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Max Gordon Reading Event

Monday, November 2, 2015
12:00 AM
University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA), Multipurpose Room

Walking Through The Unusual Door: Identity, Witnessing, and Creating Our

Way To Liberation


In the 1940s, artist and mentor Beauford Delaney encouraged the young Harlem

writer James Baldwin to "open the unusual door." In this time of both unrest and

possibility, heartbreak and breakthrough, writer Max S. Gordon explores what it

means to walk through that unusual door, to be a witness rather than a spectator,

taking one’s power back from being “othered”, the need to change old paradigms of

fear to a new paradigm of inclusion, and how creativity will continue to lead us

forward and transform our lives. This conversation is for those interested in an

honest discussion on race, sexual identity, gender politics and addiction. Through

the use of autobiography and cultural criticism, with a particular focus on his piece

“Bill Cosby, Himself: Fame, Narcissism, and Sexual Violence”, Gordon explores the

connection between racism, sexism, homophobia and class in his work, and the

challenges facing artists and activists in our age.

Max S. Gordon is a writer and activist. He has been published in the anthologies

Inside Separate Worlds: Life Stories of Young Blacks, Jews and Latinos (University of

Michigan Press, 1991), Go the Way Your Blood Beats: An Anthology of African-

American Lesbian and Gay Fiction (Henry Holt, 1996) and Mixed Messages: An

Anthology of Literature to Benefit Hospice and Cancer Causes. His work has also

appeared on openDemocracy, Democratic Underground and Truthout, in Z

Magazine, Gay Times, Sapience, The New Civil Rights Movement, other progressive

online and print magazines in the U.S. and internationally. His published essays

include “Jesusland”, “Whitney Houston: Sister Can't Fly On One Wing”, “I Wish I

Knew How It Feels To Be Free: On ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ and ‘The Help’”,

“Maybe Yesterday But Not Tonight: A Black Homosexual Speaks To Mike Pence”, and

“Bill Cosby Himself: Fame, Narcissism and Sexual Violence”. Max S. Gordon is a

graduate of the University of Michigan's Residential College Creative Writing

Program, where he received several Hopwood Awards, a Roy W. Cowden Memorial

Fellowship, and a James Michener Scholarship to the University of Miami's Writing

Program. He was also a writer-in-residence at Yaddo Artists’ Retreat in Saratoga

Springs, NY.  Max is married to his life-partner and lives in New York City.

Max Gordon