The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard

The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard

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by Joe Brainard
     
 

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Known during his life primarily as an artist associated with the New York School of poets, Joe Brainard (1942–1994) was also a wonderful writer whose one-of-a-kind autobiographical work I Remember (“a completely original book”—Edmund White) has had a wide and growing influence. It is joined in this major new retrospective with many

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Overview

Known during his life primarily as an artist associated with the New York School of poets, Joe Brainard (1942–1994) was also a wonderful writer whose one-of-a-kind autobiographical work I Remember (“a completely original book”—Edmund White) has had a wide and growing influence. It is joined in this major new retrospective with many other works that for the first time allow the full range of Brainard’s writing to be savored in all its deadpan wit, nonstop goofy inventiveness, self-revealing frankness, and generosity of spirit. Collected Writings gathers journals, jottings, letters, stories, one-liners, comic books, mini-essays, and playlets, much of which exist in print only in expensive rarities, if at all, to create “one of the most dazzlingly minute autobiographies ever written” (Harper’s Magazine). “Brainard disarms us with the seemingly tossed-off, spontaneous nature of his writing and his stubborn refusal to accede to the pieties of self-importance,” writes Paul Auster in his introduction to this collection. Assembled by the author’s longtime friend and biographer Ron Padgett and including fourteen never-before published works, here is a fresh and affordable way to rediscover a unique American artist.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“ Beautifully designed, Collected Writings reproduces the improvised, homemade feel of Brainard’s journal writings by including drawings and handwritten notes and memos and cartoons and flyers.”
Mark Ford, The New York Review of Books
 
“ This is a really fun book, one that will win over old friends and new fans alike.”
—Patrick James Dunagan, Rain Taxi
Michael Dirda
Nearly every page of Brainard is…mysterious, inconsequential and fun…a superbly engaging bedside book, full of springlike exuberance, energy and wit.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Uncommonly versatile and uncommonly funny, Brainard (1942–1994) might be best-known for I Remember (1968–1975), a disarming, beautiful, experimental memoir made from hundreds of largely unconnected sentences, each one beginning the same way: “I remember the sound of the ice cream man coming./ I remember once losing my nickel in the grass before he made it to my house./ I remember that life was just as serious then as it is now.” Brainard was more prolific, and at least as influential, in visual art, which he usually saw as his primary work, including book covers, oil paintings, postmodern cartoons and comic strips, and collaborations on artists’ books. Along with the last, longest version of I Remember, this volume gathers ample diaries from the 1960s and 1970s, composed in New York City, Vermont, and Bolinas, Calif.; two interviews; selected sketches, cartoons and hand-written pieces; and short aphoristic, or mock-aphoristic, verse and prose. Brainard is usually grouped with the second generation of New York School writers: some readers will seek, and find, gossip about them here, while others will take to the quirky and moving one-liners: “I don’t have an inferiority complex or anything like that, but for some reason I’m always trying to prove myself”; “The only thing that ever bothered me about being queer was that I thought maybe people wouldn’t like me if I knew.” (Mar.)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781598532784
Publisher:
Library of America
Publication date:
08/29/2013
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
1,356,755
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

John Ashbery
It is wonderful, and singularly fitting, that Joe Brainard's collected writings are being published by The Library of America. Brainard's subject was memory, that is, the things that memory remembers. In his case these were as quirky as anybody's, which is why so many readers have responded to them. Brainard was that recognizable American phenomenon, the oddball classicist.
From the Publisher
“ Beautifully designed, Collected Writings reproduces the improvised, homemade feel of Brainard’s journal writings by including drawings and handwritten notes and memos and cartoons and flyers.”
—Mark Ford, The New York Review of Books
 
“ This is a really fun book, one that will win over old friends and new fans alike.”
—Patrick James Dunagan, Rain Taxi

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