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The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard Hardcover – March 29, 2012

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The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard + Joe Brainard: I Remember
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Library of America; First Printing edition (March 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598531492
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598531497
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #805,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Bookforum

The Collected Writings makes its case—Brainard surely belongs in this canonical series, in no small part because he represents that peculiarly American aspiration to self-mythologize in the face of an otherwise relentlessly quotidian world. But this is done gently, with affection and a profound sense of commonality with his readers. Sounding playful, sometimes naive notes, Brainard nevertheless advances a serious cause. —Albert Mobilio


“ 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
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
You get a generosity of content when you buy this edition of Joe Brainard's Collected Writings. It contains a three-page preface by the book's editor Ron Padgett and a ten-page Introduction by novelist Paul Auster. This is followed by over 500 pages of writings interspersed with the author's own drawings and cartoons. Rounding out the book are pages of helpful editorial content: a Chronology; a Note on the Texts; and a Glossary of Names. The names belong to fellow artists, writers, dancers, musicians, associates and collaborators mentioned by the shy-but-gregarious, serious-but-gossipy, solemn and humorous Joe Brainard.

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
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By embers on September 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The poetry of Joe Brainard changed my life. I became aware of his writing in other collections that included the other New York Poets. Joe Brainard approached the world with the wide open eyes of a child. He also saw how really funny, even silly, the world could seem to be sometimes especially when you attended to certain details in the right order of unimportance or insignificance. Having, at last, this collection of his work in one place pleases me beyond measure ! For those of you who enjoy the craft of those special poets who become expert in a loving irreverence for the world, this is writing you will cherish.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DENNIS P. on October 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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 with
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Joe Brainard (1942-1994) was born in Salem, Arkansas and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. An artist, poet, and theater set designer he moved to New York City at age 19. There, he joined the community of New York School poets and painters who would later become his artistic collaborators, including Frank O'Hara, Ted Berrigan, John Ashbery, and Ron Padgett. One of Brainard's most frequent collaborators was his longtime partner, the writer Kenward Elmslie.

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.
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