Hannibal Lecter, My Father
You can say I write stories with sex and violence and therefore my writing isn’t worth considering because it uses content much less lots of content. Well, I tell you this: ‘Prickly race, who know nothing except how to eat out your hearts with envy, you don’t eat cunt’…
Edited by Sylvere Lotringer and published in 1991, this handy, pocket-sized collection of some early and not-so-early work by the mistress of gut-level fiction-making, Hannibal Lecter, My Father gathers together Acker’s raw, brilliant, emotional and cerebral texts from 1970s, including the self-published ‘zines written under the nom-de-plume, The Black Tarantula. This volume features, among others, the full text of Acker’s opera, The Birth of the Poet, produced at Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1985,Algeria, 1979 and fragments of Politics, written at the age of 21. Also included is the longest and definitive interview Acker ever gave over two years: a chatty, intriguing and delightfully self-deprecating conversation with Semiotext(e) editor Sylvere Lotringer—which is trippy enough in itself as Lotringer, besides being a real person, has appeared as a character in Acker’s fiction. And last, but not least, is the full transcript of the decision reached by West Germany’s Federal Inspection Office for Publications Harmful to Minors in which Acker’s work was judged to be “not only youth-threatening but also dangerous to adults,” and subsequently banned.
Acker is the sort of the writer that should be read first at 16, so that you can spend the rest of your life trying to figure her out; she confuses, infuriates, perplexes and then all of a sudden the writing seems to be in your bloodstream, like some kind of benign virus. She’s definitely not for the easily offended—but then, there are worse things in life than being offended. Such as the things that Acker writes about…
“Reading Kathy Acker is like playing hopscotch with a genius.”
“Often compared to William S. Burroughs and Jean Genet, Acker was, according to R.U. Sirius, ‘An avatar of nomadic urban modern primitive tribes… her novels perform postmodern campfire grill voodoo… She was a magician.”
—New York City, 1979