We’re having a little change for April, instead of the second Thursday of this month (12th April), we will instead be meeting on Thursday 18th April (7pm at Bokship as usual) to discuss an extract from Kathy Acker.
Acker (born April 18, 1947 – November 30, 1997) was an American experimental novelist, punk poet, playwright, essayist,postmodernist and sex-positive feminist writer. She was strongly influenced by the Black Mountain School, William S. Burroughs, David Antin,French critical theory, philosophy, and pornography.
We wanted to read an extract from Pussy, King of the Pirates, but unfortunately, it’s proving a little harder to get hold of than first expected so we are going to read Acker’s 1992 essay “Against Ordinary Language: Language of the Body”, an interesting summary of which I have found here:
In “Against Ordinary Language: The Language of the Body,” bodybuilder and writer Kathy Acker tells about her thwarted desire to write about the world of bodybuilding, that “geography of no language,” a place where to describe one’s experience in words is seemingly impossible. To try to understand her difficulty articulating what she experiences when she goes to the gym, she turns to Elias Canetti and Ludwig Wittgenstein. It’s hard to imagine a piece of writing that successfully interweaves a description of “doing reps” with meditations on Canetti’s experience of language and Wittgenstein’s language games, but Acker does it–in one paragraph relating a surrealist dream of Canetti’s, in the next discussing sets and squats. What results is a web of associations about language, with fascinating insights (“In a gym, verbal language or language whose purpose is meaning occurs . . .only at the edge of its becoming lost”) and provocative questions (“Is the equation between destruction and growth also a formula for art?”). I really like that she doesn’t shy away, either, from talking about the cliché that “athletes are stupid,” going beyond this narrow-minded view and exploring what it means to be “inarticulate.” (A’Dora Phillips).
If and / or when I do get hold of the Pussy extract I will put it up here for us to read in conjunction with Acker’s essay.
In the meantime, pop into SPACE (open during the week and weekends between 12pm – 6pm) to hear an extract from Pussy read by the author herself. Exhibitions opens this Friday and runs until 2nd June 2013.
DOWNLOAD the handout here / and if you have time or are interested please DOWNLOAD this essay (12.2braunberger) Revolting Bodies: The Monster Beauty of Tattooed Women by Christine Braunberger for a further interesting perspective on the theme of the body.
See you all on the 18th!