Merging autobiography, criticism, feminist theory and poetry in an economy of desire, Mêmewars puts a poetics of rupture, displacement, obsession and exile into praxis. This text writes against a sexist, imperialist discourse of mastery and idealization. It challenges the mythologies of cohesion, autonomy and stable identity—the capitalist vision of literary originality, where ownership is of prime value.
As a book that calls into question beginnings and ends, Mêmewars has no closure and no “back” cover; six individual texts work from two separate beginnings: they clash in the “middle”—an unstable and shifting “centre.” However through a self-reflexive practice of authorization, intention is delegitimized as the centre-piece decentres, and becomes yet another beginning.
Adeena Karasick is a media artist, performer, cultural theorist, and the critically acclaimed author of seven books of poetry and poetic theory. She teaches Literature and Critical Theory for the Humanities and Media Studies Department at Pratt Institute in New York. Karasick is also co-founding Artistic Director of the KlezKanada Poetry Festival and Retreat. In 2017 the Adeena Karasick Archive was established at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia.
Her writing is marked with an urban, Jewish, and feminist aesthetic that continually challenges normative modes of meaning production and blurs the lines between popular culture and scholarly discourse. It has been described as “electricity in language” (Nicole Brossard), “proto-ecstatic jet-propulsive word torsion” (George Quasha), and noted for its “cross-fertilization of punning and knowing, theatre and theory” (Charles Bernstein), its “twined virtuosity of mind and ear which leaves the reader deliciously lost in Karasick’s signature ‘syllabic labyrinth’” (Craig Dworkin).
Karasick’s most recent publications are Salomé: Woman of Valor (University of Padova Press, 2017), a Jewish-feminist revisiting of the Biblical story of Salomé, and The Medium is the Muse: Channeling Marshall McLuhan (NeoPoiesis Press, 2014).
Karasick has lectured and performed worldwide, participated in international conferences, telepoetic colloquia, and literary festivals. She regularly publishes articles, reviews, and dialogues on contemporary poetry, poetics and cultural/semiotic theory. She also produces videopoems and sound recordings of her work, which highlight its radical performativity (find them on YouTube), and she was also featured on the TV series Heart of a Poet, produced in conjunction with Bravo! TV.
More information on Karasick and and her work can be found on adeenakarasick.com
“[Karasick] enacts language in a concrete way, so that it becomes a sort of golem figure she has animated through the sacred words. And she calls on the figural body of words (their etymology, morphology, phonology and usage) more than their meanings to build her poetry-essays.”