These smart, lyrical essays, written under the doomy shadow of the AIDS crisis and the Reagan-Bush era, are some of the most beautiful you could possibly hope to read. Wojnarowicz moves seamlessly from meditations on a desolate life on the road, to a New York of junkies and Hudson-side hook ups, to polemics on the failures of government. Read this slowly. Savour every paragraph.— Madeleine
David Wojnarowicz is one of the most revolutionary thinkers and artists to come out of 80s queer art scene, and one of the most forgotten. A striking memoir-manifesto that is overflowing with anger for the world as it is and an overwhelming desire for the world as it could be, Close to the Knives, for better or for worse, deeply resonates today.— Gage
The savage, beautiful, and unforgettable memoirs of an extraordinary artist, activist, and iconoclast who lit up the New York art scene in the late 20th century
David Wojnarowicz's brief but eventful life was not easy. From a suburban adolescence marked by neglect, drugs, prostitution, and abuse to a squalid life on the streets of New York City, to fame - and infamy - as an activist and controversial visual artist whose work was lambasted in the halls of Congress, all before his early death from AIDS at age 37, Wojnarowicz seemed to be at war with a homophobic "establishment" and the world itself. Yet what emerged from the darkness was a truly extraordinary artist and human being - an angry young man of remarkable poetic sensibilities who was inordinately sympathetic to those who, like him, lived and struggled outside society's boundaries.
Close to the Knives is his searing yet strangely beautiful account told in a collection of powerful essays. An author whom reviewers have compared to Kerouac and Genet, David Wojnarowicz mesmerizes, horrifies, and delights in equal measure with his unabashed honesty. At once savage and funny, poignant and sexy, compassionate and unforgiving, his words and stories cut like knives, leaving indelible marks on all who listen to them.