Still Life with Buddy
Published by Pride & Imprints, 1997
Buddy and his best friend dream of being famous poets someday, but Buddy's time is running out. He is "thin as the IV pole by his bed." He "used to stay up all night dancing," but now he "stays up all night coughing." After he dies of AIDS, his best friend writes a novel in fifty poems that tells the story of his life and death. Buddy's buddy tells the story of their friendship with rage, humor, sadness, and most of all, undying love.
Poems from Still Life with Buddy earned author Lesléa Newman a prestigious Poetry Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Ages 15 and up
Why I wrote this book
In the 1990's, three very good friends of mine, Gerard Rizza, Victor D'Lugin and Stan Leventhal, died of AIDS. I wrote the poems in Still Life with Buddy as a way to express my sadness, anger and grief. Buddy became a composite character, based on my three friends, and the poems in Still Life with Buddy tell the story of their lives and deaths and how I learned to live without them. I still miss my friends very much. Writing Still Life with Buddy helped me keep my friends close to me.
[Photo: This is my friend Gerard's quilt panel, made for the NAMES Project, which appears in the poem "How I Spent My Summer Vacation."]
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