Lyn Hejinian | Bio notes & bibliography

Lyn Hejinian is a poet, essayist, and translator; she was born in the San Francisco Bay Area and lives in Berkeley. Published collections of her writing include Writing is An Aid to Memory, My Life, Oxota: A Short Russian Novel, Leningrad (written in collaboration with Michael Davidson, Ron Silliman, and Barrett Watten), The Cell, The Cold of Poetry, and A Border Comedy; the University of California Press published a collection of her essays entitled The Language of Inquiry. Translations of her work have been published in France, Spain, Japan, Italy, Russia, Sweden, and Finland. She is the recipient of a Writing Fellowship from the California Arts Council, a grant from the Poetry Fund, and a Translation Fellowship (for her Russian translations) from the National Endowment for the Arts; she was awarded an Award for Independent Literature by the Soviet literary organization “Poetics Function” in Leningrad in 1989. She has travelled and lectured extensively in Russia as well as Europe, and Description and Xenia, two volumes of her translations from the work of the contemporary Russian poet Arkadii Dragomoshchenko, have been published by Sun and Moon Press. From 1976 - 1984, Hejinian was the editor of Tuumba Press and from 1981 to 1999 she was the co-editor (with Barrett Watten) of Poetics Journal. She is also the co-director (with Travis Ortiz) of Atelos, a literary project commissioning and publishing cross-genre work by poets; Atelos was nominated as one of the best independent literary presses by the Firecracker Awards in 2001. Other collaborative projects include a work entitled The Eye of Enduring undertaken with the painter Diane Andrews Hall and exhibited in 1996, a composition entitled Qúę Trân with music by John Zorn and text by Hejinian, a mixed media book entitled The Traveler and the Hill and the Hill created with the painter Emilie Clark (Granary Press, 1998), and the experimental film Letters Not About Love, directed by Jacki Ochs, for which Hejinian and Arkadii Dragomoshchenko wrote the script. In the fall of 2000, she was elected the sixty-sixth Fellow of the Academy of American Poets. She teaches at the University of California, Berkeley.

See also: Lyn Hejinian Papers at UCSD


  • a gRReat adventure Self-published, 1972.
  • A Thought is the Bride of What Thinking. Berkeley, CA: Tuumba Press, 1976.
  • A Mask of Motion. Providence, RI: Burning Deck, 1977.
  • Gesualdo. Berkeley, CA: Tuumba Press, 1978.
  • Writing is an Aid to Memory. Great Barrington, MA: The Figures, 1978.
  • My Life. Providence, RI: Burning Deck, 1980.
  • The Guard. Berkeley, CA: Tuumba Press, 1984.
  • Redo. Grenada, Miss.: Salt-Works Press, 1984.
  • My Life. (revised and updated) LA: Sun & Moon Press, 1987.
  • Individuals. (written with Kit Robinson) Tuscon, AZ: Chax Press, 1988.
  • Leningrad. (written with Michael Davidson, Ron Silliman, Barrett Watten) San Francisco: Mercury House, 1991.
  • The Hunt. La Lasuna: Zasterle Press, 1991.
  • Oxota: A Short Russian Novel. Great Barrington, MA: The Figures, 1991.
  • The Cell. LA: Sun & Moon Press, 1992.
  • Jour de Chasse. trans. Pierre Alferi. Cahiers de Royaumont, 1992.
  • The Cold of Poetry. LA: Sun & Moon Press, 1994.
  • Two Stein Talks. Santa Fe, NM: Weaselsleeves Press, 1996.
  • Wicker. (written with Jack Collom) Boulder, CO: Rodent Press. 1996.
  • The Little Book of A Thousand Eyes. Boulder, CO: Smoke-Proof Press, 1996.
  • Writing is an Aid to Memory. Rpt. Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1996.
  • Guide, Grammar, Watch, and The Thirty Nights.Western Australia: Folio, 1996.
  • A Book from A Border Comedy. Los Angeles: Seeing Eye Books, 1997.
  • The Traveler and the Hill, and the Hill. (with Emilie Clark) New York: Granary Books, 1998.
  • Sight. (written with Leslie Scalapino) Washington DC: Edge Books, 1999.
  • Happily. Sausalito: Post-Apollo Press, 2000.
  • Chartings. (written with Ray DiPalma) Tucson: Chax, 2000.
  • Sunflower. (written with Jack Collom) Great Barrington MA: The Figures, 2000.
  • The Language of Inquiry. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.
  • The Beginner. New York: Spectacular Books, 2001.
  • A Border Comedy. New York: Granary Books, 2001.
  • My Life. Rpt. of Sun & Moon edition. Los Angeles: Green Integer, 2002.
  • Slowly. Berkeley: Tuumba Press, 2002.
  • The Beginner. Berkeley: Tuumba Press, 2002.


