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The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Please welcome to the world … New York Diary by Tim Dlugos, edited by David Trinidad (Sibling Rivalry Press)

 

‘This diary, written in Tim Dlugos’ first six months in the City That Never Sleeps, is a record of his immersion in the downtown poetry scene and a gay lifestyle that was then relentlessly promiscuous. From the very beginning, when he “gobbles up” some chocolate mints left behind by Joe Brainard, Tim is like Alice eating a cake that changes her size; he’s off and running in a Wonderland of art openings and late-night escapades at the baths. In the forty-four years that have elapsed since Tim wrote this diary, the world has changed several times over: AIDS, 9/11, Coronavirus. The New York that Tim captures in these pages is long gone. While it gives us a few precious glimpses of that lost world, his diary is a reminder of how quickly a world can disappear.’ — SRP

You can buy the book here

 

“Like a prose version of a chatty Frank O’Hara poem, Tim Dlugos’ New York Diary is dense with the goings-on of a crush of proper names we normally might not care much about. Yet—again like O’Hara—Tim, in his accurately super-speedy rendering of the summer and fall of the now-historical year of 1976, makes them and theirs magical, intimate, and fully alive.” — Brad Gooch

“Tim Dlugos was one of the smartest, wittiest, most socially dynamic presences on the New York poetry scene of the 1970s and beyond. And these diary entries capture his voice at its most intimate and perceptive. As well as displaying the deep delight he took in being a gay man and an out poet at a time and in a place where that was finally seen not as transgressive but as celebratory. Well, a little of both. As with New York poet and predecessor Frank O’Hara, many of Tim’s friends thought they were his best friend, I certainly did. He had the ability to make you confess things to him and look for his approval. Which usually meant his matching your confession with his own. Everyone I know who knew him loved him, and many of us adored him. These glimpses into his life and mind show why.” — Michael Lally

“The Frank O’Hara of his generation.” — Ted Berrigan

 

Tim Dlugos’ books

1973

1977

1979

1982

1982

1992

1995

2011

 

Media


Tim Dlugos & Brad Gooch reading 8/18/77


Ry Dunn -reading Tim Dlugos’ “G-9”


jwdenver reads “Great Art” by Tim Dlugos


Gowri Koneswaran reads Tim Dlugos’ “Poem After Dinner”

 

Tim Dlugos (1950-1990)
from literarydc

 

Tim Dlugos (born Francis Timothy Dlugos) (August 5, 1950 – December 3, 1990) was an American poet. Early in his career, Dlugos was celebrated for his energetic, openly gay, pop culture-infused poems. Later, he became widely known for the poems he wrote as he was dying of AIDS.

Tim Dlugos was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, and raised by adopted parents in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, and Arlington, Virginia. In 1968, he joined the Christian Brothers, a Catholic religious order, and entered their college, La Salle College, in Philadelphia, the following year. At La Salle, Dlugos became involved in the anti-Vietnam War movement and started writing poetry. He left the Brothers in 1971 to openly embrace a politically active, gay lifestyle. Less and less motivated by academic life, he dropped out of La Salle in his senior year, eventually moving to Washington, D.C.

Dlugos immersed himself in the Mass Transit poetry scene in Washington, regularly attending readings at the Community Book Shop in Dupont Circle. His friends during this period included Ed Cox, Tina Darragh, Michael Lally, Bernard Welt, and Terence Winch. His first chapbook, High There, was published by Some of Us Press in 1973. Dlugos worked on Ralph Nader‘s Public Citizen newspaper, which led to a successful career as a fundraising consultant and copywriter for liberal and charitable organizations.

In 1976, Dlugos moved to Manhattan, where he became a prominent younger poet in the downtown literary scene centered around the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church. His poems were praised for their innovation and wit, their appropriation of popular culture (as in his crowd-pleasing “Gilligan’s Island”), and their openly gay subject matter. Dlugos’s friends during his New York years included Joe Brainard, Donald Britton, Jane DeLynn, Brad Gooch, and Eileen Myles. In 1977, he began a correspondence and friendship with Dennis Cooper, then based in Los Angeles. Dlugos published two books with Cooper’s Little Caesar Press: Je Suis Ein Americano (1979) and Entre Nous (1982). Of the latter, critic Marjorie Perloff wrote, “This is poetry of extraordinary speed and energy that fuses fact and fantasy, dream and documentary. Tim Dlugos’ every nerve seems to vibrate.” Dlugos also edited and contributed to such magazines as Christopher Street, New York Native, and The Poetry Project Newsletter.

