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Lyn Hejinian Biography

(1941– ), Poetics Journal, Writing Is an Aid to Memory, My Life

life sentences series watten

American poet, born in San Francisco. She taught herself letterpress printing and edited the Tuumba series of chapbooks in which many of the Language poets appeared. Since then she has been an editor of Poetics Journal with Barrett Watten. She is best known for her longer book-length works, Writing Is an Aid to Memory (1978), My Life (1980/1987), Oxota: A Short Russian Novel (1991), and The Cell (1992). Like Ron Silliman and Barrett Watten she works with generative frameworks (each section of the second edition of My Life has forty-nine sentences and the same number of sections, her age at the time of writing) and favours structures built from complete but varyingly disjunctive sentences: ‘one must be careful not to read any sequence of sentences as a series of substitutes or cancellations.’ The Cell is a self-exploratory phenomenology of consciousness that avoids confessionalism. My Life combines rigorous introspective attention to memory with a steady observation of a woman's experience of everyday life.

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