  • Description. poems by Arkadii Dragomoshchenko. LA: Sun & Moon Press, 1990.
  • Arkadii Dragomoshchenko selections in Third Wave: The New Russian Poetry, ed. Kent Johnson and Stephen Ashby. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992.
  • Xenia. poems by Arkadii Dragomoshchenko. LA: Sun & Moon Press. 1994.

Select Essays:

  • "An American Opener." Poetics Journal 1 (1982).
  • "Aesthetic Tendency and the Politics of Poetry: A Manifesto" (Ron Silliman, Carla Harryman, Lyn Hejinian, Steve Benson, Barrett Watten). In Social Text 19/20 (fall 1998).
  • "Line." In The Line in Postmodern Poetry, ed. Robert Frank and Henry Sayre. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998.

Select Sound Recordings:

  • Chronic Ideas. 80 Langdon St. talk series. San Diego: University of California at San Diego Special Collections, 1997.
  • UCSD New Poetry Series. Poetry reading, 30 April 1980. UCSC Special Collections.
  • New Writing Series. Poetry reading, 30 October 1985. UCSD Special Collections.
  • Guess Language by Lyn Hejinian and Charles Bernstein, Madison: Audio Muzixa Qet, 1986.

Select Interviews:

  • Georgeson, Alison. "An Interview with Lyn Hejinian." Southern Review 27, 3 (1994).
  • Miller, Tyrus. "An Interview with Lyn Hejinian." Paper Air 4, 2 (1989).
  • Schelling, Andrew. "Interview with Lyn Hejinian." Jimmy and Lucy's House of K 6 (May 1986).
  • McCaffery, Larry and McHale, Brian. "A Local Strangeness: An Interview with Lyn Hejinian." Some Other Frequency: Interviews with Innovative American Authors. Philadelphia: U. Penn Press, 1996: 120-143.
    • see also: LINEbreak audio program (Electronic Poetry Center).

Select Reviews and Essays on Hejinian's Work:

