Kathy Acker

Kathy Acker (nee Karen Alexander) (18 April 1947 – 30 November 1997) was an American experimental novelist, prose stylist, playwright, essayist, postmodernist and sex-positive feminist writer. One of the leading experimental writers of her generation, she was strongly influenced by the Black Mountain School, William S. Burroughs, David Antin, French critical theory, philosophy, and pornography.Born and raised in New York City, Acker came to be closely associated with the punk movement of the 1970s and ‘80s that affected much of the culture in and around Manhattan. As an adult, however, she moved around quite a bit. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, San Diego in 1968; there she worked with David Antin and Jerome Rothenberg. Acker published her first book, Politics, in 1972. Although the collection of poems and essays did not garner much critical or public attention, it did establish her reputation within the New York punk scene. In 1973 she published her first novel The Childlike Life of the Black Tarantula: Some Lives of Murderesses under the pseudonym Black Tarantula. In 1974 she published her second novel, I Dreamt I Was a Nymphomaniac: Imagining.In 1979 Acker finally received popular attention when she won the Pushcart Prize for her short story “New York City in 1979.” She did not receive critical attention, however, until she published Great Expectations in 1982.