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My Diva: 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  24 ratings  ·  6 reviews
From Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Midler, and Diana Ross to Queen Elizabeth I, Julia Child, and Princess Leia, these divas have been sister, alter ego, fairy godmother, or model for survival to gay men and the closeted boys they once were. And anyone—straight or gay, young or old, male or female—who ever needed a muse, or found one, will see their own longing mirrored here as w ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by University of Wisconsin Press
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Jun 13, 2009 rated it liked it
What woman doesn't want to be a gay icon? Answer: No one.
Like most collections, My Diva is hit or miss. My Diva is at its best when the author is tying in the life of his chosen icon with his experiences as a gay man. My Diva is weakest when the author is providing a wikipedia definition of what a diva is, or is simply providing haphazardly organized biographical information.
Jim Nason wrote with such passion about Celine Dion, I immediately downloaded a bunch of songs off her French language alb
The voices in this anthology are as varied and colorful as the women they extol. The book opens up whole vistas about the females lauded, critiqued and observed as well as the impact on the gay men who took them as their idols. I’ve learned new things about famous figures and been exposed to women I’ve never heard of before now.

The ladies are fierce and funny, sober and reflective, factual and fictional. You may find some of your select divas within these pages or discover new ones. Either way,
Brent Calderwood
Aug 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gay
(as reviewed at

For culture vultures like me, My Diva is a thrill to behold. Edited by poet and fiction writer Michael Montlack, the book includes clever, urbane, campy, and ernest essays about some of my favorite pop culture icons. Encomiums include Grace Paley by Mark Doty, Margaret Cho by Kenji Oshima, and Eartha Kitt by D. A. Powell.

Honestly, there's an embarrassment of riches here, and some of the best essays are about lesser-known women or by emerging author
Jun 29, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: culture, essays
An interesting mix of short essays. I didn't know many of the divas, and was saddened that no one chose to write about Ella Fitzgerald. One writer said that a true diva must have detractors to be a diva. And who didn't like Ella? So there you go.

Some of the essays were hard to follow. Others bordered on brilliant. My favorites were the ones about Lucille Ball, Endora (yes, there are some fictional divas in this book) and Patti LuPone. I liked how the essays were listed in diva birth order, from
Erin Tuzuner
Parker Posey, Elizabeth Taylor, Bjork: I could read about them endlessly. This collection, like all collections, is hit or miss. From the earnest to the erudite, there is a reflection of everyone contained within these essays that capture fame, isolation, and weaponized glamour.
Collin Kelley
Apr 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I'm totally biased since my essay on Jeanne Moreau is included in this collection. However, I must say I'm honored to be included in such a gorgeous book with so many talented writers. Be sure to check this one out. ...more
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Michael Montlack is the editor of the essay anthology MY DIVA: 65 GAY MEN ON THE WOMEN WHO INSPIRE THEM (University of Wisconsin Press, 2009) and the author of three poetry chapbooks: COVER CHARGE (Winner of the 2007 Gertrude Prize) and GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS (Pudding House, 2008) and THE SLIP (Poets Wear Prada, 2009). His work has appeared in CIMARRON REVIEW, SWINK, THE NEW YORK QUARTERLY, POET LORE ...more

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