Reading from MemoryUnnameable Books, Saturday, April 13 at 6 p.m.

events, 03/12/24

detail from July 29, 1972 in Memory by Bernadette Mayer

In 1971, Bernadette Mayer embarked on an experiment: During the month of July she shot a roll of 35mm film each day and kept a journal. The result was a conceptual work that investigates the nature of memory, its surfaces, textures and material. Memory is both monumental in scope (over 1100 photographs, two hundred pages of text and six hours of audio recording) and a groundbreaking work by a poet who is widely regarded as one of the most innovative writers of her generation. Presaging Mayer’s durational and constraint-based diaristic works of poetry, it also evinces her extraordinary—and unheralded—contribution to conceptual art.

In 2020, siglio published Memory, bringing together the full sequence of images and text for the first time in book form. It sold out in less than a year, even as all the events were cancelled. Now, a new printing makes it available again.

On Saturday, April 13 at 6 p.m. at Unnameable Books, we celebrate the reissue with a reading of excerpts from Memory by Brenda Coultas, Phil Good, Laura Henrickson, Bob Holman, Paolo Javier, Shiv Kotecha, Dorothea Lasky and Max Warsh.

Join us! (And maybe bring a sweater—the reading is outdoors.) Unnameable Books is located at 615 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238. The event is free. More about Mayer and Memory here.

In upstate NY or thereabouts? Check out our April 21st event in Hudson at Time & Space Limited.

detail from July 15, 1972 in Memory by Bernadette Mayer

Unnameable readers

In the mid-90s, Brenda Coultas moved to New York City to work as staff at the Poetry Project.  Her books include The Marvelous Bones of Time (2008) and A Handmade Museum (2003) from Coffee House Press. Coultas’ more recent works, both from Wesleyan University Press, include The Tatters (2014), an elegy to print, and The Writing of an Hour, an ars poetica (2022).

Philip Good lives and writes near a piece of woods that Bernadette Mayer named the Poetry State Forest. Sometimes he makes maple syrup there. Support the Poetry State Forest here.

Laura Henriksen is the author of Laura’s Desires (Nightboat, 2024). She teaches writing at Pratt Institute, and works as the Program Director of The Poetry Project. She regularly facilitates feminist reading groups, and the most common theme of those reading groups is the work of Bernadette Mayer.

1977-80: Bob Holman‘s a poet in the CETA Artists Project, largest federally-funded artist project since the WPA. 1980-84: Coordinator at Poetry Project working alongside Director Bernadette. 81: Directs 4 Plays by Edwin Denby in the Parish Hall, sets by E. Murray. They marry and Sophie is born in 82. Daisy arrives in 85. Hosted the Nuyorican Slam 1989-96. Opened Bowery Poetry Club 2002. Still at it. Chair of the Rename St. Mark’s St. Bernadette’s Committee. All are welcome to join.

The  former Queens Borough Poet Laureate (2010-2014), Paolo Javier has produced three albums of sound poetry with Listening Center (David Mason), and was featured in PS1 MoMA’s Greater NY and Queens International. His most recent book, True Account of Talking to the 7 in Sunnyside, published by Roof, was a finalist for the 2022 Big Other Book Award for Poetry. He lives in Jackson Heights, Queens. He co-curated “Language is a Temptation,” the month-long, daily reading series of Memory at Poets House in 2020.

Shiv Kotecha is the author of two books: The Switch (Wonder, 2018), in which two poems and a suite of stories make a case for friendship over love; and EXTRIGUE (Make Now, 2015), in which the mise-en-scène of Billy Wilder’s noir Double Indemnity is rendered into a procedural novel of objects. His essay on Bernadette Mayer’s Memory appears in The Poetry Project Newsletter’s Spring 2023 issue.

Dorothea Lasky is the author of eight books of poetry and prose, including The Shining (Wave Books) and the forthcoming MEMORY (Semiotext(e)), which is inspired by Bernadette Mayer’s Memory. This is her favorite Bernadette Mayer poem.

Max Warsh is an artist, curator and director of the Yeh Art Gallery at St. John’s University in Queens, New York. Along with Marie Warsh, he is also co-director of the Estate of Rosemary Mayer. He received his MFA in Photography from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2004, and his BA from Sarah Lawrence College in 2002.

see also


✼ @sigliopress:

Yes, for the foreseeable future, any ongoing catastrophe metaphor applies: tsunami, fire, mudslide, earthquake, aftershock. Indie publishing is never for the faint-hearted. Now, it requires superpowers. Meanwhile, I have a drugstore umbrella, knee-high wellies and a spade.

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