Kathy Acker (1971-1975)

Unpublished early writings

Kathy Acker


Upcoming revised and augmented edition.

First scientific edition of Kathy Acker’s unpublished early writings from 1969 to 1976. Comprises nearly all of the typewritten texts from this period from among the various archive depositories where Acker’s papers can currently be found.
Also features the transcription and presentation of two experimental videos Kathy Acker created with Alan Sondheim in 1974.

This book is the first attempt to produce a scientific edition of a large number of Kathy Acker’s unpublished early works. Apart from the posthumous 2002 publication of the manuscript Rip-off Red, Girl Detective and The Burning Bombing of America: The Destruction of the U.S. in a single volume by Amy Scholder for Grove Press, as well as Gabrielle Kappes’ chapbook, no other important publication on this subject has been attempted.

These—mostly unpublished—texts were all written between 1969 and 1976. However, they are representative of Acker’s published output only for the period running from 1971 to early 1974. These texts all exist as “clean” typewritten copies, probably intended to be kept, shown, and maybe even published. The editor chose not to include Acker’s manuscripts, and the transcriptions in this volume were taken directly from the original typescripts. The original pagination, manuscript addenda, missing pages, and other idiosyncrasies of each document have been preserved, and our editorial notes at the end of each text all feature a detailed material description of the source version used.

The volume is laid out chronologically. Consequently, the dates for numerous texts were estimated based on their content and form, as well as on external testimonies (an estimate that is then justified and defended).

The collection shows how prolific, diverse, and ever-evolving Acker’s work was in these early years. It isn’t, however, the complete collection of her early works. More typescripts exist in the Fales Library (in New York), which are not featured or even alluded to in this book. Their publication and analysis may in the future suggest a whole new set of interpretations that will complete, or possibly contradict, the present editor’s exegesis. Moreover, comparing the typescripts with the manuscripts will no doubt inspire new perspectives on Acker’s creative process and intentions during these years.

Author(s): Kathy Acker
Publication's number: 5
Pages: 656
Language(s): English
Also features: contributions by Alan Sondheim, Emily Cheng, Jill Kroesen, Peter Gordon, Claire Finch, Anna Maria Pinaka, Matias Viegener, and Justin Gajoux.
Editor(s): Justin Gajoux [Sébastien Jallaud] (editing & notes); Claire Finch (notes)
Photographer(s): Laurence (Larry) Fink; Kathy Acker, Alan Sondheim & Emily Cheng (for the tapes)
Illustrator(s): Satarina Cantos [Catarina Santos]
Designer(s): Sébastien Jallaud
Publication date (print): 30/08/2019
Publication date (digital): 10/01/2021
ISBN: 979-10-97450-03-8
Dimensions: 13 × 21 cm
Price: 35 € buy
Available in the following bookstores:

FRANCE: After 8 Books (Paris) ♦ Librairie la Petite Égypte (Paris) ♦ Shakespeare & Co. (Paris) ♦ Galerie Yvon Lambert (Paris) ♦ Librairie Tschann (Paris) ♦ Librairie Galignani (Paris) ♦ Libraire les Mots à la Bouche (Paris) ♦ L’Écume des Pages (Paris) ♦ Wheelbarrow Books (Paris).
BELGIUM: Rile* (Brussels) ♦ Passaporta (Brussels).
PORTUGAL: Galeria Zé dos Bois (Lisbon) ♦ Livraria Distopia (Lisbon) ♦ Livraria Linha de Sombra (Lisbon) ♦ Livraria Snob (Lisbon).
GERMANY: Motto Books (Berlin) ♦ B_Books (Berlin) ♦ Pro Qm (Berlin) ♦ Walther König Buchhandlung (Berlin) ♦ Rotorbooks (Leipzig).
UNITED STATES: Printed Matter (New York, NY) ♦ ICA Boston (Boston) ♦ Skylight Books (Los Angeles) ♦ Ooga Booga (Los Angeles).

Online buy
Table Of Contents:

– Acknowledgements
– Foreword
Claire Finch
– Are You Surprised that Kathy Acker Was an Aries Because I’m Not.

Kathy Acker
– The Golden Woman (ca. 1969-1970)
– Section from: Diary (1-2/1971) 

– Portraits (7/1971) — Kathy Acker
– Portraits and Visions (ca. summer 1971)
– Diary Warmcatfur (1/1972)
– Politics (pub. 5/1972)
– For H. (ca. 5/1972)
– Revolutionary Diary of an Anarchist (ca. 5/1972)
– Journal Black Cats     Black Jewels (summer 1972)
– Gold Songs for Jimi Hendrix (ca. summer 1972)
– Breaking Up (ca. summer 1972)
– [Letters to Bernadette Mayer] (summer-fall 1972) 
– Homage to LeRoi Jones (fall 1972)
– [Letter to Bernadette Mayer] (ca. fall 1972)
– Entrance into dwelling in paradise (fall 1972)
– [Exercises] (fall 1972)
– Stripper Disintegration (2-3/1973)
– Section from Diary (3/1973)
– [Letter to Bernadette Mayer] (6/2?/1973)
– The beginning of the Thesmophoriazusae (7-9/1973)
– Part I of Breaking Through Memories into Desire (11/1973)
– Part II [of Breaking Through Memories…] (ca. 1/1974)
– Conversations (1/1974)
Peter Gordon
– Talking as Music (2/1974)
Kathy Acker
– From Part III of Breaking Through Memories… (2-3/1974)
– [Letters to Alan Sondheim] (2-3/1974)
– [Letter to Bernadette Mayer] (3/3/1974)
Kathy Acker & Alan Sondheim.
– [Untitled Tape] (3/1974)
Emily Cheng
– [About the Untitled Tape] (ca. 3/1974)
Kathy Acker & Alan Sondheim
– [Untitled Tape 2] (ca. 3/1974)
Kathy Acker
– Various Memory Experiments, I (4/1974)
– [Letter to Bernadette Mayer] (4-7/1974)
Alan Sondheim
– [Postcard to Kathy Acker] (7/24/1974)
Kathy Acker
– [Letters to Bernadette Mayer] (10/1974-10/1975)
Jill Kroesen
– [Songs] (1974-1975).
Kathy Acker & Alan Sondheim
– [Flyer for the Whitney Museum] (11/1976)

Alan Sondheim
– About the “Blue Tape” (2012)
Emily Cheng
– [About the Untitled Tape 1] (2018)
Justin Gajoux

– 14th Street studio and Fun City (2019)
Justin Gajoux

– Kathy Acker and Sex Work in the “Section from Diary” (2019)
Anna Maria Pinaka

– Porno-graphing Actions of the “Blue Tape” (2019)
Matias Viegener
– Afterword