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The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard Hardcover – March 29, 2012
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—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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The volume leads off with "I Remember," the autobiographical book Edmund White once labelled "a completely original book" and Paul Auster calls "a modest little gem." There is an undeniable charm and relentless spell to it. Baby Boomer readers especially will be nodding their heads non-stop in recognition:
"I remember putting on sun tan oil and having the sun go away."
"I remember red rubber coin purses that opened like a pair of lips, with a squeeze."
"I remember Christmas cards coming from people my parents forgot to send Christmas cards to."
"I remember wax paper."
I REMEMBER is in print as a pocket-size paperback: Joe Brainard: I Remember. Over the years its simple template has influenced thousands of American students in creative writing classes, jump-starting their imagination. Foreign writers too have followed its trail. One is Édouard Levé, whose ...Read more ›
I could have done without Paul Auster, whose presence (eight 'I's in the first eight lines!) has prevented me buying this thus far. Brainard and Padgett are the real stars. What makes Brainard's brand of self-regard so different from Auster's? Could it be modesty?
The first portion of the book, “I Remember”, has long been renowned. Brainard discovered that the phrase “I remember” was a magic key and since then memoirs (and creative writing classes) have never been the same. The other sections, gathered from Brainard’s notebooks, literary magazines and small press books are presented in such a way that it feels you are flipping through his notebooks -- a choice which seems to me correctly intimate, casual and inviting. (Really, it’s no wonder that I felt like I was having an affair. It’s designed that way, I swear.)
More often than not, Brainard writes from the present moment and he seeks to do so in as simple and open a way as possible. Reading this book, I asked myself repeatedly if such writing could ever be done now, if it could ever be recognized and embraced -- or if we are too stuck in the pride of fancying ourselves incomprehensible, complicated, difficult. Could writing like this ever find readers now? Would the self-proclaimed avant-garde stick ever up for it? (If so, I admit I have a stack of pages I’d like to show. . .Read more ›
Brainard s honored here by the esteemed writer Paul Auster and his works form his life are arranged by his fellow poet Ron Padgett. This huge volume has nearly everything Brainard created - except for that ineffable joie de vivre that surrounded him. This book is important in that it does give us so much more than the two works for which he is most remembered - `I Remember' from 1975 and The Nancy Book 2008. Much of what fills the pages of this tome will not register with everyone - it takes a certain state of mind to be able to appreciate just how silly and simple he saw the world and share in some of those tongue in cheek moments never meant to be great art. But it is fun to pick and choose some of his `remembrances' such as the following:
I remember my first erections. I thought I had some terrible disease or something.
I remember the only time I ever saw my mother cry. I was eating apricot pie.
I remember when my father would say "Keep your hands out from under the covers" as he said goodnight. But he said it in a nice way.
I remember when I thought that if you did anything bad, policemen would put you in jail.
I remember when polio was the worst thing in the world.
I remember the first time I met Frank O'Hara. He was walking down Second Avenue.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just for "I remember" -- I challenge anyone to read this
and not be flooded with one's own memories of the
little things of life, and find ones that are identical... Read more
Too juvenile. Reads more like it was written by a sixth grader. Content boring. Overwritten, in a juvenile way. On the p,us side, it is varied, but not very compelling.Published on April 1, 2013 by Kathleen Waring