VCW WORKS-IN-PROGRESS: “Experimental Subjectivity in Benadette Mayer’s ‘Memory'” with Caroline Miller on Thurs Jan 27 @ 12:30 pm

Image 3.1: “& the main thing is we begin with a white sink a whole new language is a temptation”

Image 3.3: “the window still has panes but the curtains fade into the ground I mean blend & snap something new could happen” (116-117)

Image 3.4: “ed from the side has made the grass his hair by sitting on the edge of the deck & making me look past him to see him over his own shoulder” (118)

Image 3.5: “the salt’s in his eyes & for a lung a plate of salad& cheese & bread & for a heart beets in a yellow plate…he holds the fork of his heart to his tongue” (118)

Image 3.6: “orange crates & I kept that feeling about orange but this time I put them through a transparent blue awning & the awning only gives them more light” (118)

Image 3.8: the cover of Memory, with an image of a twin tower on the spine, a young Mayer on the bottom front cover, and her three friends on the back

Bernadette Mayer, July 7, 1971


Please join the Visual Culture Workshop
for discussion of work-in-progress:

“Experimental Subjectivity and the Immaterial in Bernadette Mayer’s Memory
Caroline Miller
PhD candidate, English Language and Literature
Thursday, January 27 @ 12:30 pm
3154 Angell Hall
Lunch will be served

In July 1971, experimental poet Bernadette Mayer’s shot 1,116 photographs. She then wrote an accompanying 195 pages of dense prose poetry to create the hybrid visual-language project Memory. Though Mayer considered Memory to be an objective collection of data solidly based on artifacts, I see it as a work haunted by absence and suffused with subjectivity. By drawing out these ghostly threads, I reposition Mayer as a poet who loses faith in the concrete and thus abandons her pursuit of ‘materializing’ language. Instead, I contend, she forged a unique poetics of experimental affect in which the self acts as site and, in doing so, opened this path to a generation of avant-garde writers.

Please email to rsvp and to receive an electronic copy of the document.

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