The University of Wisconsin Press

Who’s Yer Daddy?
Gay Writers Celebrate Their Mentors and Forerunners
Edited by Jim Elledge and David Groff

Special Interest Book, selected by the American Association of School Librarians

Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the Public Library Reviewers

Winner, LGBT Anthology, Lambda Literary Awards

“A diverse and colorful anthology. This is the first major work to focus on accomplished writers, on the specific topic of their creative influences.
—Jerry Rosco, author of Glenway Wescott Personally

Who’s Yer Daddy? offers readers of gay male literature a keen and engaging journey. In this anthology, thirty-nine gay authors discuss individuals who have influenced them— their inspirational “daddies.” The essayists include fiction writers, poets, and performance artists, both honored masters of contemporary literature and those just beginning to blaze their own trails. They find their artistic ancestry among not only literary icons—Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde, André Gide, Frank O’Hara, James Baldwin, Edmund White—but also a roster of figures whose creative territories are startlingly wide and vital, from Botticelli to Bette Midler to Captain Kirk.
Some writers chronicle an entire tribal council of mentors; others describe a transformative encounter with a particular individual, including teachers and friends whose guidance or example cracked open their artistic selves. Perhaps most moving are the handful of writers who answered the question literally, writing intimately of their own fathers and their literary inheritance. This rich volume presents intriguing insights into the contemporary gay literary aesthetic.

“These vibrant essays draw the reader in, illuminating a rich, intriguing, and previously unexplored subject.”
—Will Fellows, author of Gay Bar

Jim Elledge is professor of English at Kennesaw State University and author of A History of My Tattoo: A Poem; The Chapters of Coming Forth by Day: A Novel; and Various Envies: Poems.

David Groff
, an independent writer and poet, is author of Theory of Devolution and coeditor of Persistent Voices: Poetry by Writers Lost to AIDS and Whitman’s Men: Walt Whitman’s Calamus Poems Celebrated by Contemporary Photographers.


“Gay bibliophiles and aspiring writers, especially those interested in the creative process, will enjoy this engaging collection.”
Library Journal

“Betsy Donovan's delightful jacket design for Who's Yer Daddy: Gay Writers Celebrate their Mentors and Forerunners juxtaposes vintage masculine archetypes, hot-pink pride, and sassy slang in a way that perfectly conveys the smart, earnest, and utterly engaging contents of one of the best gay collections to be published in years.”
Passport Magazine

There is a press kit for this title. Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)

Of Related Interest:
Writings from Whitman to SedarisGay American Autobiography
Writings from Whitman to Sedaris
Edited by David Bergman

“Intimacy as history! I adored these glimpses into gay men’s lives, and thank David Bergman for having uncovered them. I only wish I’d had this book decades sooner.” —Michael Lowenthal, author of Charity Girl

December 2012
LC: 2012015510 PS
312 pp.   5.5 x 8.25

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ISBN 978-0-299-28940-9
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A trade imprint of the University of Wisconsin Press

“A wonderful anthology about literary mentors to a host of interesting gay male writers in the past few decades. An original aspect of this book is the diversity it represents.”

—Philip Gambone, author of Travels in a Gay Nation: Portraits of LGBTQ Americans

A sampling of contributors and their daddies:
Benjamin Grossberg on Capt. Kirk
Mark Doty on Walt Whitman
Dale Peck on Shirley Jackson
Justin Chin on Faye Kicknosway
Rigoberto González on John Rechy
Aaron Hamburger on Janet Frame
Michael Klein on E. M. Forster
Randall Mann on Thom Gunn
Tim Miller on Allen Ginsberg

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Updated 11/17/2014

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