Language Is a TemptationOnline at Poets House, New York City

A reading everyday in July 2020 of Bernadette Mayer’s Memory

events, 06/30/20

Detail of grid of all 1100+ photographs from Memory by Bernadette Mayer.

In 1971, for the month of July, poet Bernadette Mayer embarked on an experiment: each day she exposed a roll of 35mm film and kept a journal. The result was a groundbreaking, conceptual work that investigates the nature of memory, its surfaces, textures and material. Memory, comprised of more than 1100 photographs and two hundred pages of text, presages the durational and constraint-based works of a poet widely regarded as one of the most innovative writers of her generation. Originally conceived as an installation of photographs with a six-hour audio recording, Memory is now a book, published by Siglio, in which the full sequence of images and text come together for the first time on the page, making space for a work that has been legendary but mostly invisible.

Now, almost fifty years later in 2020, for the month of July, Poets House and Siglio are launching “Language Is a Temptation: Daily Readings from Bernadette Mayer’s Memory” with an exciting and diverse roster of poets, writers, scholars, and artists reading from Memory. The series celebrates the release of the book, but it also intends to be its own experiment, a kind of parallel durational work collapsing time, infiltrating social media with a different species of self-recording, connecting one consciousness to another as well as to collective memory.

How it works:

Every day this July, a passage from the corresponding day in 1971 will be read at 3 p.m. EST across the Poets House social media platforms on Instagram (IGTV), Twitter, and Facebook. The video will also feature text being read as well as a small selection of images from that day’s entry in Memory. The videos will be archived on YouTube.

SCHEDULE OF READERS (Links to archived videos)

July 1: Anselm Berrigan

July 2: Anaïs Duplan

July 3: Jen Bervin

July 4: Bill DeNoyelles

July 5: J’Lyn Chapman

July 6: Tausif Noor

July 7: Jill Magi

July 8: Peter Gizzi

July 9: Aldrin Valdez

July 10: Sarah Cain

July 11: Ann Stephenson

July 12: Greg Masters

July 13: Rona Cran

July 14: Andrew Durbin

July 15: Lee Ann Brown

July 16: Olivier Brossard

July 17: Peggy DeCoursey

July 18: Barbara Epler

July 19: Matt Connors

July 20: Brenda Coultas

July 21: Stephen Motika

July 22: Fanny Howe

July 23: Grace Murphy

July 24: Giovanni Singleton

July 25: Morgan Ritter

July 26: Emmy Catedral

July 27: Tammy Nguyen

July 28: Rachel Valinsky

July 29: Urayoán Noel

July 30: Lynne Sachs

July 31: Bernadette Mayer

see also

✼ ex libris:

“Multiplicity and distance or void wasn’t an affected practice on Johnson’s part; they were the very lenses of his reality.” —Elizabeth Zuba, from her introduction to Not Nothing: Selected Writings by Ray Johnson


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