Memory Play

By Carla Harryman

O Books
Additional Credits
Design by John Woodall
Edition, Year
First, 1994
Out of Print

A play by Carla Harryman. From a review by Jena Osman in Traffic: “Once a memory enters into language, it becoms theatricalized, a construction for the purposes of presentation, that both the listener and the speaker believe to be real. Memory Play provides a lively platform from which to examine the moral and political implications of such poetic processes.”

Carla Harryman
Known for her boundary breaking investigations of genre, non/narrative poetics, and text-based performance, Carla Harryman is the author of twenty-four books and chapbooks including the collection of poetry and performance writings published in French and English editions ... Read More

Literary madness! Memory Play is a seductive, inviting, experimental and thought-provoking work. With a polyphony of voices and little winds of conversation, Carla Harryman humorously attacks our all too familiar ways of talking about identity, memory and history.

The Poetry Project Newsletter


Praise for Memory Play

Going to a reading by Carla Harryman is to confront a room full of enraptured writers. The more one understands the craft’s intimacies, the deeper the appreciation of her discoveries. Unlike her prose, Carla’s plays seem to have a constant shift of purpose—at one turn the audience is invited into a whirlwind exploration of hierarchies through the mouths of Bosch-like talking animals. Around the next bend we are abandoned like old employees sitting around in the swamp. Just when all seems lost it is the author, herself who comes to our rescue, riding a silver steed of breathtaking explanation.

— Sarah Schulman

Suppose you had a dream life and woke up not a person interested in telling as a story what you could recall of it as it could be translated and tricked into the words and images of a narrative that made sense by referring to the things of this world as your interlocutor knows them as well as you do but woke rather or also as a polyvocal congruence much as the clouds and birds in flight make sense to that visionary in you that doesn’t mean anything until you find yourself looking back at its patterns and wondering through it. They are you in this world. Perhaps that is how you will read Memory Play.

— Steve Benson

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