I Remember

Joe Brainard


Book, 21.2 x 13.6 cm, 138 p., language : English, publisher : Full Court Press, Inc., New York, ISBN : 0-916190-02-1/0-916190-03-X.
Materials: Ink, paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2027/49).

Literary synopsis

In the early 1970s, New York poet and artist Joe Brainard wrote a letter to a friend. "I am way, way up these days over a piece I am still writing called I Remember. I feel very much like God writing the Bible. I mean, I feel I am not really writing it but that it is because of me that it is being written. I also feel that it is about everybody else as much as it is about me. And that pleases me." At once intensely personal and strikingly universal, Brainard's I Remember has remained a cult classic ever since (though this magnificent yolk-yellow edition is the first UK publication). It's an assemblage of memories, a collage pieced together from snippets and stray thoughts, each of which begins with the incantation "I remember". "I remember butter and sugar sandwiches," he writes. "I remember tight white T-shirts and the gather of wrinkles from under the arms… I remember regretting things I didn't do… I remember when 'beehives' really got out of hand."

Over time, a whole world emerges: a world of growing up queer in Tulsa in the 1950s, when girls wore cardigan sweaters backwards and Sunday afternoon dinner was fried chicken or pot roast. His memories are deeply sensual, and it's impossible to get far without being struck by a corresponding flood of one's own. Buy it, for everyone you know. The Bible aside, I can't think of a more original or lovely book.

-Olivia Laing

Novel's website

Authorship: Artist Author.

Creative Strategy: No Link to Artworks.

Genre: Autobiography.

Publishing: Publishing House.

Theme: American Culture, Homosexuality, Memory.

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