Alexander Stille’s The Sullivanians is a compulsive read. For several years, I intersected (peripherally) with the Sullivanians, always wondering but never quite knowing who they were and what they were about. Their base of operations extended from Columbia University down to the Lower East Side, with primary activities on the Upper West Side. They began as what might be called a noble experiment, a necessary, pioneering challenge to 1950s socio-sexual norms; they became, inarguably, a cult that was undone “by the thing [they] had set out to destroy: the family.” I highlighted many passages; here are a few that give a sense of the tensions around which Stille structures the book:
There is some redemption; there’s more heartbreak. The impact lingers.
I want to thank C.D. Johnson, editor, and the excellent team at Rogue Scholars Press, for the long hard work of putting together this excellent anthology. The poems are two ways of remembering New Orleans. "Afternoon Rain" grew out of a translation workshop I took with the remarkable Sholeh Wolpe; it springs from a passage by Forugh Farrokhzad, the "Rebel Poet of Iran." I'm honored to be included alongside friends and luminaries such as Patricia Carragon, Wayne Kral, Thaddeus Rutkowski, Sarah Sarai, and so many others.