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Holding Me Together: Essays and Poems Paperback – August 5, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 206 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (August 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595366732
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595366736
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,246,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Duane Simolke's seminal work Holding Me Together is a gratifying mixture of scholarship, art, and personal expression." -- Ronald L. Donaghe, best-selling author of the gay novels All Over Him and Common Sons

From the Publisher

Long before the 1999 publication of Duane Simolke’s book Holding Me Together, many of its poems and essays had appeared in publications and on Web sites. Simolke began finding readers from around the world, especially for the long essay that opens Holding Me Together, "Reactions to Homophobia."

Dann Hazel used "Reactions" as one of the resources for his book Witness: Gay and Lesbian Clergy Report from the Front. Edited by Paul Harris, the book From Our Own Lips: The Book of GLBT Quotations includes a quote from "Not Worth Dying Over," another essay from Holding. Not long after Holding’s publication, StoneWall Society gave the book a Pride in the Arts Award.

Now, Simolke presents a revised, second edition. The updated version of "Reactions to Homophobia" integrates new research, from hate crimes in Canada to the ex-gay movement in the United States. With the first edition of Holding, Simolke had left out some poems he wanted to add, because he felt they needed more work; those poems appear in the second edition. He also added introductory notes that give background to some of the works.

While not all the book’s essays and poems focus on gay issues, the overall collection reflects gay pride, celebrates gay relationships, and embraces a more universal desire for tolerance and understanding.

More About the Author

Duane Simolke (pronounced "Dwain Smoky"). Education: Belmont University (B.A., '89, Nashville, TN), Hardin-Simmons University (M.A., '91, Abilene, TX), and Texas Tech University (Ph.D., '96, Lubbock, TX), all with a major in English.

Writing published in nightFire, Mesquite, Caprock Sun, Midwest Poetry Review, International Journal on World Peace, and many other publications. Author or co-author of the following books. The Acorn Stories. Stein, Gender, Isolation, and Industrialism: New Readings of Winesburg, Ohio. Holding Me Together. Degranon: A Science Fiction Adventure. The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer. The Return of Innocence: A Fantasy Adventure.

Winner, Allbooks Reviewers Choice Award and four StoneWall Society Pride in the Arts Awards.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 6 customer reviews
Reading this book will surely give them strength.
Copernicus again
His growing body of work includes essays in three anthologies, a book of essays, two novels, and a full-length autobiography.
Ronald L. Donaghe
One of my favorites is "Gay Sex is unnatural. Yes, for a heterosexual."

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Len on September 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
First off, I want to let you know that I'm not a professional reviewer. I am a person that just loves to read. If my reviews get at least one person to read a book then I've done what I have set out to do.

The latest book is "Holding Me Together" by Duane Simolke. The largest part of the book is an essay titled Reactions to Homophobia. This work is very thought provoking. One of my favorites is "Gay Sex is unnatural. Yes, for a heterosexual." This essay is full of ideas along this line. Duane has taken homophobic statements and given his take on them. Others include: "Homosexuals are just a bunch of men dressing up like women", "The average gay male has 5000-15,000 different partners per year." ... "Homosexuality is a Mental Illness", and "The Parts don't fit." Duane has done his research. He has many references and interesting answers to scriptures, websites, books, etc. Once you have read his essay you will want to pick up your copy of King James and check it out in a different light.
There is also a collection of poems. Now I'm not normally a big poetry person however, there were a couple that touched me, as the style is tight and the imagery wonderful. Faces parts I - VII, really aroused my heart. Or in Bareback, Duane hits some, where they don't like it.
If you want something to say when someone says a Homophobic remark? Well, try some of Duane's.
I would recommend this to anyone. Someone that is just coming to terms with their own sexuality and they need answers to remarks they have grown up hearing. Or to the person that is making ignorant homophobic remarks.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Drew Brainiard on September 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
Typically collections of "Gay" essays are by well-known columnists like Bruce Bawer or Michael Thomas Ford, so it's rather refreshing to read a collection by an ordinary citizen with nothing more to recommend him than insight, intelligence and sensitivity. Through poetry and a series of mini-essays within a larger essay, Holding Me Together offers a commonsense perspective on what it means to be homosexual in the 21st Century.
The poetry is quite lovely; in particular "Chasing Seagulls," "Detour," "Sock Poem," "Pharisee" and "Home," but most of the collection is devoted to the essays.
Simolke writes well (as one would expect from the author of THE ACORN STORIES), with a mild-mannered logic that nonetheless neatly skewers some of the most beloved clichés about GLBT persons: "they just haven't met the right person;" "they recruit;" "they live that gay lifestyle;" "it's against nature;" "God didn't create Adam and Steve."
In "If there's nothing wrong with it why is it illegal," which is part of the longer essay "Reactions to Homophobia," Simolke writes: "As if it weren't bad enough that fundamentalists try to boss all their fellow mortals around, they also try to boss God around. They keep telling Him which groups of people He can love, which religious systems He can support, which marriages He can bless, which gender He can see as superior, which candidate He can endorse, which styles of music He can allow for religious lyrics, which musical instruments He can allow in places of worship, which styles of clothing He can condone, etc. That list could go on forever. If you want to boss God around, that's your folly. But I won't let you control my life or my mind."
In his exploration of what it is to be gay, Simolke manages to touch on a more fundamental truth: what it is to be human.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ronald L. Donaghe on September 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
Duane Simolke's seminal work Holding Me Together is a gratifying mixture of scholarship, art, and personal expression. In the long essay, "Reactions to Homophobia," readers will meet an intelligent and patient narrator who takes virtually every ignorant question and misstatement seemingly ever made about gays and lesbians and, as though speaking to those who ask such questions or make disparaging remarks about homosexuals, refutes the ignorance. Simolke does, indeed, shed a brilliant light into the dark recesses of homophobia.
But Holding Me Together is more than a refutation of homophobia. It is also a quite brilliant and accessible apologia for those who know that the Bible of Judeo-Christian heritage is chock full of contradictions yet are unable to point them out so well as Simolke does. At the same time, Simolke does not bash the Bible, but shows how it is truly utter nonsense to interpret its scripture so literally.
The long essay is actually divided into a delightful collection of short pieces, focused around the notion that he is speaking to homophobes, fundamentalists, concerned (but ignorant) heterosexuals, and others. A short list of the subtitles of "Reactions to Homophobia" indicates what the reader can look forward to. "Unlike gay people, I don't tell people what my wife and I do in bed." "If a normal guy or a white guy gets beat up, hate crimes laws can't help him. That isn't fair." "Homosexuals can't be Christians." "The parts don't fit." "Gay people should try to be cured."
But this book is more than the long essay.
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