Brother to Brother

ed. by Essex Hemphill

Brother to Brother: New Writings by Black Gay Men, begun by Joseph Beam and completed by Essex Hemphill after Beam's death in 1988, is a collection of now-classic literary work by black gay male writers. Originally published in 1991 and out of print for several years, Brother to Brother “is a community of voices,” Hemphill writes. “[It] tells a story that laughs and cries and sings and’s a conversation intimate friends share for hours. These are truly words mined syllable by syllable from the hearts of black gay men. You’re invited to listen in because you’re family, and these aren’t secrets—not to us, so why should they be secrets to you? Just listen. Your brother is speaking.” This new edition includes an introduction by Dr. Jafari Sinclaire Allen.



Essex HemphillPoet, editor, and activist Essex Hemphill was born April 16, 1957, in Chicago, Illinois. He was raised in Southeast Washington, D.C., and began to write poems at the age of fourteen. He was educated at the University of Maryland. Hemphill's first books were the self-published chapbooks Earth Life (1985) and Conditions (1986). He first gained national attention when his work appeared in the anthology In the Life (1986), a seminal collection of writings by black gay men. In 1989, his poems were featured in the award-winning documentaries Tongues Untied and Looking for Langston. In 1991, Hemphill edited Brother to Brother: New Writings by Black Gay Men, which won a Lambda Literary Award. In 1992, he released Ceremonies: Prose and Poetry, which won the National Library Association's Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual New Author Award. His poems appeared in Obsidian, Black Scholar, Callaloo, Painted Bride Quarterly, Essence, and numerous other newspapers and journals. His work also appeared in numerous anthologies including Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time (1986) and Life Sentences: Writers, Artists and AIDS (1993). He was a visiting scholar at The Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities in 1993. On November 4, 1995, Hemphill died from complications relating to AIDS. [Biography courtesy of, the web site of the Academy of American Poets. Used by permission. Photo © 1985 by Jim Marks.]


389 pp.

© 2007 by Estate of Essex Hemphill
Cover design: E.M. Corbin 

ISBN-10: 0-9786251-1-0
ISBN-13: 978-0-9786251-1-5

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