Lara Pawson at the TLS:
David Wojnarowicz did not write dark fantasy. He wrote real life. In The Waterfront Journals he brilliantly captures electric tales from the mouths of strangers, those he described as “junkies, prostitutes, male hustlers, truck drivers, hobos, young outlaws, runaway kids, criminal types”, whose lives echo his own ostracized existence. He was thirteen when he was first paid for sex and sixteen when he started “turning tricks” regularly. His mother kicked him out of the house. By the time Wojnarowicz came out to friends in New York, he was in his early twenties. He was on the cusp of finding his voice as a writer and his confidence as an artist. It was the mid-1970s. AIDS was about to tear through the gay community.
Another journal, Weight of the Earth, gives form to Wojnarowicz’s own extraordinary life as it creeps closer and closer towards death. Originally taped as free-form audio diaries spanning the 1980s, these short dispatches offer insights into the mind of a man who was experiencing true love for the first time while also gaining a reputation on the New York art scene.