Jack Parlett | Granta

Jack Parlett

Born in 1992 in Milton Keynes, Jack Parlett is a poet and scholar. He holds a PhD from Cambridge University on the poetics of cruising in queer American poetry, and is now a Junior Research Fellow in the English faculty at University College, Oxford. His debut poetry pamphlet was published in 2020 and his writing has appeared widely, including in Poetry London, Cambridge Humanities Review and Literary Hub.


Fire Island

Jack Parlett

Fire Island: a slim strip of land off the coast of New York, and a place of hedonism, reinvention, liberation.

Arriving on the island after a break-up back home in England, scholar and poet Jack Parlett was beguiled by what he found. Here were the halcyon scenes of Frank O’Hara’s poetry; the bars where Patricia Highsmith got drunk; the infamous cruising sites; and the dazzling beaches where couples had fallen in and out of love, free for a sun-kissed moment to be themselves in the time before gay liberation.

Tracing Fire Island’s rich history, Parlett leads the reader through the early days of the island’s life as a discreet home for same-sex love, to the wild parties of the post-Stonewall disco era, to the residents’ confrontation with the AIDS epidemic, and into a present where a host of new challenges threaten the island’s future.

Lyrical and vivid, Fire Island is a hymn to an iconic destination, and to the men and women whose ardour and determination spread freedom across its shores.