Releases Summer 2016




paperback, 224 pages


Also available in digital formats at $7.99


Wild Animals I Have Known

Polk Street Diaries and After

by Kevin Bentley


In the late ’70s there was a massive migration of young gay men to San Francisco. They left home in droves, traveling by plane, bus, Pinto or Volkswagen towards a life free from discrimination. Struggling to make ends meet, many worked in bookstores and restaurants, all the while taking advantage of a scene of sexual hedonism. Kevin Bentley faithfully kept a frank, literate diary of his experiences as this generation of gay men tumbled into the era of AIDS.



Praise for Wild Animals I Have Known

“Difficult to put down… These brief portraits of gay male egoists eventually amount to a small epic of neurotic behavior that may be endemic to pleasure meccas like San Francisco. Wild Animals is a graceful, sad, and very skillful tale…”
—Andrew Holleran, The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide

“Body heat is the essence of Mr. Bentley’s memoir… The encounters he had in plenty may have been anonymous in some sense, but they were also tender and rich in loopy narrative detail. …There is an antic, winning quality to Mr. Bentley’s chipper progress as a sexual adventurer.”
—Guy Trebay, The New York Times Sunday Styles Section

Wild Animals I Have Known…is that rare mixture of Marcel Proust and Boyd McDonald. …An astute, psychologically complex journey of a young gay man growing into a complicated, intelligent, and caring adult, it never avoids what’s at the heart of the human condition: sex. What makes the book so refreshing is his continually unassuming attitude towards himself, his friends, and the men he loves.”
—Michael Bronski, The Guide

“This is the kind of book that gives promiscuity and sleaze a good name… raw, brave, brash, even witty erotica.”
—Richard Labonte, Bookmarks

“Bears witness to a city in the middle of an unparalleled sexual gold rush… Bentley is a natural and charming writer…never self-conscious or preening.”
—Chris Schmidt, Lesbian & Gay New York

“One part Armistead Maupin, one part Chi Chi LaRue… Offers a twinge of delightful, guilty pleasure.”
—Jason Dorn, SFWeekly

“The best memoir of 1970s San Francisco published so far.”
—Jesse Monteagudo, Dallas Voice

“A fabulous emotional roller-coaster of a read.”
Out Front Colorado

“Very moving and also very unusual, these exciting diaries are filled with warmth, humor, San Francisco history, and the fascination of an honest and courageous life.”
—Jerry Rosco, author of Glenway Wescott Personally

“Bentley is both zoologist and amorous beast—a keen observer of the queer animal kingdom, yet also an eager participant. Funny, sexy, and finally wise…”
—Clifford Chase, author of Winkie and The Tooth Fairy

“A literate and literary observer, he unapologetically guides the reader—squirt by squirt—through a tempestuous era, surviving fire, earthquake, plague, psychotic boyfriends, and other natural disasters with humor and libido intact. I was moved to find an entire emotional life crammed into these pages: loss, love, fear, doubt, joy.”
—Don Shewey, author of Sam Shepard, contributor to Best Gay Erotica 2000


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About the author

Kevin Bentley is the author of Wild Animals I Have Known: Polk Street Diaries and After and Let’s Shut Out the World, a collection of memoirs, both available from Chelsea Station Editions. He edited the anthologies Boyfriends from Hell, Sex by the Book, and After Words: Real Sex From Gay Men's Diaries, and also authored Sailor: Vintage Photos of a Masculine Icon. His writing has appeared in various anthologies and in Poz, Out, ZYZZYVA, and Chelsea Station magazine. He lives with his husband, Paul, in San Francisco.


Also by Kevin Bentley

available from Chelsea Station Editions

Let's Shut Out the World