Category:Brass, Perry

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Born in 1947 in Savannah, Georgia, Perry Brass is a gay writer living in New York City. He grew up in the 1950s and 60s, as he says, “in equal parts Southern, Jewish, economically impoverished, and very much gay.”

He has published 13 books and been a finalist six times in three categories (poetry; gay science fiction and fantasy; spirituality and religion) for national Lambda Literary Awards. One of the main themes in his writing has been the integration of sexuality and the religious or spiritual impulse, as exemplified in his novels Albert: or, The Book of Man, Angel Lust, and Substance of God. His writings have attempted to answer questions such as: Why are so many gay men religious and political conservatives? Why is the need for God so important to us? What is our own place in nature and the world?

Brass has been involved in the gay movement since 1969, when he co-edited the newspaper Come Out!, published by New York's Gay Liberation Front.

His poetry cycle "Five Gay Jewish Prayers" was used as part of the high holiday service at New York's Beth Simchat Torah congregation. The text was accepted (in 1985) as one of the first gay Jewish documents in the YIVO Archives of Jewish history. The cycle was set to choral music by Chris De Blasio, as "Five Prayers," which has been sung by several gay choruses.

In 1984, Brass's Night Chills, an early play dealing with the AIDS crisis, won a Jane Chambers International Gay Playwriting Award.

His collaborations with composers include the words for "All the Way Through Evening," a five-song cycle set by De Blasio; "Heartbeats" from Minnesota Public Radio; "The Angel Voices of Men" set by Ricky Ian Gordon and commissioned by the Dick Cable Musical Trust for the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, which has featured it on its CD Gay Century Songbook; "Three Brass Songs" with Grammy-nominated composer Fred Hersch; and "Waltzes for Men" also commissioned by the Dick Cable Musical Trust for the NYC Gay Men’s Chorus and set by Craig Carnahan.

Brass's non-fiction book, How to Survive Your Own Gay Life (Belhue Press, 1999) deals with the psychic and physical survival of gay men, with their spiritual and psychological growth, and with achieving happiness and maturity. It was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in religion and spirituality, and has served as the basis for many LGBT discussion and support groups, classes, and workshops.

Please check out his website for more info

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