Dlugos tested positive for HIV in 1987, and was diagnosed with AIDS in 1989. In 1988, he moved to New Haven, Connecticut, where he was enrolled in Yale Divinity School. His intention was to become a priest in the Episcopal Church. He died of complications due to AIDS on December 3, 1990, at the age of forty.

Dlugos is widely known for the poems he wrote while hospitalized in G-9, the AIDS ward at Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan, and is considered a seminal poet of the AIDS epidemic. His long poem “G-9,” in which Dlugos celebrates life while accepting his mortality and impending death, was published in The Paris Review only months before Dlugos died.

Two decades after Dlugos’s death, his friend David Trinidad edited A Fast Life: The Collected Poems of Tim Dlugos, which won a Lambda Literary Award.

In 2011, “At Moments Like These He Feels Farthest Away,” an exhibition of paintings by artist Philip Monaghan based on Dlugos’s poem “Gilligan’s Island,” was held at Fales Library at New York University, where Dlugos’s literary papers are archived.

 

Book

Tim Dlugos (David Trinidad, editor) New York Diary by Tim Dlugos
Sibling Rivalry Press

‘WHEN TIM DLUGOS MOVED TO NEW YORK in June of 1976, he had already received acclaim as a poet in Washington, D.C., where he was a regular participant in the Mass Transit poetry scene. New York was the big leap, a way of raising the stakes and proving himself as a writer, and he would soon make a name for himself there as well. This diary, written in his first six months in the City That Never Sleeps, is a record of his immersion in the downtown poetry scene and a gay lifestyle that was then relentlessly promiscuous. From the very beginning, when he “gobbles up” some chocolate mints left behind by Joe Brainard, Tim is like Alice eating a cake that changes her size; he’s off and running in a Wonderland of art openings and late night escapades at the baths. During the subsequent months, he meets a great many people; he has a good deal of sex; he absorbs a great deal of culture. In early August, as he notes his twenty-sixth birthday, one realizes he is just a kid—a precocious one, but a youngster nonetheless.’ — David Trinidad

 

Excerpt

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. I’m very happy that my blog gets to act as one of the entranceways through which public awareness of this spanking new and fantastic book is happening. Tim Dlugos was a great poet/writer, so there’s that, and this book also offers a super addictive and fun portrait of life in the red hot poetry, art, etc., scene in NYC at the the dawn of the 1980s. Tim was one of my best friends, and he was always at the center of everything, and here’s the proof. Very highly recommended. ** Dominik, Hey!! Cool: the post alignment. My mom was so generally weird and kind of awful a lot of the time that the past life ceremony thing was kind of sweet relatively. And interesting too to be able to hallucinate like that without LSD, which was already one of my brain’s pals at that point. Yeah, ‘Goofy’, the name. It was a bit too on the money. Aw, thanks, about my book, and of course i would have been a bit more shy and hesitant to put love in it had I known. Ha ha, if your love was love, I think I would be careful not to fall into it too often. Love like Darby Crash winning the current season of ‘Csillag születik’ in a landslide, G. ** David S. Estornell, The same to you, buddy. ** David Ehrenstein, I think I like films I have to chase. Francois S. is still so mad at me for humiliating him in that scene (which was improvised) that he stares daggers at me whenever I see him on the street. The French press really attacked Christophe re: ‘Homme au Bain’ because they thought using Chiara Mastroianni for her role in that film was an abuse of her talent.She didn’t think so, and she won an acting award at Cannes for her performance in his most recent film. ** _Black_Acrylic, Curious what you’ll think. ** Daniel, 👍 ❤️ ** G, Hi. Oh, I’m so sorry. I’m happy you like the post though. I think that interview must have been in French originally because Christophe’s English is not that great. The Honore film that Golshifteh Farahani is in is kind of odd and sweet, a kids’ movie but with an experimental fringe. Mm, I think maybe my favorites of Christophe’s films are ‘Dans Paris’ and ‘La belle personne’. Have a swell day. ** Sypha, Oh, right, yeah, about your mirror thing, I remember now. If I’d grown up in some place that had actual winters rather than a winter that consists of occasionally cloudy skies and temperatures in the 60s, I’m sure I would feel differently. Okey-doke about the post, cool, thanks. ** ae, Is it possible to read your political theory stuff or poetry anywhere? Maybe you can compromise and do the beast justice in a prose poem. Thank you a lot about Zac’s and my films. That was a fun scene to shoot, although poor Rico, who played the spoken word artist/victim, had broken his shoulder a few days before (you can see the sling on his arms in a couple of shots), and we had to make it as careful a sexual assault as possible. He’s a trooper, that Rico. When there’s not a pandemic, I spend a lot of time in small venues watching electronic and noise gigs. That’s almost my favorite thing. And, man, do I miss it, as I’m sure you do too unless you’re actually open again where you are. That’s interesting: I just restored an old post that’s coming up soonish that has ‘Funeral Parade Of Roses’ featured within it. Great film, yeah. I’ll check my email, cool, thank you. Damn, I wish I could sit at your dinner table. But my pal Zac made me a big vat of my favorite food in the world (cold sesame noodle) as a late b’day gift, so I’m good. This week: ‘praying’ the govt. doesn’t announce re-confinement tonight, finish a draft of this new fiction/novella thing I’m fooling around with, go look at art and hang with my friend Stephen O’Malley (I’m imagining you know his work — Sunn0)) and tons of solo and collaboration work), and … don’t know what else. Enjoy the beginnings of yours. ** Steve Erickson, Christophe’s ethos is clearest in his earlier films, from ‘Ma Mere’ up through ‘La Belle Personnne’, and then he started to diverge quite widely, but, if you know his thing, you see it in the later films too. I don’t know if I would do the acting thing again. Yeah, it would depend on who asked. No one else ever has. Well, actually, ages ago Gregg Araki asked me to play the psychiatrist in ‘The Living End’, but I said no. Eek, that does sound dangerous — open restaurants — but … who knows. ** Bill, Work going okay, or, I guess, you doing okay in its midst? ** Jack Skelley, Ha. Climb down off that beanstalk, Jack! Right, Robert Mitchum, now my bell is rung. I too confuse those two guys. I think that must be not uncommon. Weird. So, there are two new art districts. One is out on the fringes of Paris, and one is walking distance from me. We went to the fringe, and the Scharf show is in the other one, but, you know, walking distance … so as soon as it stops raining. Yeah, Christophe directs operas and theater stuff more than he makes films these days for whatever reason. Versatile. Big day, I hope, man. ** Right. Get with Mr. Dlugos’s book, thank you. See you tomorrow.

