazine. He and his partner live in Brooklyn where he pretends to work on another manuscript – Twitter: @rmharris

Reginald’s suggestions

Melvin Dixon, Love’s Instruments. Tia Chucha Press, 1995

Kelly Norman Ellis and ML Hunter, eds. Spaces Between Us: Poetry, Prose and Art on HIV/AIDS. Third World Press, 2010.

Randall Horton, M L Hunter and Becky Thompson, eds. Fingernails Across the Chalkboard: Poetry and Prose on HIV/AIDS from the Black Diaspora.  Third World Press, 2007.

Martin Duberman, Hold Tight Gently: Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and the Battlefield of AIDS. The New Press, 2014

Justin A. Joyce and Dwight A. McBride, eds. A Melvin Dixon Critical Reader. University Press of Mississippi, 2010

Annual “State of AIDS in Black America” reports from Black AIDS Institute (Los Angeles, CA) Available as PDF download here:

2016 report focusing on PrEP:


Terry Wolverton

Terry Wolverton is the author of ten books of fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry, including Insurgent Muse: Life and Art at the Woman’s Building published in 2002 by City Lights Publishers, and Embers a novel in poems, published in 2003 by Red Hen Press. Her latest poetry collection, Ruin Porn, will be published at the end of 2017. She has also edited fifteen literary compilations. She is the founder of Writers At Work, a creative writing studio in Los Angeles, and Affiliate Faculty in the MFA Writing Program at Antioch University Los Angeles. Website:

Terry’s Suggestions

Alvarez, Pablo. Gil Cuadros’ AZT-Land: A Queer Chicano Literary Heritage. Thesis. California State University Northridge, 2009. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print., Pablo&submit=Go&scope=. Web.

A&U: America’s AIDS Magazine

Attinello, Paul. “Closeness and Distance: Songs about AIDS.” – Share research. N.p., n.d.

Attinello, Paul. “Deaths and Silences: Coding and Defiance in Music about AIDS.” The Oxford Handbook of Music Censorship, ed. Patricia Hall, March 2015.

Attinello, Paul. “Time, Work, and Chronic Illness.” Music Theory Online: A Journal for the Society of Music Theory, Volume 15, Number 3 and 4, August 2009.

Cuadros, Gil. City of God. San Francisco: City Lights, 1994.

Niemoeller, Michael. Stone made flesh: poems. Los Angeles: Silverton Books, 1995.

Wolverton, Terry. Blood whispers: L.A. writers on AIDS. Los Angeles: Silverton Books, 1991. Print.

Wolverton, Terry. Blood whispers 2: L.A. writers on AIDS. Los Angeles: Silverton Books, 1994.


Celeste Gainey

Celeste Gainey is the author of the poetry collection, the GAFFER, (Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press, 2015). Her chapbook, In the land of speculation & seismography (Seven Kitchens Press, 2011), was runner-up for the 2010 Robin Becker Prize. Graduating with a BFA in Film & Television from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, as well as earning an MFA in Creative Writing/Poetry from Carlow University, Gainey was the first woman to be admitted to the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) as a gaffer, and has spent many years working with light in film and architecture.

Celeste’s suggestions

Schulman, Sarah. My American History: Lesbian and Gay Life During the Reagan/Bush Years. New York: Routledge, 1994.

Schulman, Sarah. The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.

D’Haene, Elise. Licking Our Wounds. Sag Harbor, NY: Permanent Press, 1997.

Trinidad, David, ed., A Fast Life: The Collected Poems of Tim Dlugos. Nightboat Books, 2011

Murphy, Tim. Christadora: A Novel. New York: Grove Press, 2016.

Needle, Chael and Goettel, Diane, eds., Art & Understanding: Literature from the first 20 Years of A&U, Black Lawrence Press, 2014.

Instagram: @the_aids_memorial (The AIDS Memorial)

@lgbt_history (LGBT History)

@makinggayhistorypodcast (Eric Marcus)