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August 06, 1995|CHARLES SOLOMON

IN THE COMPANY OF MY SOLITUDE: American Writing From the AIDS Pandemic edited by Marie Howe and Michael Klein (Persea Books: $14.95; 219 pp., paperback original). Many of the noted figures in this grimly fascinating anthology of personal responses to the pandemic have already succumbed to AIDS: Marlon Riggs, Paul Monette, Melvin Dixon. The best articles are simultaneously depressing and hopeful: Award-winning poet Mark Doty sets the tone for the collection in a meditation on the death of his lover that concludes, "Hope is perhaps simply a stance towards the world, finally, a stance of participation, or inseparability. That which cannot be separated cannot perish. The world has one long-term survivor, which is the world."

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