  • Abbott, Steve. "Review of Writing Is an Aid to Memory." American Book Review 4, 2 (January / February 1982).
  • Armantrout, Rae. "Lyn Hejinian." In Postmodern Fiction: A Bio-Bibliographical Guide, ed. Larry McCaffery, 400-403. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1986.
  • Beach, Christopher.: "Poetic positionings: Stephen Dobyns and Lyn Hejinian in cultural context." Contemporary Literature (Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison) (38:1) 1997, 44-77.
  • Bernstein, Charles. "Hejinian's Notes." In Content's Dream. Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1986.
  • Brito, Manuel.: "Fragment, sentence and memory of the self in a poetic neo-narrative."
    Revista canaria de estudios ingleses (Univ. of La Laguna, Tenerife) (39) 1999, 191-207.
  • Clark, Hilary: "The mnemonics of autobiography: Lyn Hejinian's My Life." Biography: an interdisciplinary quarterly (Biographical Research Center, Univ. of Hawai'i, Honolulu) (14:4) 1991, 315-35.
  • Davidson, Michael."Approaching the Fin de Siecle," in his The San Francisco Renaissance (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 200-218.
  • Durgin, Patrick F. "Fantastic Philosophy - an "elective" in the poetics of Lyn Hejinian." February 23rd, 2001, Twentieth Century Literature Conference, University of Louisville, Kentucky.
  • Dworkin, Craig Douglas.: "Penelope reworking the twill: patchwork, writing, and Lyn Hejinian's My Life." Contemporary Literature (Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison) (36:1) 1995, 58-81.
  • Greer, Michael. "Ideology and Theory in Recent Experimental Writing, or The Naming of 'Language Poetry.'" Boundary 2, 16 (1989): 2-3.
  • Grenier, Robert. Review of Writing Is an Aid to Memory. Language 8 (June 1979).
  • Higgins, Dick. Review of A Mask of Motion. Stony Hills 1, 2 (1977).
  • Jarraway, David. "My Life through the Eighties: The Exemplary L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E of Lyn Hejinian." Contemporary Literature 33, 2 (Summer 1992): 319-336.
  • Lazar, Hank. Review of My Life. University of California at San Diego Archive Newsletter (Winter 1988): 31-36.
  • Mayer, Bernadette. "Mayer on Hejinian." L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, 13 December 1980.
  • McHale, Brian. "Weak Narrativity: The Case of Avant-Garde Narrative Poetry." Narrative, May 2001 v9 i2 p161-.
  • Mulford, Wendy. "'Curved, Odd ... Irregular.' A Vision of Contemporary Poetry by Women." Women: A Cultural Review 1, 3 (1990).
  • Naylor, Paul Kenneth."In Process/On Trial: Lyn Hejinian and Julia Kristeva." In The Moment of the "I": Self-Portraits in Poetry and Philosophy, 263-310. Ph.D. thesis. University of California at San Diego, 1990.
  • -----"Poetic investigations: singing the holes in history." Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1999. pp. 222-. (Avant-garde & Modernism studies.) (1999)
  • O'Brien, Geoffrey. Review of The Guard. Village Voice Literary Supplement (December 1984): 6.
  • Parsons, Marnie. "What Then Is a Window." In Touch Monkeys: Nonsense Strategies for Ready Twentieth-Century Poetry, 206-14. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994.
  • Perelman, Bob. Parataxis and Narrative: The New Sentence in Theory and Practice. U of Alabama P. Tuscaloosa, AL; 24-48. 1998.
  • Perloff, Marjorie. "The Word as Such: L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Poetry in the Eighties." American Book Review (May/June 1984).
  • ----- "The Return of the (Numerical) Repressed," in her Radical Artifice: Writing Poetry in the Age of Media (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), pp. 162-170.
  • Privett, Ray. "Cold War Recovery: Letters Not about Love." Senses of Cinema: an Online Film Journal Devoted to the Serious & Eclectic Discussion of Cinema. 8:(no pagination). 2000 July-Aug. 3072, Australia.
  • Quartermain, Peter. "Syllable as Music: Lyn Hejinian's Writing Is an Aid to Memory." Sagetrieb 11 (1992): 17-31.
  • Ratcliffe, Stephen. "Private Eye/Public Work." American Poetry Review 4 (1987): 40-48.
  • -----. "Two Hejinian Talks." Temblor 6 (1987).
  • Shima, Alan. "Similar to what it is not: Lyn Hejinian's 'My Life'." Critical Survey May 1997 v9 i2 p94-.
  • Shoptaw, John.: "Hejinian meditations: lives of The Cell." Journal x: a biannual journal of culture and criticism (Univ. of Mississippi, University). Formerly University of Mississippi Studies in English (1:1) 1996, 57-83.
  • Simpson, Megan. "Poetic Jouissance: The Subject-in-Process in American Women's 'Language-Oriented' Poetry." Dipartimento di Scienze Filologiche e Storiche, Universita degli Studi di Trento. Trento, Italy; 185-208. 1997.
  • Spahr, Juliana. "Lyn Hejinian," in Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 165: American Poets Since World War II, Fourth Series. A Bruccoli Clark Layman Book. Edited by Joseph Conte, State University of New York at Buffalo. The Gale Group, 1996, pp. 102-107.
  • ----- "Resignifying autobiography: Lyn Hejinian's My Life." American Literature: a journal of literary history, criticism, and bibliography (Durham, NC) (68:1) 1996, 139-59.
  • ----- "Make It Go with a Single Word. We." - Bruce Andrew's "Confidence Trick" and Lyn Hejinian's My Life." In her Everybody's Autonomy: Connective Reading and Collective Identity U of Alabama P. Tuscaloosa, AL. 2001 pp. 51-87.
  • Wakowski, Diane. Review of My Life. Sulfur 8 (1983).
  • Waldrop, Rosmarie."Chinese Windmills Turn Horizontally: On Lyn Hejinian," Temblor, 10 (1989): 219-222.
  • Watten, Barrett. "The World of Work: Toward a Psychology of Form." In Total Syntax, 146-49. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1985.

*Edited / Compiled by Patrick F. Durgin, June 2002.


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