Shop > Artists' Books

Out of Stock

Language to Cover a Page: The Early Writings of Vito Acconci

Vito Acconci
The MIT Press
Artists' Books
8.5 × 11 × 1.5 in
428 pp
Arts Writing

Pioneering conceptual artist Vito Acconci began his career as a poet. In the 1960s, before beginning his work in performance and video art, Acconci studied at the Iowa Writers Workshop and published poems in journals and chapbooks. Almost all of this work remains unknown; much of it appeared in the self-produced magazines of the Lower East Side’s mimeo revolution, and many other pieces were never published. Language to Cover a Page collects these writings for the first time and not only shows Acconci to be an important experimental writer of the period, but demonstrates the continuity of his early writing with his later work in film, video, and performance.

Language to Cover a Page documents a key moment in the unprecedented intersection of artists and poets in the late 1960s — as seen in the Dwan Gallery’s series of “Language” shows (1967-1970) and in Acconci’s own journal 0 to 9. Indeed, as Acconci moved from the poetry scene to the art world, his poetry became increasingly performative while his artwork was often structured and motivated by linguistic play.

Acconci’s early writing recalls the work of Samuel Beckett, the deadpan voice of the nouveau roman, and the jump cuts and fraught permutations of the nouvelle vague. Poems in Language to Cover a Page explore the materiality of language (“language as matter and not ideas,” as Robert Smithson put it), the physical space of the page, and the physicality of source texts (phonebooks, thesauruses, dictionaries). Other poems take the space of the page as an analogue to performance space or implicate the poem in a network of activity (as in his “Dial-a-Poem” pieces). Readers will find Acconci’s inventive and accomplished poetry as edgy and provocative as anything published today.

Hardcover, perfect-bound, b&w

March 2006

ISBN: 978-0-262-01224-9

About the Editor
Craig Dworkin, Professor in the English Department at the University of Utah, is the author of Reading the Illegible and the editor of Language to Cover a Page: The Early Writings of Vito Acconci (MIT Press).

  1. Language to Cover a Page

Related Items

  1. Vito Acconci, lynda benglis, Louise Bourgeois, Gerard Byrne, George Chakravarthi, Judy Chicago, vaginal davis, Wim Delvoye, Elmgreen & Dragset, VALIE EXPORT, Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, harmony hammond, claudette johnson, Mary Kelly, Yayoi Kusama, and Robert: Sexuality
  2. Waterways: Four Saliva Studies/ Vito Acconci’s Undoing
  3. Primitive Beast, Language
  4. txtrapolis: Contemporary Text-Based Art from Singapore
  5. Julien Jonas Bismuth: a cover to cover (uncover)

Julien J. Bismuth
  6. Marco Gastini: Double Page Number 6
  7. How to Write (more)
  8. Garry Neill Kennedy: Page Seventy: Page Fourteen
  9. Relative Specimen
  10. Adam Marnie and Ed Steck: The Rose
  11. Mitchell Syrop: Niza Guy / Bifurcated
  12. Rick Myers: Books & Activities (with a bullet for Buñuel)
  13. Hanna Hur: Get Well Soon
  14. Susan Kordalewski: Every Word I Know
  15. Alec Finlay: Thought Cloud Jotter
  16. Jacob Fabricius: Yours Truly
  17. Eric Doeringer: Records (After Ed Ruscha)
  18. David Kennedy Cutler: Against Geology/The Blossoms of Greenpoint
  19. Nadia Myre: En[counter]s
  20. Linda Simpson: Pages
  21. Jennifer Tamayo: Red Missed Aches Read Missed Aches Red Mistakes Read Mistakes
  22. Rachel Corbett, Rainer Ganahl, and Liam Gillick: Manhattan Marxism
  23. Nic Wilson: Still Life With Dying Flowers
  24. Julie Voyce: 1957 (40 05) 1993 2037
  25. Fly: PEOPs #7
  26. Jo Cook, Wesley Mulvin, and Petra Poldlahova: Czech Birds, Sileni Lovci, Wild Hunters
  27. Laurel Woodcock
  28. Jeff Ladouceur: Schmo
  29. Andrea Lenardin: Instant Days Sticker Books
  30. Mabry Specimen
  31. Ricardo Zulueta: Anonymous Strangers [Red]
  32. Ricardo Zulueta: Anonymous Strangers [Violet]
  33. Michael Dickman
  34. NSK from Kapital to Capital
  35. Art & Language..Confessions: Incidents in a Museum
  36. Marc Hollenstein: Collected Words from the Dictionary (Gesammelte–Verzamelde Wörter–woorden aus–uit dem–het Wörterbuch–woordenboek)
  37. Ricardo Zulueta: Anonymous Strangers [Blush Pink]
  38. M.A. Vizsolyi

ed. Jason Dodge