Portrait of an I
A volume of e-mail correspondence sheds new light on Kathy Acker's work and life
I'm Very into You:
Correspondence 1995—1996 (Semiotext(e))
by Kathy Acker and McKenzie Wark
$13.95 List Price
Kathy Acker met media theorist McKenzie Wark in 1995, when Acker was on tour in Australia. A novelist, essayist, and performance artist, Acker first made a name for herself in the New York art world of the 1970s, achieving widespread notoriety in 1984 when a mainstream press published the thrilling, anarchic novel Blood and Guts in High School. Acker was widely regarded as both inheritor and innovator of the literary avant-garde, and like many of her later books, Blood and Guts in High School appropriated text and themes from classic works, filtering them through the voices of multiple narrators—who often resembled the author and in some cases even shared her name. As her friend Avital Ronell wrote, “she didn’t turn her back . . . on the literary tradition”; she turned the literary tradition on its back. She brought to her relationships the same force she brought to her work. Whatever it was—a book, a room, a party—she always made it her own.
Her final novel, Pussy, King of the Pirates (1996), would be published shortly after Acker returned from Sydney, where she and Wark had a brief affair. When she returned to the States, they corresponded via e-mail, exchanging more than a hundred pages’ worth of messages in a few weeks, which are now collected in this volume. Each one is prefaced by the date, time, and subject, as well as the e-mail addresses it’s been sent from and to: a deceptively banal format for anyone who isn’t tempted by the prospect of reading other people’s e-mails. For those who are, the layout is immediately alluring, and the book will not disappoint, especially