Memoir

Black Body Amnesia : Poems and Other Speech Acts
Jaamil Olawale Kosoko
Wendy's Subway - 30.00€ -

Blending poetry and memoir, conversation and performance theory, Black Body Amnesia: Poems and Other Speech Acts enlivens a personal archive of visual and verbal offerings written and organized by poet, performance artist, educator, and curator Jaamil Olawale Kosoko. Inspired by Audre Lorde’s concept of biomythography, Kosoko mixes personal history, biography, and mythology to tell a complex narrative rooted in a queer, Black, self-defined, and feminist imagination. 
 
This collection of intertextual performance acts captures the ephemeral data often lost or edited out of Kosoko’s live performances. Developed alongside their ongoing, multi-media live art project, American Chameleon, and elaborating on the artist’s unique practice of Socio-Choreological Mapping as a means to explore queer theories of the body and its "hydraulics of grief," this book offers critical-creative frames to consider the fluid identities and lifeworlds embedded inside contemporary Black America. 
 
With an introduction by editor Dahlia (Dixon) Li, and contributions by Sara Jane Bailes, mayfield brooks, Brenda Dixon-Gottschild, Ashley Ferro-Murray, Nadine George-Graves, Nile Harris, Ima Iduozee, Lisa Jarrett, Bill T. Jones, Jennifer Kidwell, Malkia Okech, Ada M. Patterson, Tracy K. Smith, and Jillian Steinhauer. 

Mothercare: On Obligation, Love, Death, and Ambivalence
Lynn Tillman
Soft Skull Press - 23.00€ -

When a mother’s unusual health condition, normal pressure hydrocephalus, renders her entirely dependent on you, your sisters, caregivers, and companions, the unthinkable becomes daily life. In MOTHERCARE, Tillman describes doing what seems impossible: handling her mother as if she were a child and coping with a longtime ambivalence toward her.

In Tillman’s celebrated style and as a “rich noticer of strange things” (Colm Tóibín), she describes, without flinching, the unexpected, heartbreaking, and anxious eleven years of caring for a sick parent.

MOTHERCARE is both a cautionary tale and sympathetic guidance for anyone who suddenly becomes a caregiver. This story may be helpful, informative, consoling, or upsetting, but it never fails to underscore how impossible it is to get the job done completely right.

Blueberries
Ellena Savage
Text Publishing - 17.00€ -

Blueberries could be described as a collection of essays, the closest term available for a book that resists classification: a blend of personal essay, polemic, prose poetry, true-crime journalism and confession that considers a fragmented life, reflecting on what it means to be a woman, a body, an artist. It is both a memoir and an interrogation of memoir. It is a new horizon in storytelling.

In crystalline prose, Savage explores the essential questions of the examined life: what is it to desire? What is it to accommodate oneself to the world? And at what cost?

Zither & Autobiography
Leslie Scalapino
Wesleyan - 17.00€ -

Zither & Autobiography is comprised of two parts: the author's autobiography and a book-length poem entitled Zither. Both parts of the book are concerned with facts and their undoing. In Autobiography, Scalapino explores her shifting memories of childhood—especially of years spent in Asia—experimenting with the memoir form to explore how a view of one's own life develops, how fixed memories move as illusion. 

Zither opens with a unique narrative that the author describes as samurai film, and as Classic Comic of Shakespeare's King Lear (without using any of Shakespeare's language, characters or plot). Creating a complex spatial soundscape, the poem works formally to allow continual change of one's conceptions while reading. The juxtaposition of the two parts and the connection between them is the anarchist moment... disjunction itself, a key concept in much of Scalapino's work. This vivid book reveals in every thought-sparking section just why Scalapino has been hailed by Library Journal as one of the most unique and powerful writers at the forefront of American literature.

Edgewise: A Picture of Cookie Mueller
Chloé Griffin (Ed.)
b_books - 22.00€ -  out of stock

Contributions by John Waters, Mink Stole, Gary Indiana, et al.

