Hannah Weiner’s Open House

Patrick Durgin published the following note recently on the Buffalo Poetics list, and I thought it worthwhile to repost it here. Any news about Hannah Weiner’s work being made available is good news:

We’re off to the presses and have a ship date of 3/14 for the forthcoming Hannah Weiner selected from Kenning Editions. For those interested in pre-ordering, see below.

Hannah Weiner’s Open House, by Hannah Weiner. Edited and with an introduction by Patrick F. Durgin. POETRY/ART/PERFORMANCE ISBN 0-9767364-1-1 $14.95

Hannah Weiner’s influence extends from the sixties New York avant-garde, where she was part of an unprecedented confluence of poets, performance and visual artists including Phillip Glass, Andy Warhol, Carolee Schneeman, John Perrault, David Antin, and Bernadette Mayer. Like fellow-traveler Jackson Mac Low, she became an important part of the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E movement of the 70s and 80s, and her influence can be seen today in the so-called “New Narrative” work stemming from the San Francisco Bay Area. With other posthumous publications of late, her work is being discussed by scholars in feminist studies, poetics, and disability studies. But there does not yet exist a representative selection spanning her decades of poetic output. Hannah Weiner’s Open House aims to remedy this with previously uncollected (and mostly never-published) work, including performance texts, early New York School influenced lyric poems, odes and remembrances to / of Mac Low and Ted Berrigan, and later “clair-style” works.

Hannah Weiner’s Open House beckons us into a realm of poetry that bends consciousness in order to open the doors of perception. Weiner is one of the great American linguistic inventors of the last thirty years of the 20th century. She created an alchemical poetry that transforms the materials of everyday life into a dimension beyond sensory perception. The pieces collected here are as much conceptual art as sprung prose, experimental mysticism as social realism, autobiography as egoless alyric. Patrick Durgin has brought together touchstone works, some familiar and some never before published. Hannah Weiner’s Open House provides the only single volume introduction to the full range of Weiner’s vibrant, enthralling, and unique contribution to the poetry of the Americas.
–Charles Bernstein

Hannah Weiner’s syncopated patterning uncovers a conversation so thrilling that I never want it to end. As Frank O’Hara had earlier shifted the stable lyric self into a multiplicity of positions (“I don’t know what blood’s in me”), Weiner began in overdrive and rocketed outward, inhabiting texts and communities with the same skill with which she herself was inhabited. “I was also a pillow/ case,” she wrote, in Spoke (1984). “ I was in the closet I was an iron [ . . .] I was also sentence.” Weiner makes haunting both spooky and hilarious. Messages billboard across the page, words bleed, leap and wilt. Superscription and subscription join forces to destroy the hegemony of the poetic line, opening it up to pure energy.
–Dodie Bellamy

Hannah Weiner’s work, so lovingly presented here, brought her into the exploration of new ways & means for making poetry – a process by which she would have left her mark under any circumstances on avant-garde poetics & practice. The still more remarkable change in her later work came, spontaneously, with the onset of an experience, an ongoing alteration of perception in which visible words entered her field of vision – as cause of wonder & as “messages” to be included in the poems that followed. If her art both early & late insures her standing within the twentieth-century avant-garde, it connects her as well to the experience & writings of many traditional poet-mystics (clairvoyants in her word for them & for herself). It is, when taken as a whole, an achievement without precedent or comparison among her sometimes better-known contemporaries.
–Jerome Rothenberg

Poet and visionary, Hannah Weiner knit together the worlds of post New York School poetry, performance and art. In the early 70s, she went on a three-week fast and let go of everything, resurfacing with a newly visceral, and visual, relation to letters and words. Exploring the joins between art and life, language and politics, she sought to “work in poetic forms that themselves alter consciousness.” For Weiner, poetry became a way to intertwine her own experience with that of others, to let more of the world into her art: “I continue writing as a collaboration with WORDS I SEE.” Rich with previously unpublished works and samples of key works, Hannah Weiner’s Open House restores a crucial figure to the present.
–Liz Kotz

Poetics List Pre-Order Special: Send a check or carefully concealed cash in the total of $12.00 per copy of the book, payable to the editor, Patrick F. Durgin, 409 Maple Street #2, Ypsilanti MI 48198. Books ship mid-March. Shortly thereafter, they will also be available through our regular distributor, Small Press Distribution (www.spdbooks.org), and thus your local bookseller. Subscriptions to the series of trade paperbacks from Kenning Editions can be had by filling out this handy form: http://www.kenningeditions.com/images/sub07.pdf

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