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"There are people whose vision is porous," says Allan Gurganus, "and then there are those with increasing levels of fineness of vision, like James Morrison, who seems to have been born with an extra filter in his eyes." In his recent memoir, Broken Fever: Reflections of Gay Boyhood (pictured), Morrison complicates received ideas about gay identity--and any identity, for that matter. Arguing that the dichotomy of the "essential" versus "socially constructed" self is a red herring, the author weaves poetry, philosophy, and a wicked sense of humor into 11 literary essays about a gay, Catholic childhood where joy and shame were not necessarily opposites. Morrison is an astute observer of the way cultural institutions, from religion to popular entertainment, mark differences while attempting to erase them. The Indy contributor teaches Film Studies and Creative Writing at N.C. State University. Hear him read from Broken Fever at Quail Ridge Books Saturday, May 18, at 4 p.m. Call 828-1588 for details.

DiamondDiamondDiamondA few weeks ago, we told you about Stammer!, the Raleigh poetry event we called a "balls-out poetry slam." Our bad: Stammer! is not a slam. In other words, it's not a competition, but rather "a robust evening of performance poetry," in the words of Stammer! hostess Chelsea DeSantis. The next event, on May 18 at 9 p.m. at Raleigh's Artspace, will feature poets Fred Frazier, Cullen Nicholls and William Shelby. There will be an open mic, but slots are limited, so get there early if you have something to say. Call 821-2787 or visit for details.

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