“Walter Holland has lived long and felt deeply and these poems make the difficult connections
between pleasure and loss, nature and pain, men and absence.
—David Bergman

ISBN: 978-0-9844707-5-4


poems by Walter Holland

Circuit is about the ever shifting rituals and celebrations of gay life, from the political to the personal and the personal to the universal. From the serene settings of Fire Island and the exuberant parties of Provincetown to the AIDS wards of New York City and the acceptance of mortality and the recognition of grief, Walter Holland’s poetry captures the complex lives of gay men, its dizzy exhilaration, its camp sensibility, as well as its hidden tragedies and human struggles.



Circuit is not a young man’s book of poetry. Walter Holland has lived long and felt deeply and these poems make the difficult connections between pleasure and loss, nature and pain, men and absence. Holland is a survivor, and his poems deserve to survive long after this publication.”

—David Bergman, author of Heroic Measures and
Professor of English, Towson University


About the author

Walter Holland, Ph.D., is the author of two books of poetry A Journal of the Plague Years: Poems 1979-1992 and Transatlantic, as well as a novel, The March. His short stories have been published in Art and Understanding, Harrington Gay Men’s Fiction Quarterly, Rebel Yell, and Mama’s Boy: Gay Men Writing About Their Mothers. Some of his poetry credits include: Antioch Review, Art and Understanding, Barrow Street, Bay Windows, Body Positive, Christopher Street, Chiron Review, The Cream City Review, Found Object, Men’s Style, Pegasus, Phoebe, and Poets for Life: 76 Poets Respond to AIDS. He lives in New York City and teaches poetry and literature at The New School as well as works as a physical therapist.

Also by Walter Holland from Chelsea Station Editions: The March.



Praise for Circuit

“There’s a great deal of sensuality, pleasure in the sight, sound, taste and smell of things. But above all, there is an honest appreciation of beautiful men enjoying themselves on the dance floor and in bed, while appreciating the precarious transience of good looks, youth and health.... Holland tackles these seemingly mundane subjects and makes them beautiful and, yes, profound.”
—Steve Weinstein, Edge

“A history lesson alongside some particularly illustrative poetry… rife with the smells, emotions, and feel of many aspects of the gay experience.”

—Jim Piechota, Bay Area Reporter

“Holland’s major achievement here is to build a persona that is as unabashedly gay as it is charmingly decorous. I never thought about how much I tend to worry about the speakers of gay poems—how damaged and endangered our speakers tend to be. You never worry about Holland. He seems refreshingly adult… These are the poems of a healthy, well-adjusted happy man.”

Jason Schneiderman, Lambda Literary

“Walter Holland’s poems possess the measured observation and piercing poignancy of Cavafy, but they are even more gripping. Whether he is writing about Fire Island’s dance floors built on sand and the young men in transit on them, evoking the tar pit of grief and loss that was (and is) AIDS, or probing his own past and his own current love, Holland evinces a hard-eyed longing for connection and constancy. He writes with ‘the hard grace/of age’ in poems admirably committed to ‘seeking providence and desire.’”
—David Groff, Theory of Devolution

“‘The poet,’ said Borges, ‘like the blind, can see in the dark.’ Walter Holland's quiet, meditative verses illuminate even the blackest aspects of our odd era with their clear, melancholy vision—arresting, consoling, and unforgettable.”
—Ian Young, Sex Magick

“Whether Walter Holland is witnessing the individual face of a pandemic or what he calls ‘the opera of everyday objects,’ this poet’s lens is crystal clear, his language low-key and surgically precise, and the result is a well-worth taking journey into a mind, time, and places. Urbane yet humane, Circuit reminds me of the New York School poets of a half century ago: an admittedly personal collection of poetry, it rises to become a paradigm for an entire generation of gay men, A necessary book.”
—Felice Picano, Art and Sex in Greenwich Village


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