15 Comments

  1. Hi!!

    Oh. “New York Diary” seems like the perfect book. I adore Tim Dlugos’ work, I adore 70s/80s New York, and I adore reading diaries – so intimate, turns everyone into a human being. (Not that in this particular case it wasn’t already clear.) Thank you for this post!

    How old were you when this happened? I’m a late bloomer and only started trying stuff as an “adult” (though we know that I’m the second oldest forever-teenager in the world). And even like this, I’ve never touched LSD. I’m very curious, but for some reason, I have this belief that it’s evil somehow, and it’s probably not the best idea to jump into a 12-hour trip with that association, haha.

    Haha, I’d definitely root for him – I guess “Csillag születik” (which means “a star is born”) has never seen anything like him before. Love writing love letters to himself to feel special every morning when he opens his mailbox, Od.

  2. Wonderful to see this Dlugos-o-rama. He was a marvelous writer and a Total Babe. 1976 was the year we left New Yor for L.A. The AIDS era is starting to slip away from public consciousness. It has so much to say to those in the world of COVID-19 but no one seems to care to ask Dr. Faucci about it.

    It’s Jerome Kern’s Birthday

    and

    Here’s aomethign new by Jacob

    Adieu Cloris Leachman

  3. Wow, the August 1977 reading with Tim and Brad! This is a treasure trove. I ordered the diary a few weeks ago, but shipping from wherever to Rotterdam is probably a long road. I can’t wait. Tim was my boss for a year or so, in 1983 or ’84, when he worked running a political fund-raising office. Great boss! Horrible work. He had me proofread thousands of mailing-address labels. We both knew I wouldn’t last, but after I quit he was even nicer to me. I met him via my other “job” pretend-bartending parties, which is how I met you, also, Dennis. I’m so glad I did. Thanks for this great post about a great poet and a wonderful man.

  4. Dennis, This is an awesome and great post! Yay!

    In my current novel that I’m trying to “sell,” there’s a shout-out to Dlugos. Not kidding. 😀

    Yeah, I talked to Rigby last night and was telling him about my weekend and my weekend to come. He was like, “Fuckin’ ‘ell, you’re rubbin’ it in again, aren’t you?!” “Um, kinda.” 😉

    He’s pretty much locked in his flat, except for an excursion to the grocery store every now and again. I think he’s told you he’s really into camping and outdoors stuff now. Nothing like going on a 20-mile hike for him, but he can’t do that anymore or for the foreseeable future. I feel bad for him. He’s even like, “Fuck it, I’ll even go to America to get out if I have to!” Now, that’s despair.

    Been slammed with work this week. About to embark on a 30-page document in a few minutes and thought I’d pop in with a few minutes to myself right now.

