Kathy Acker

(1947 - 1997)

Born in 1945 in New York, United States.

Studied poetry during the 1960s under Jerome Rothenburg before turning to novel writing.

"I came out of the poetry world of America. Specifically, I was taught by the second generation of the Black Mountain poets and by Jackson MacLow who was a crossover between that group and Fluxus [links to Fluxus site on the net]. Among the many lessons I had learned by the time I was in my early twenties was a practical one: poets never make money and are, as both Rimbaud and Patti Smith said, the white niggers of this earth". --Kathy Acker (in the introduction to Young Lust , 1988).

"She has been publishing books since the early seventies, principally with American underground publishers. She has taught in the San Francisco Art Institute in recent years and has given many readings and performances in San Francisco, Seattle and New York". [publisher's bumpf, Blood and Guts in High School , UK pbk, 1984]

First came to the attention of the British public in 1984 with the "stunning and shocking" Blood and Guts in High School .

"Her work incorporates autobiography, self-confessed plagiarism and pornography, often dealing with the relations between power and language. Having never shied away from describing violence and sexuality in graphic detail, Kathy Acker's career has never been less than controversial". [publisher's bumpf, In Memoriam to Identity , 1993 reissue]

"She has also worked with Richard Foreman on a play version of My Death My Life presented at the Théâtre de la Bastille in Paris and on an opera, The Birth of a Poet which was shown in New York. She wrote the film Variety for director Bette Gordon". [publisher's bumpf, Young Lust , 1989]

She currently lives in San Francisco and rides a 750 Yamaha.



Bodies of Work : Essays
by Kathy Acker

With enervating experimentation but touching directness, postmodern novelist Acker (Portrait of an Eve, 1992; My Mother: Demonology, 1993; etc.) explores art, politics, and being in her first essay collection. Subjects are various, ranging from William Burroughs to Goya to San Francisco; many of the pieces have been published previously (prefaces to books, articles in Marxism Today, the Critical Quarterly, etc.). Despite the variety of subjects and sources, the collection is neatly structured: Essays are grouped agreeably by subject--``On Art and Artists,'' ``The City,'' ``Bodies of Work.'' Though Acker says she aims to ``destroy'' the essay form, she does more of what the form openly invites--to tinker and confess.

-- Copyright 1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

"The most enjoyable thing about having a conversation with the gorgeous, post-punk, post-feminist, pierced and tattooed American novelist Kathy Acker, is that her answers to interview questions take on an elliptical quality. Just as in her novels, you are simultaneously thrown off balance and yet riveted, never quite knowing whether she is going to give you a straight answer or about to go off at a bizarre, but somehow connected, tangent".

--Jonathan Webster
(in Internet , May 1996).

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Kathy Acker at Amazon.Com

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