With his razor-sharp wit and unsparing honesty, Bernard Cooper peels back layers of the familiar, exposing the surprising truths that shape our lives. Cooper’s prose is resonant and exquisitely crafted. Often described as a “writer’s writer,” his disarming memoirs and fiction and his open-hearted, humorous readings and lectures have won him a loyal audience. Growing up gay in the Los Angeles of the 1950s and 60s, sexuality, familial relationships, loss, and AIDS — these are among Bernard Cooper’s primary subjects. Through them all, he expresses his deepest concern: how the writer explores identity and human nature by traveling the terrain of memory. Recalling details with delicacy and inventiveness, Cooper’s sensibility ultimately transforms the way we examine our own lives.
Bernard Cooper has written two collections of memoirs, Maps to Anywhere and Truth Serum, as well as a novel, A Year of Rhymes, and a collection of short stories, Guess Again. His work has appeared in Story, Ploughshares, Harper’s, The Paris Review, The New York Times Magazine. His work has been included in five volumes of The Best American Essays, and in anthologies such as The Oxford Book of Literature on Aging, and the Library of America’s Writing Los Angeles. He is the author of The Bill From My Father: A Memoir (paperback 2007). He is completing a collection of essays entitled My Avant Gard Education (an excerpt of the book will appear in Granta in 2014).
Bernard Cooper, 1989, by Robert Giard (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/brbldl_getrec.asp?fld=img&id=1123755)
American photographer Robert Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997. Giard’s stated mission was to define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither. In all, he photographed more than 600 writers. (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digitalBernard Cooper has won numerous awards and prizes, among them the PEN/Ernest Hemingway Award, an O. Henry Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. His work has been read on This American Life and Selected Shorts from Symphonyspace. For many years, Bernard Cooper was the art critic for Los Angeles Magazine. He has taught at Antioch/Los Angeles and at the UCLA Writer’s Program. He is currently a core faculty member in the MFA Writing Program at Bennington College and also teaches in the Masters of Professional Writing program at USC. In 2014 he will be the Distinguished Visiting Writer at The University of Iowa.
Maps to Anywhere is Bernard Cooper's first book and his best book -- a book of autobiographical essays that is completely singular and contains some of the best first sentences I've ever read. --Michael KleinFurther Readings:
The Bill from My Father: A Memoir by Bernard Cooper
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (January 9, 2007)
Amazon: The Bill from My Father: A Memoir
Edward Cooper is a hard man to know. Dour and exuberant by turns, his moods dictate the always uncertain climate of the Cooper household. Balding, octogenarian, and partial to a polyester jumpsuit, Edward Cooper makes an unlikely literary muse. But to his son he looms larger than life, an overwhelming and baffling presence.
Edward's ambivalent regard for his son is the springboard from which this deeply intelligent memoir takes flight. By the time the author receives his inheritance (which includes a message his father taped to the underside of a safe deposit box), and sees the surprising epitaph inscribed on his father's headstone, The Bill from My Father has become a penetrating meditation on both monetary and emotional indebtedness, and on the mysterious nature of memory and love.
More Particular Voices at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Particular Voices
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