Alice Butler

Close Writing: The Personal Performances of Kathy Acker, Dodie Bellamy, Cookie Mueller, Eileen Myles and Chris Kraus.

Alice Butler with New York City skyline

Close Writing stages a correspondence between disciplines and decades of feminist art and literary history, as it considers the 1980s-2000s fiction and nonfiction texts of its authors as literary extensions of feminist performance art.

The project argues that the ways in which the personal texts of Acker, Bellamy, Mueller, Myles and Kraus perform sex, the body and biography, often using ‘adolescent’ writing forms, constitutes a radical mode of feminist authorship, inasmuch as their autobiographical performances confront the boundaries of public and private, relating to “rules” surrounding gender, sexuality and writing.

Such a disregard for censorship is central to my theorisation of this “close writing”. It represents an intervention into the ways we might begin to read contemporary women’s experimental writing as more then just a formal aesthetic, by placing it within the frame of feminist performance. 

Alice is currently on a fellowship at New York University researching the archives of the Downtown Collection held at Fales Library & Special Collections.