Poetry. Drama. Performance Studies. Carla Harryman's SUE IN BERLIN is a collection of six genre blending pieces of poetry and performance that are informed in varying degree by musical, verbal, and physical improvisation. Composed between 2001 and 2015, each of the works are written for both the page and for live performance and are, what Harryman calls "recalcitrant texts," meant to perform their own object status "as both linked to and separate from the live performance of its language." Deeply collaborative, the pieces in SUE IN BERLIN are born from Harryman's improvisational work with both performers and musicians, while they touch on topics that span from childhood and gender, to race and the social construction of space, to Detroit Techno and noise music. Works in the collection have been performed nationally and internationally: in San Francisco, Detroit, New York, Chicago, Austria, Germany, France, and the Czech Republic. Never settling between poetry and theater, Sue In Berlin resists genre to create a material sense of constant motion and morphing identities, heightening our attentions and sensitivities as readers to that of listeners: to the chorus that emerges — ruptures, rather — as text, as process, as narrative insistently folding back into itself.
"The realism of Harryman's work lies not in a normative reenactment of past events but rather in its existence as a thought experiment through which the past and its connection to the present moment are reconfigured. It is characterized by the ability to hold contradictions in interplay and by a willingness to see the overlay of conflicting realities."—Heidi Bean, Associate Professor in performance studies, Bridgewater State University
"It is an absolute delight to read SUE IN BERLIN, the text hovers magically between the poetic line and narrative continuation, opening all sorts of doors in the process. If there is an in-between in new writing by women—this is it!"—Gail Scott
"What SUE IN BERLIN puts to the fore: The paramount importance of theater or some aspects of theater within poetry—Within any poem. Harryman's poetry is theater, at once."—Chrisophe Lamiot Enos, Editor, "To Series," PURH
Carla Harryman is an American poet, prose writer, playwright and performance writer. She is a professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at Eastern Michigan University and serves on the MFA faculty of Bard College. In 1979, she co-founded the San Francisco Bay Area Poets Theater. Recent performance work includes the CD Open Box, published on the Tzadik label and international performances in Austria, France, Germany, and Montreal. In addition to twenty volumes of single- authored work, Harryman has two edited volumes: Non/Narrative, a special issue of Journal of Narrative Theory and Lust for Life: The Writings of Kathy Acker, co-edited with Avital Ronell and Amy Scholder. Harryman has received grants and awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Fund for Poetry, Opera America Next Stage Grant (with composer Erling Wold), Alexander Gerbode Foundation, and the NEA Consortium Playwrights Commission, among others. Her works have appeared in translation in Czech, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, and Serbian. Her most recent works are A VOICE TO PERFORM: ONE OPERA / TWO PLAYS (SplitLevel Texts, 2020), SUE IN BERLIN (PURH, 2018) and L'impromptu de Hannah (joca seria, 2018).Author City: DETROIT, MI USA