    Oh, and this weekend, my friend’s coming up my way for her daughter’s 14th birthday. Gonna do Scary Strokes again, a place with a whole bunch of games and big VR room. Probably go back with them for pizza and cake. Otherwise, bleh.

    Oh! And David. I wake up the other morning and go to brush my teeth. My toothbrush is caked in black tar. Fucker decided during the night to clean his bong in the bathroom with MY toothbrush. “Uh, I didn’t know it was yours.” Of course he fucking did. He’s gotta buy me a new one now. I taped the toothbrush to his bedroom door as a reminder. I had other plans for revenge but decided against them.

  5. Dennis, as publisher of Sibling Rivalry Press, I want to thank you so much for sharing the news of this publication and for all the details and content you’ve included. It’s hard for me to categorize myself as anything other than a reader and a fan of these giants of my life, and it’s an absolute honor to play a part in bringing Tim’s diary to the world. David has been a fantastic curator and guardian of Tim’s legacy, and there’s such a strong siblinghood among many of you that I admire. I’m full of gratitude for all involved. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  6. A great post today and the extracts are a lot of fun. A marvel taking a vicarious dip into this world which is so far removed from our own.

    The Writing More Short Stories class on Zoom kicks off again in just a few minutes’ time. My first effort was based on an old found photo and is titled The Candy Floss Mine of Aberpergwm, it still needs some expanding but it’s good to have things flowing once more.

  7. Regarding move roles for you I trust you’re aware of the fact that the wonderful Steve buscemi has fequently mistaken fr John Waters — a phenomenon both men fid quite amusing. I therefore propose that Waters, who hasn’t made a movie in ears, make “The John Waters Story” starring Steve buscemi. While Waters has been more than voluble about alnd sundry he’s never had much to say about his (ahem) “Love Life’ This is where “The John Waters Story ‘ comes in revealing that Waters’ boyfriend is none other than (wait for it) DENNIS COOPER!

  8. Hey Dennis – Great to learn about this new Tim Dlugos book. It looks fantastic. Discovering his Collected Poems here remains one of my favorite blog discoveries.

    The blog itself has been on a real tear — enjoyed the Honore, Lydia Davis, and Jonas Mekas posts, as well as Jack Skelley’s Brian Jones (which I recall from its first appearance) and the Watery, Domestic post. I’ve mainly been lurking after the fact b/c instead of turning a corner re: unfortunate life events, I’ve basically done the opposite. Fallen down a (metaphorical) elevator shaft? Not that bad, but it’s been terrible though I won’t bore with the details. Trying to be stoic and muddle through and hope things change.

    Have you done a post on Bas Jan Ader? Saw the doc about him ‘Here Is Always Somewhere Else’ which I enjoyed. I didn’t realize he’d only made something like 25 art works/performances.

    Have you heard John Zorn’s ‘Baphomet’ from last year? I’d be really curious what you make of it as it synthesizes various strands of his work in a mostly loud vein without devolving into prog. Zorn no longer sends out review copies of his work, so it’s fallen into a critical black hole over the past decade. Even The Wire doesn’t cover him anymore which is a shame b/c he’s churning out 4-8 records a year in different genres and many of them seem fascinating.

  9. Ah, Dennis — It’s heartwarming to hear and see Tim Dlugos again. And god bless David T for another gift to the lit canon. Tim memories include my first trip to NYC where his personal tour included whisking me to the front subway car to watch the tracks twist through the conductor’s window. (I’ve done the very same for other subway virgins since.) He once advised I should change the spelling of my chapbook “Wammo Amnesia” to “Wham-O Amnesia,” as in the famous toy maker. And he was right ! Tim was probably right about everything. A loving post.

    • Oh Jack, it’s very good to see you here. I’m having a little trouble dealing with the memories here. I often forget things from the past, and now I wonder if it doesn’t have to do with that long period when there were so many awful things to remember. Of course, I’m actively working to try to forget the past four years, too.

  10. There’s a newbook out on Francis Bacon : A very great artist. an astonishingly adeptmasochist, and a really sweel dude.

  11. To pick up on what Jeff wrote, Zorn also keeps his music off streaming services, so it’s impossible to hear it without coughing up at least $9.99 or more. But his recent forays into jazz/metal and solo organ music have been quite accomplished.

    Adrian Martin recommended a Dutch documentary about a concentration camp survivor’s LSD-guided therapy on Facebook today. I found a copy on YouTube. NOW DO YOU GET IT is extremely plain in its presentation; as far as I can tell, most of it was shot during one LSD trip by the subject in 1965, with an intro from his therapist speaking at a medical conference and a coda in 1969 showing its long-term effects. It’s the kind of ’60s documentary built on raw emotion; the subject does not have a pleasant experience, but he cries as he looks back on his experience in the camps, and it feels like he’s letting loose emotion that polite Dutch society forced him to bottle up.

