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Kathy AckerWriting the Impossible$
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Georgina Colby

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780748683505

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748683505.001.0001

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Montage and Creative Cutting: My Mother: Demonology

Montage and Creative Cutting: My Mother: Demonology

(p.172) Chapter 5 Montage and Creative Cutting: My Mother: Demonology
Kathy Acker

Georgina Colby

Edinburgh University Press

Acker’s practice of cutting and montage is the focus of the fifth chapter. A close analysis of Acker’s notebooks, the preliminary materials for My Mother: Demonology housed in the Kathy Acker Papers, reveals a compositional process comparable to Maya Deren’s practice of creative cutting in her late modernist experimental film montage. In My Mother: Demonology, Acker explicitly engages with film. Like Luis Buñuel, Acker views desire as having a revolutionary capacity. My Mother: Demonology, in its indeterminacy, sites of condensation, and displacement, embodies the structures of desire. It also marks Acker’s turn to the image. Chapter 5 argues for the primacy of the image in Acker’s experimental montage as a continuation of a modernist aesthetic legacy. The chapter suggests that the work possesses what Deren understands to be a ‘vertical axis’ in poetry that is able to create ‘visible and auditory forms for something that is invisible, which is the feeling, the emotion, or the metaphysical content of the movement.’ This vertical axis is present both in the text’s movement from the quotidian to the poetic, and the cutting in of excerpts from the works of Paul Celan and Ingeborg Bachmann.

Keywords:   montage, creative cutting, Maya Deren, film, Paul Celan, Ingeborg Bachmann, Luis Buñuel, Gruppe 47, abstraction, metaphor

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