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The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard

Library of America Special Edition

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


In New York’s vibrant art and poetry scenes of the 1960s and 70s, Joe Brainard occupied a special place. An artist of diverse and extraordinary gifts, he worked prolifically in a dazzling range of media, creating cover designs and interior art for some of the most significant books of the period and experimenting with the mixing of poetry and comic strips. The publication in 1970 of his one-of-a-kind autobiographical work I Remember showed that Brainard was also a writer of originality, grace, depth, and distinctive humor. I Remember has become a contemporary classic, of which the poet James Schuyler said: “It’s a great work that will last and last—in other words, it is literature.”

Here in one volume is the full range of Joe Brainard’s writing in all its deadpan wit, effortless inventiveness, personal candor, and generosity of spirit: the complete text of I Remember, along with an unprecedented gathering of intimate journals, stories, poems, travel diaries, one-liners, comic strips, mini-essays, and short plays, many of them until now available only in expensive, rare editions. Using apparently simple means to achieve complex and surprising effects, these works turn the most everyday experiences into occasions for startled contemplation. “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. “These little works . . . are not really about anything so much as what it means to be young, that hopeful, anarchic time when all horizons are open to us and the future appears to be without limits.”
Assembled by the author’s longtime friend and biographer Ron Padgett and presenting for the first time fourteen previously unpublished works, The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard provides long overdue recognition of a singular literary talent and a terrific person whom readers will come to love. 

From Publishers Weekly

Mar 26, 2012 – 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.
The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard
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  • $17.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Apr 04, 2012
  • Publisher: The Library of America
  • Seller: The Library of America
  • Print Length: 480 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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