    I wrote this song over the past 3 days, taking almost all the sounds from a huge pack of orchestral samples that I recently downloaded (although I wrote my own melodies and chord progressions using them): https://callinamagician.bandcamp.com/track/dont-hug-me-im-scared. I am thinking of writing a string quartet using the same sample pack for my next song.

    If my laptop’s mic weren’t broken, I might also attempt a sea shanty TikTok remix and see if I can get more than 2 listeners on my Bandcamp page. Sea shanties becoming huge on TikTok was not a trend I saw coming. It would be funny if this is all a long-term scheme from major labels to market the most unhip music they could think of to bored teens.

  12. Of course I read through all this with a lump in my throat and a really tight feeling in my chest. It’s ridiculously easy to conjure Tim giggling, and showing all his teeth when he laughed. And reading his poetry. He was very, very good at it. He had amazing pockets of sophisticated knowledge, as well as a complex about believing he was undereducated (or maybe undercredentialed). It still seems weird that he could be so glamorous and so serious. David Trinidad’s done such an amazing thing putting this diary together. He asked me a couple of questions so I knew it was coming, but I didn’t know that he wrote that he loved me. What a distinction.
    Richard McCann died this week. I know you were aware of him, but I really don’t know if you’d met. We had a very long-standing intimate friendship, seeing each other little over the years, and we always had a little bit of an odd fit–different tastes and aspirations. But we just went back a long way, to early Mass Transit, in fact. And Cloris Leachman whom I practically worshiped died, and now Cicely Tyson. It’s kind of a whole list of people I feel never received their due.
    And by coincidence, I have two poems out today in an online journal that David Trinidad put me on to. and that I like a lot, so I’m pleased to be there.
    https://courtgreen.net/issue-18/bernard
    I hope you’ll read them, and I expect you will, because you are so goos about that with your friends. It’s funny that I thought of the use of “sentences” in the “Blow Job Sonnet” as a very Tim move, but also that it was a very both of us move because starting out together we developed some of the same mannerisms as well as goals and one of them was treating the surface characteristics of language, like punning, as a way of foregrounding or being led by language when we weren’t using rhymes or traditional structures.
    And I have slipped in the title “Blow Job Sonnet” to try to interest the regular readers to check it out.
    Anyway, I *am* writing here, and I also suddenly got a lot of interesting work like visiting online classes and reviewing submissions for an award (visual art), and stuff that is pretty much what I’m happy doing, and I’m home all the time and I don’t mind it, though I’d like to be traveling as soon as I can. I dream about Paris a lot.
    xxoo

  13. Dlugos’ diary sounds like totally my thing, thanks. And I’d jump on Joe Brainard’s chocolate mints, yes.

    Bernard, “Blow Job Sonnet” is great.

    Dennis, I think I survived my first week of teaching online.

    Bill

  14. Lovely post today – i must check out more of TDs work. Thank you for the kind words – i will certainly attempt the piece and some interesting angles to it. I spent much of my night after dinner (a success!) trying to find a copy of the paperback encyclopedia of monsters i had as a kid and finally found a copy. Cold sesame noodles are perhaps one of the greatest things on earth. I think i first had them from the Food Not Bombs / Hare Krishna free lunch on campus at school and have since attempted to find the ideal! There is a brunch place in pittsburgh located in an old vintage store that almost feels like a big punk house potluck (it is served as a buffet of cold salads and slightly stale coffee cakes, for the bakery dumpster-diver feeling ) that has these cloyingly sweet peanut noodles – a lot of sense of place to that for me!

    Amazing about that scene in “Like Cattle…” – poor Rico! We are unfortunately still deep in lockdown here but i frequented and performed (DJing as of late) at several small diy warehouse spaces and underground clubs before thar – also definitely one of my favorite things to do. I was about to play gigs on both coasts with both Hiro Kone and Bookworms when lockdown happened.

    A lot of my political writing online is somewhat tied into that via the noblogs website i write (though i have a zine and cassette out today about Paris’68). I have plans for a longform zine on nihilist anarchism and DIY culture coming soon (probably before the beast piece – my partner and i are finishing up a zine of collaged poetry and illustrations for this spring).

    Who have been the standout acts youve seen in the year before covid? Mine were probably Dreamcrusher, Dungeon Acid, Limited Network and this relentless free jazz combo i saw in a 103-degree industrial-use warehouse (whose name escapes me!).

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