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Barf Manifesto
Barf Manifesto

Dodie Bellamy

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"Barf has never looked so good." — Michael Miller

Asked to write a paper on alternative forms of memoir for the 2007 Modern Language Association conference, Bellamy wrote an admiring analysis of "Everyday Barf," the essay that concludes Eileen Myles's recent poetry collection Sorry, Tree. Bellamy's talk, "MLA Barf," became a rousing defense of the "barf" as a literary form. Here "MLA Barf" is joined by its sequel, "CCA Barf," delivered as a lecture at the California College of the Arts some months later. Together the two talks celebrate Eileen Myles—especially her genius for bringing the body into writing—as well as the conceptual practices of two British visual artists, Tariq Alvi and Bridget Riley. In addition, Barf Manifesto, like The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, is an intimate account of a long, sometimes tortured, but enduring friendship between two female writers. In the words of critic Ramsey Scott, "Bellamy asks us: how can sloppiness become an intellectual stance, a methodology with its own aesthetic and political priorities? How might a permeable editorial screen that allows for error, parataxis, and the non sequitur serve as the basis for a hybrid kind of writing that is at once critical and autobiographical, factual and fictional? What does it mean to insist upon the disorderly as a means of cultural critique and political engagement?"

Excerpt ˇ

Excerpt

Passion in writing or art—or in a lover—can make you overlook a lot of flaws. Passion is underrated. I think we should all produce work with the urgency of outsider artists, panting and jerking off to our kinky private obsessions. Sophistication is conformist, deadening. Let's get rid of it.

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About the Author

Dodie Bellamy

Dodie Bellamy is a novelist, poet, and essayist. Her Ugly Duckling chapbook Barf Manifesto was named best book of 2009 under 30 pages by Time Out New York. Other books include the buddhist, Academonia, Pink Steam, The Letters of Mina Harker, and Cunt-Ups, which won the 2002 Firecracker Alternative Book Award for poetry. Recent projects include Cunt Norton (Les Figues, 2013), in which she takes the second edition of the Norton Anthology of Poetry and sexualizes it in the language of porn and desire; New Narrative: 1975-1995, a Nightboat Books anthology she’s editing with Kevin Killian; and When the Sick Rule the World, her third collection of essays, forthcoming from Semiotext(e). Her reflections on the Occupy Oakland movement, “The Beating of Our Hearts,” was published as a chapbook in conjunction with the 2014 Whitney Biennial, and The TV Sutras was released by UDP in 2014.

Advance Praise

Her verbal upchuck could have become a mess, but the shifts are so exquisitely structured that they rarely fail to marvel. When one steps back from Bellamy’s narrative, her discrete thoughts somehow contrast and interact like the dots on a Seurat canvas, forming a vivid portrait of art and friendship. You’ll wonder how she did it. Barf has never looked so good.—Michael Miller