“I came out when I was twenty-one. At the time I was going to school at Western University in London, Ontario. There was a place downtown called Mandala Book Store that sold meditation CDs and crystals and other new age type stuff. It’s still there, on Central Avenue. I associate that place with buying The Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse, but I’m not entirely sure I did buy it there.”Where I bought it, I guess, isn’t key. That I bought it is. It was the first gay book I owned. It took me a lot of courage to walk it over to the cash register. The book contained modern verse and poetry from ancient Greece and everything else in between. What I loved about it was its breadth; that, although I felt alone, I never truly was.”
Brian Francis is the author of Fruit and Natural Order. He’s working on his third novel.