cover image I’m Very into You: Correspondence 1995–1996

I’m Very into You: Correspondence 1995–1996

Kathy Acker and Mackenzie Wark, edited by Matias Viegener. Semiotext(e) (MIT, dist.), $13.95 (152p) ISBN 978-1-58435-164-1

An email exchange that Acker (who died in 1997) and Wark (Virtual Geography) kept up for four months following a brief fling in 1995 serves as the foundation for what John Kinsella, in his afterword to this slim volume, refers to as “almost-love letters of cultural slippage and affirmation.” As the pair, attempting to become more intimately acquainted, trade insights on culture, politics, and sexuality, two distinct personalities emerge: Wark, the scholar of media theory, is the more organized and measured; Acker (Blood and Guts in High School), the post-punk novelist and essayist, is a whirlwind of emotions. Writing often in stream-of-consciousness mode, Acker comes across as bluntly honest about herself and her place in the world. Reflecting on the mistreatment she endured for years from a snooty intellectual friend, and the shame she feels for allowing it to happen, she writes, “I want a past I can acknowledge.” And she is painfully sensitive about her status as an outsider artist, writing, “I’m this: part of a culture that doesn’t want me.” In his introduction, editor Viegener puts the pair’s communications in the context of their literary work, but without annotations or endnotes, many of the references and names dropped will remain a mystery to newcomers. Regardless, this collected correspondence offers a fascinating glimpse of two artists at a time when they were as passionate about each another as their work. B&w illus. (Mar.)