The Return of Kathy Acker

AckerWith an announcement like that, who could resist. Truthfully (and ecstatically) I assumed the return of Kathy Acker meant that a publisher was reissuing all the fantastic texts Acker published, from her days in the sex trade until her untimely death by evil cancer.  Actually, this was an announcement of a new Kathy Acker book being published containing the revealing and unique correspondence between Acker and her close lover/friend/confidant/colleague McKenzie Wark.

Caroline Kellog’s short piece in the L. A. Times leads us to the announcement of the book of correspondence published by MIT Press.

Kathy Acker Returns

Experimental writer Kathy Acker was always pushing boundaries, of both form and content. When she died of cancer in 1997, her work was still ahead of its time.

And now Acker has returned. This week, the Los Angeles-based publisher Les Figues Press announced the Kathy Acker Fellowship, a part-time, nine-month fellowship for “an emerging writer/artist, literary editor, or arts curator/organizer” operating in Acker’s tradition of “innovative, exceptional text-based practices.”

The fellow will write for the Les Figues blog, work on Les Figues publications and help organize two events about the intersection of language, art and social change. Both events are to take place at the MAK Center Schindler House in West Hollywood in 2015. The fellow will use Acker’s desk, located in the Les Figues office. Applications are now being accepted.

Acker’s books include “Blood and Guts in High School,” “My Mother, Demonology,” “In Memoriam to Identity” and “Kathy Goes to Haiti.”

Bomb magazine has posted a new short Acker piece, a frenetic, sexually frank email exchange between Acker and McKenzie Wark from 1995. The unlikely pair had a brief fling, followed by a hyper-engaged email correspondence.

Their entire correspondence appears in the book “I’m Very Into You,” out this month from Semiotext(e). The publisher describes it as “a Plato’s Symposium for the twenty-first century, but written for queers, transsexuals, nerds, and book geeks.”

I have written earlier about Kathy Acker and have read almost everything she wrote. The letters promise the raw honesty I associate with Acker and for those perverts out there who can read, perhaps even more expose of the raw side of life. Absolutely a must read!

From Semiotext(e)

I'm Very In To YouI’m Very into You
Correspondence 1995–1996
By Kathy Acker and McKenzie Wark
Afterward by John Kinsella

Overview

“Why am I telling you all this? Partly ‘cause the whole queerness/identity thing for me stretches through everything, absolutely everything. Slipping between straight/gay is child’s play compared to slipping between writer/teacher/influence-peddler whatever. I forget who I am. You reminded me of who I prefer to be.” [M.W.]

“It’s two in the morning. . . I know what you mean about slipping roles: I love it, going high low, power helpless even captive, male female, all over the place, space totally together and brain-sharp, if it wasn’t for play I’d be bored stiff and I think boredom is the emotion I find most unbearable. . . ” [KA]
—from I’m Very into You

After Kathy Acker met McKenzie Wark on a trip to Australia in 1995, they had a brief fling and immediately began a heated two-week email correspondence. Their emails shimmer with insight, gossip, sex, and cultural commentary. They write in a frenzy, several times a day; their emails cross somewhere over the International Date Line, and themselves become a site of analysis. What results is an index of how two brilliant and idiosyncratic writers might go about a courtship across 7,500 miles of airspace—by pulling in Alfred Hitchcock, stuffed animals, Georges Bataille, Elvis Presley, phenomenology, Marxism, The X-files, psychoanalysis, and the I Ching.

Their correspondence is a Plato’s Symposium for the twenty-first century, but written for queers, transsexuals, nerds, and book geeks. I’m Very Into You is a text of incipience, a text of beginnings, and a set of notes on the short, shared passage of two iconic individuals of our time.

About the Authors

Kathy Acker was a novelist, essayist and performance artist whose books include Blood and Guts in High School, The Childlike Life of the Black Tarantula, Empire of the Senseless, In Memoriam to Identity, Don Quixote, My Mother: Demonology, and her last novel, Pussy King of the Pirates. Born and raised on New York’s Upper East Side, she died of breast cancer in Tijuana, Mexico, in 1997.

McKenzie Wark is an Australian-born writer whose books include Virtual Geography, A Hacker Manifesto, Gamer Theory, The Beach Beneath the Street,Telesthesia and The Spectacle of Disintegration. He teaches at The New School in New York City.

Reviews

“…this collected correspondence offers a fascinating glimpse of two artists at a time when they were as passionate about each other as their work.”—Publishers Weekly

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