My Body Is Paper: Stories and Poems

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Product Details
$17.95  $16.69
City Lights Books
Publish Date
5.7 X 8.4 X 0.6 inches | 0.55 pounds
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About the Author

Gil Cuadros (1962-1996) was a groundbreaking gay Latino writer whose work explored the intersections of sexuality, race, and spirituality. Diagnosed as HIV positive in 1987, Cuadros channeled his experiences into his acclaimed collection, City of God (published by City Lights in 1994), which captured the raw emotions of living with a life-threatening illness. His lyrical intensity and unflinching honesty shined a light on marginalized communities and familial expectations. The book was highly acclaimed when it was first published and captured the attention of prominent writers in the literary community, among them Paul Monette, Eloise Klein Healy, and Wanda Coleman. It has gained a growing readership over the years. Cuadros was a resident of West Hollywood when he died at the age of thirty-four.


Pablo Alvarez's scholarship and research are grounded in activism and collaborations that unearth the legacies of Latinx and Chicanx AIDS queer ancestry through literature, photography, documentary, and film. He is an assistant professor in Women and Gender Studies and Queer Studies at California State University, Fullerton, and is a first-gen Chicanx from Pico Rivera.

Kevin J. Martin is the executor of the Estate of Gil Cuadros, and a longtime copy editor and writer. Currently, he serves as Senior Writer and Associate Editor for MagellanTV, where he writes on various topics related to art and culture. Martin resides in Glendale, CA.

Rafael Pérez-Torres is professor of English and Gender Studies at UCLA and author of Movements in Chicano Poetry and Critical Mestizaje, co-author of Memories of an East L.A. Outlaw, and co-editor of The Chicano Studies Reader. He lives in Santa Barbara, CA.

Terry Wolverton is an acclaimed author of twelve books of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, including her forthcoming novel, Season of the Eclipse, from Bella Books. The Lambda Award-winning literary editor for His: brilliant new fiction by gay writers and Hers: brilliant new fiction by lesbians, she lives in Los Angeles, CA.


Justin Torres is the author of We the Animals and Blackouts, winner of the 2023 National Book Awards for Fiction. Recipient of numerous accolades for his work, including the National Book Foundation "5 Under 35," a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, and a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, he teaches at UCLA and lives in Los Angeles, CA.


Praise for My Body Is Paper:

"My Body Is Paper reads like the best memoirs because of the way it holds up a mirror at a slant. In conversation with other vulnerable collections such as Reinaldo Arenas's Before Night Falls . . ."--Gabriel X Hendrix, Los Angeles Review of Books

"Cuadros's collection went undiscovered for nearly 30 years after his death, from an AIDS-related illness, in 1996. Here, the author of the magnificent City of God explores religion, family, and culture to present an unflinchingly naked account of his experience as a spiritual being bound in a too easily corrupted body."--Alta Journal

"A moving, necessary tribute to a singular voice of queer literature."--Kirkus Reviews

"This blazing collection of unpublished stories and poems by Cuadros (1962-1996; City of God) portrays queer Chicano beauty and resilience during the AIDS epidemic. . . . This is a welcome tribute to a writer who was cut short in his prime."--Publishers Weekly

"The sparks of clarity and brilliance that will later inspire a cadre of writers are all here, igniting the pathway that Gil Cuadros set before us. It is astonishing to behold the ardor of vulnerability in his art. We are indebted to his daring--how much brighter we all burn for his insistent testimony, his desire unabashed and incandescent."--Manuel Muñoz, author of The Consequences

"In his poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, Gil Cuadros speaks the reality of his heart, honoring not only his suffering with HIV/AIDS but his survival."-- Eloise Klein Healy, author, A Brilliant Loss

"I weep with this book, although it is a celebration, it reminds me of the possibility of a writer called back too soon. The language is a song grounded in earth and culture. There is such rhythm I languish in the stories, even as they make me miss more and more. I don't want it to end, so I keep going back and reading it over and over, each time a reference unfolds differently, the words strike other meanings, the memories have different colors, and I am left with who we all were."--Luis Alfaro, playwright

"This recently rediscovered collection of stories and poems is a poignant window into the adolescent life of Gil Cuadros as a young gay man navigating Chicanx Los Angeles. His candid prose takes us through a raw exploration of sex, religion, drugs, heritage, and family, all the way up to his untimely diagnosis and subsequent death from AIDS. Spiritual, tender, and seductive, My Body Is Paper is already an essential classic."--Magnolia, Bookshop Santa Cruz