by Robert Penn
One of the many New York City community organizations that formed in response to the AIDS epidemic is a writers group for Black Gay Men. In honor of James Baldwin's signature work, Another Country, the group selected the name Other Countries. It held its first writers workshop on June 14, 1986. Over the next year, it developed a three pronged program of peer critique, performance and publishing. In its 25 years, Other Countries has published three volumes of work by Black gay men and women. The most recent VOICES RISING came out in January 2007. The workshop continues each 2nd and 4th Saturday at NYC's LGBT Community Center from 6pm to 9pm. Many past and current members have gone on to publish work that "went through" the workshop. Several have developed their craft and have worked in publishing, arts management and television. Though many of its founding members died twenty years ago, their spirit of affinity continues to nurture and foster creativity and appreciation of the life we have, here and now.Watch this documentary here.