Chasen Gaver (1953-1989)

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Chasen Gaver (1953-1989) wrote poetry, novels, essays, plays, and short stories. He started a chapter for the National Organization for Women (N.O.W.) while in college. After graduating from The College of Wooster in Ohio, he worked in Washington, DC as a per diem paralegal at the Federal Trade Commission. He described himself as a performance poet, and much of his work focused on relationships and issues of identity; he was homosexual. In 1978 he won a grant from the District of Columbia’s Commission on Arts and Humanities; he was one of the first openly gay artists to win this grant. He won even larger grants in 1981, 1986, and 1987 and went on to write book reviews for The Washington Blade. Gaver was also a part of the Black Artists/White Artists artist collective as well as Young Audiences, a performing arts program specifically for inner-city children. He was diagnosed with AIDS in 1987, and wrote about his experience until his death in 1989. Some of his works of poetry included “Daddy!” “Summer Beach Talks,” and “From Now Til Doomsday.” Some of Gaver’s works were also published in the audio publication Black Box, and he performed at the Joaquin Miller Cabin reading series. Some of his work is included in the Miller Cabin anthology Whose Woods These Are. http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/EAD/htmldocs/RMM07575.html DC Writers’ Homes: http://dcwriters.poetrymutual.org/pages/gaver.html

Written by Word Works intern Monica Root October 2013


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