[Image description: A rectangular graphic with white background. Event details are on the right, and a book cover is on the left. The event details are written in black text, including book title, author, date/time, address, and website, along with the title "Queer Poetry Reading Group" and the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center logo in black and purple. The book cover features a blue scale photo of a man with blonde hair and smiling with the title and author written in tan.]
The LGBT Library at Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center presents the May discussion of the center's Queer Poetry Reading Group, featuring A Quilt for David by Steven Reigns.
The hidden history of a vulnerable gay man whose life and death was turned into tabloid fodder.
In a small conservative Florida town in the 1990s, eight patients alleged that Dr. David Acer, their dentist, infected them with HIV. David's gayness, along with his sickly appearance from his own AIDS-related illness, made him the perfect scapegoat and victim of mob mentality. In these early years of the AIDS epidemic, when transmission was little understood, and homophobia rampant, people like David were villainized. Accuser Kimberly Bergalis landed a People magazine cover story, while others went on talk shows and made front page news.
With a poet's eulogistic and psychological intensity, Steven Reigns recovers the life and death of this man who also stands in for so many lives destroyed not only by HIV, but a diseased society that used stigma against the most vulnerable. It's impossible not to make connections between this story and how the twenty-first century pandemic has also been defined by medical misinformation and cultural bias.
Inspired by years of investigative research into the lives of David and those who denounced him, Reigns has stitched together a hauntingly poetic narrative that retraces an American history, questioning the fervor of his accusers, and recuperating a gay life previously shrouded in secrecy and shame.
Limited free copies of the book are available -- request a copy with your RSVP. If you don't need a free copy, you can buy the book here -- and 10% of your purchase supports free arts programs at Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.
The discussion is facilitated by Isaiah Rivera and is sponsored by Lehigh University's Southside Initiative and Humanities Center. This program is supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.
Funding has been provided in part by the American Rescue Plan. American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries is an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
522 W Maple St
at Bayard Rustin Way
Allentown, PA 18101
Google map and directions