David Wojnarowicz was many things throughout his life: a painter, photographer, writer, filmmaker, performance artist, and AIDS activist. Close to the Knives is a perennially relevant collection of intelligent, searing, and poetic essays that range from David’s teenage years on the streets of New York, working as an artist, taking a solo road trip across the country, gay life in the 1980s, the Reagan presidency, and the emergence of the AIDS crisis—all set against Daivd’s own AIDS diagnosis. Throughout the book David unflinchingly shares his worldview and reaffirms the personal as political: through profound examinations of death and survival, calls for change, and astute observations of America. “It is exhausting, living in a population where people don’t speak up if what they witness doesn’t directly threaten them.”
In Close to the Knives, David Wojnarowicz gives us an important and timely document: a collection of creative essays -- a scathing, sexy, sublimely humorous and honest personal testimony to the "Fear of Diversity in America." From the author's violent childhood in suburbia to eventual homelessness on the streets and piers of New York City, to recognition as one of the most provocative artists of his generation -- Close to the Knives is his powerful and iconoclastic memoir. Street life, drugs, art and nature, family, AIDS, politics, friendship and acceptance: Wojnarowicz challenges us to examine our lives -- politically, socially, emotionally, and aesthetically.
About the Author
David Wojnarowicz was an American painter, photographer, writer, filmmaker, performance artist, and AIDS activist prominent in the New York City art world. He was born on September 14, 1954. He died of AIDS on July 22, 1992.
"David Wojnarowicz is brilliantly attuned to American talk and responsive to the moods and innovations of society's truants. He also has the best conscience of any writer I know. This fierce, erotic, haunting, truthful book should be given to every teenager immediately." -- Dennis Cooper
"Wojnarowicz's writing fairly smokes with acrid ironies. It's passionate and personal." -- New York
"Everyone should read Close to the Knives to understand the overall political agenda behind suffering, whether that suffering occurs because of a dysfunctional family, religion, or government. Wojnarowicz explores all of his painful life experiences as a plea for all of us to become more compassionate and caring human beings. This isn't just David's story, it's our story, our nation's story." -- Karen Finley