from the Open Poetics series published by Litmus Press

by Joan Retallack

This online edition of Memnoir, along with two earlier iterations and a translation, includes contextual resources curated by the author with the help of erica kaufman, Omar Berrada, and the Litmus editorial team. This digital edition also features a downloadable PDF of the primary text for those who would simply like to read it as originally printed, make a hard copy, or have access to the book offline.


Memnoir is a poetic labyrinth created out of curiosity and dread. Scene of the precarious equilibrium formed when a myth-filled present tense encounters long hidden truths. Truths that endure in memories inflected by film noir, family noir, playground noir, classical noir, racial noir. . . . composed with Retallack's redemptive asymmetries of gravitas and humor. A reader enters Memnoir, beginning with the vaudevillian repartee of Mem and Noir, continuing on with Curiosity as guide to encounters with Eurydice, Cervantes, Ovid, "God & AIDS . . . & Elephants & Castles & pop goes the weasel on the way home from school." (Snippets of science, philosophy and music intersect along the way.) Pages later, you will exit this puzzle with an odd set of instructions that (be warned) may or may not change your life.


Scroll down page to explore other Memnoir editions and reader resources.

This material is intended for educational use only and may not be reprinted or republished for commercial distribution.


The Post-Apollo Press Edition, 2004


The Post-Apollo Press Edition, 2004

  • Cover of Memnoir by Joan Retallack

    Memnoir by Joan Retallackan Open Poetics edition by Litmus Press

    by Joan Retallack

    Memnoir is a high-speed chase through intersections of chance and consciousness in the “experience of experiencing” our lives. Movies and memory swap visceral/visual thrills with mathematics and philosophy as Retallack plays with our reliance on symbols and cultural frames of reference to get “to the point” of a given moment.

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