Elevate Difference

Portland Queer: Tales of the Rose City

Portland Queer: Tales of the Rose City is a mixed collection of memoir and fiction short stories that center on the city of Portland, OR. All of the stories are written in first person narrative and beautifully display the diversity of the human experiences which only a city like Portland can provide the backdrop. These stories provide readers with a view of the city that may not have been available before this collection was published. Each tome represents a different view of life in the city as it is lived by the LGBTQI population that calls Portland home. Portland has long been a mecca for the LGBTQI masses and this collection of stories celebrates the many reasons why this is the case.

Editor Ariel Gore wanted readers to know that, “Portland is a queer magnet...and Portland is alienating and phobic...Within these contradictions, there’s also a common experience. In a world that tries to divide us further and further from each other, I want to see our threads woven together.” Gore brings together a collection of stories and raw human experiences, reminding her readers that we are all fragile beings who seek out connections with each other and find comfort in place. For these authors that place is Portland.

The book is broken up into four sections—“Love and Other Sad, Sparkly Things,” “Migrations,” “For Service and Devotion,” “Then Sometimes this Feeling of Home”—and each contains several stories. The first deals with several versions of love and how love can catch us off guard. The second section is composed of stories about leaving and returning to the Rose City, while the third and fourth sections contain stories of living and working in the city.

There are several prominent writers featured in this collection, as well as several first-time writers, which helps to present the variety of styles and viewpoints. Those who have a short attention span, as I do will enjoy the variety contained in these short stories. They're enough to keep anyone in need of good literature who is short on time happy.

Written by: Jenny Greenfield, October 5th 2009