Cookie Mueller was a firecracker, a cult figure, a wit, a wild child, a writer, a go go dancer, a mother, an unlikely queer icon, an alchemist, a lightning rod in dark times. A child of suburban 50‘s Maryland and post-beatnik 60’s freakdom, she made her name first as an actress in the films of John Waters, and then as an art critic and columnist, a writer of hilarious and sublime stories and short fiction and a maven of the Downtown art world. Edgewise tells the story of Cookie‘s life through an oral history composed from over 80 interviews with the people who knew her. After tracing back some of the steps of the author’s 7-year trip in search of Cookie, the voices take us from the late 60’s artist communes of Baltimore to 70’s Provincetown where romantics and queers crawled the dunes and discos, to the sleepless creative high of post-industrial Bohemian New York, through 80‘s West Berlin and Positano, and into the depths and contradictions of Cookie’s life and loves.

Since her death from AIDS in 1989, Cookie’s work and life have made her an underground icon. Her original texts, first published by Hanuman Books and Semiotext(e), have been reprinted by Serpent’s Tail, and she is remembered for her appearances in the No Wave films and theater of Amos Poe, Michel Auder, Gary Indiana and others.

Along with the text, Edgewise consists of original artwork, unpublished photographs and archival material, and photo contributions by Philip-Lorca DiCorcia, David Armstrong, Robert Mapplethorpe, Peter Hujar and others.

Edgewise is a meditation on memory and story-telling.

Try Saying You're Alive!
Kazuki Tomokawa
Blank Forms - 20.00€ -

A memoir by Kawasaki-based writer and musician Kazuki Tomokawa, Try Saying You're Alive! offers a semi-fictionalized account of the vibrant Tokyo underground that he has been at the center of since the 1970s.

Recounting sixty years in the life of this "screaming philosopher." Try Saying You're Alive! traces Tomokawa's beginnings in the Akita Prefecture as a "runaway toddler," his adolescent basketball career, and his wanderings as a day laborer, gambler, painter, actor, drinker, and avant-garde folk guitarist. Anecdotes of figures such as novelist Kenji Nakagami, poet Shuji Terayama, actor Tôru Yuri, directors Takashi Miike and Nagisa Ōshima, and musicians Ryudo Uzaki and Kan Mikami animate this impassioned memoir by a legendary musician. This is the first English translation of Tomokawa's writing.

Kazuki Tomokawa (born Tenji Nozoki in 1950 in the Akita Prefecture area of northern Japan) is a prolific Japanese musician, singer-songwriter, artist and poet, one of the pioneers of acid-folk, active on the Japanese music scene since the beginning of the 1970s, companion of musicians such as Kan Mikami, Keiji Haino or Motoharu Yoshizawa. He has recorded more than thirty albums.

The Argonauts
Maggie Nelson
Graywolf Press - 15.00€ -  out of stock

Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of autotheory offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. It binds an account of Nelson's relationship with her partner and a journey to and through a pregnancy to a rigorous exploration of sexuality, gender, and family. An insistence on radical individual freedom and the value of caretaking becomes the rallying cry for this thoughtful, unabashed, uncompromising book.

My Mother Laughs
Chantal Akerman
The Song Cave - 20.00€ -  out of stock

First published in France in 2013, My Mother Laughs is the final book written by the legendary and beloved Belgian artist and director Chantal Akerman (1950-2015) before her death. A moving and unforgettable memoir, the book delves deeply into one of the central themes and focuses of Akerman's often autobiographical films: her mother, who was the direct subject of her final film No Home Movie (2015).

With a particular focus on the difficulties Akerman faced in conjunction with the end of her mother's life, the book combines a matter-of-fact writing style with family photographs and stills from her own films in order to better convey the totality of her experience. Akerman writes: With pride because I finally believed in my ability to say something that I'd had trouble saying. I told myself, I am strong for once, I speak. I tell the truth.  

Chantal Akerman (1950-2015) was a Belgian film director, screenwriter, artist and professor. She is best known for her film Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975), which was dubbed a masterpiece by the New York Times. During her 42 years of active filmmaking, Akerman's influence on queer, feminist and avant-garde cinema remains unmatched, her films highlighting a near-physical passage of time. Akerman's films have been shown at the Venice Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival and the New York Film Festival, among many others.

Translated by Corina Copp.

Published June 2019. 

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