Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily Darrow
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.-John Yau, Bard 1972, a writer, poet and art critic, will read from his recent works on Friday, May 7, as part of the John Ashbery Poetry Series at Bard College. The reading, presented by The Bard Center, will be held in the Olin Humanities Building, Room 102, at 3:30 p.m. The reading is free and open to the public.

Yau is a writer, poet, and art critic. He studied with Robert Kelly while at Bard and earned an M.F.A. from Brooklyn College, where he studied with John Ashbery. His recent work includes fiction: Hawaiian Cowboys (Black Sparrow Press, 1995) and My Symptoms, a collection of short stories (Black Sparrow Press, 1998). Writing in in Review of Contemporary Fiction, Dennis Barone noted that the stories feature "male and female narrators surprising us with unusual, shifting colloquialisms, with playfully enlivened clich├ęs and pleasing turns of phrase, such as this one for shouting, staring, mocking kids on a school bus: 'a bus full of parrots beating the windows with their beaks and laughing.'" Yau's books of poetry include Edificio Sayonara (Black Sparrow Press, 1993) and Forbidden Entries (Black Sparrow, 1996). Yau is also the editor of Fetish (Four Walls, Eight Windows, 1998), a collection of short stories by writers such as Charles Bukowski, Gordon Lish, Jonathan Lethem, Rikki Ducornet, and Guy Davenport.

Yau's criticism includes In the Realm of Appearances: The Art of Andy Warhol (Ecco Press, 1993) and The United States of Jasper Johns: An Essay (Zoland Press, 1996) after the Museum of Modern Art retrospective of Johns's work. "In Yau's view a single preoccupation unifies Johns' art: the impossibility of one's mind and body being united in life and the impossibility of their being disunited (by any kind of soul salvation) in death. He anchors his argument by referring often to the physical makeup of Johns's work," Kenneth Baker wrote in the San Francisco Times. Baker continued, "Too much art criticism runs from idea to idea without checking itself against the look and feel of the objects under discussion. Yau works admirably close to the physical, perceptible facts of Johns's art."

Yau teaches at the Maryland Institute, College of Art, where he also directs the Poetry Series, and has taught at the St. Mark's Poetry Project in New York City. Interviewed by Ava Chin in The Village Voice about teaching poetry he said, "It's an old-fashioned notion to think that writing is an innate talent." He uses improvisational writing techniques, he said, to "push language to its limits . . . to help beginning writers avoid cliches and support a developing voice."

For further information about the reading, call 914-758-7425.

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This event was last updated on 03-02-2001