Photo © Isabelle Levy-Lehmann (July 17, 1997). May not be reproduced without permission of photographer.
Golden Gate Express (SF State student newpaper) obit
Stacy Doris, American Poet: 1962-2012
Internationally acclaimed poet, translator, and teacher Stacy Doris died in San Francisco, California, on January 31, 2012. She was 49 years old. Doris was an Associate Professor in the Creative Writing Program of San Francisco State University, where she taught since 2002. Doris is the author of six books of poetry in English, and three books in French: one book of poetry and two fictionalized memoirs. She had battled cancer (leiomyosarcoma) for the past three years.
Doris was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on May 21, 1962. She was a graduate of Brown University, from which she received her AB in Literature and Society, writing a senior thesis on Yeats's prosody. She went on to the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, from which she received her MFA in 1989. From 1990-1992, she was a doctoral student in Art History at the City University of New York Graduate Center (New York). Doris had deep connections to the writing communities in New York, Paris, and San Francisco.
Doris is survived by her husband, Chet Wiener, whom she married in 1992, as well as two children, Rayzl, 6, and Laish Gedalya, 5; her parents: Myrna and Sidney Doris of Fairfield, Connecticut; and her brother Bruce Doris (and his wife Erika and son Dexter), in Albany, New York.
Doris is the author of Kildare (Roof, 1995), Conference (Potes & Poets, 2001), Paramour (Krupskaya, 2000), Knot (University of Georgia Press, 2006), Cheerleader's Guide to the World: Council Book (Roof Books, 2006) and The Cake Part (Publication Studio, 2011). Fledge: A Phenomenology of Spirit is forthcoming from Nightboat.
Doris is also the author, in French, of Une Annee a New York avec Chester (2000), La Vie de Chester Steven Wiener ecrite par sa femme, (1998), and she rewrote a version of Conference as Parlement (2005) all published by the distinguished Paris press P.O.L. She is co-editor of two anthologies of French poetry in translation: Twenty-two New (to North America) French Poets, with Norma Cole (Raddle Moon, 1997) and Violence of the White Page, Contemporary French Poetry in Translation, with Emmanuel Hocquard (Tyuonyi, 1992). Her translations, from French, include: Everything Happens by Dominique Fourcade (Post Apollo, 2001), Tracing by Ryoko Sekiguchi (Duration, 2003), and Christophe Tarkos: Ma Langue est Poetique--Selected Work, with Chet Wiener (Roof, 2001).
Doris’s Paramour was translated into French by the poets Caroline Dubois and Anne Portugal (P.O.L, 2009): in November 2010 it was performed as an event in collaboration with the FranceCulture choir at the Pompidou Center, Paris. And writing published as Comment Aimer (Créaphis 1999) translated out-takes from Paramour were developed for the theater by the director Eric Vautrin as Les Amours and then Comment Aimer and performed in several cities (2003-2005). She created a radiophonic version of Parlement with Jean Couterier for France Culture radio’s Atelier de création radiophonique in 2005, and other audio pieces in collaboration with Lisa Robertson, the Encyclopédie de la parole, and Jay Salter.
Doris's works has been included in several key poetry anthologies: Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology (NY: W. W. Norton, 2d edn forthcoming); Gurlesque (Philadelphia: Saturnalia Books, 2010); American Hybrid: The New Poem, A Norton Anthology, 2009; War and Peace 3: The Future (Oakland, CA: O Books, 2007); American Poets in the 21st Century: The New Poetics (Middletown, CT, Wesleyan University Press, 2004); Bay Poetics (Oakland, CA: Faux Press, 2004); Potes & Poets Anthology (Bedford, MA: Potes & Poets, 2004); The Gertrude Stein Awards in Innovative American Poetry: 1994-1995 (LA: Sun & Moon, 1996); and Writings From the New Coast (Stockbridge, MA: Oblek, 1993).
The poet Ann Lauterbach recently wrote, in a remembrance of Stacy, “She had a knack for appreciation and effortless kindness; she was beautiful, with an uncanny voice, subtly muted and musical; her intensity created an aura of exotic mystery. Her poems were all phenomenology and oblique shift. She seemed to want to write the wind.”
Memorial services and gatherings are being held in San Francisco, at the San Francisco State Poetry Center on April 19 and 20, in Paris, organized by Double Change on February 19 (6pm gallery EOF), and in New York on Feb. 18 at 7pm
Some responses to Doris’s work:
“Poetry and the world of imagination meant everything, were everything for Stacy. Her scintillating intelligence was at work every moment. Her innovative writing was different from anyone else’s, and different from herself. In other words, every book was a different experiment in poetry. And yet these experiments are all chapters from the book of Stacy Doris.” – Norma Cole.
“Stacy Doris writes that her extraordinary book is very conservative. Who's she kidding? And why? Is it because her themes are love and poetic form and its heroes her husband and the palindrome? Doris's treatment of her themes and forms is radically different from poem to poem and most contemporary practice. Maybe her cornucopia's conservative because her themes, references and characters were inspired by Euro-American literature and other culture, ancient and modern, ‘high’ and ‘low’--Ovid and St. John of the Cross; D.H. Lawrence and Harper's Bazaar; Mozart, Joyce, and Michael Jackson. Such conservatism yields the most radical works. As if that mattered.” -- Jackson Mac Low on Paramour
“A tantalizingly wacky, ideolectical treat for ears & what minds 'em. Doris work continually pushes the envelope; remaining unexpected and not immediately assimilable. Kildare was a tantalizingly wacky, ideolectical treat for ears & what minds 'em, in the textual body of all those enduring charms upon which Doris lays new & resounding claim. The use of football diagrams in Cheerleader’s is a great pictorial translation of the conceptual movement in the poems. Knot presents Miltonic stanzas that make syntax active word for word, culminating in a majesterial, yet determinately allusive, final section. For those looking for the direction of poetry, Doris’s poetry is ready & on call, bubbling and singing with voices fresh and tonic” --Charles Bernstein
“A box of prosodic bonbons with exploding centers, offering the burst of intensity only artificial flavors can provide. Shimmering with assonances and anagrams, Stacy Doris's latest technical marvel comes stacked with Warnings to Daughters, battle scenes, a Pull-Out Bonus for girls and truly excellent gore--yielding remarkable new insights into our culture's fascination with the perpetual interplays between aggression and love. Paramour works like the best of highly engineered lipsticks: compact, sexy, and always a little scary, it encourages kissing but won't kiss off. I'm completely besotted!” --Sianne Ngai
“… ravenous audacity instructing and warning doubly how to halve a narcissus. Her extra-convivial form hinges to receive what is tender: Ms. Doris' is the authentically cosmetic craft.” --Lisa Robertson
"Stacy Doris maintains that language can always be reinvented and has no qualms about offering up a different sort of linguistic architecture. In her work, forms collide (prose, verse, dialogue, song) for a great poetic and amusing Big Bang giving birth to what Olivier Cadiot readily calls 'unidentified verbal objects.' Strange bodies that only ask us to get acquainted and to knock around with them. Books that provide a pleasure which increases as we come to master this new syntax. A great technician of language, Stacy Doris plunges us into a universe of assonances and anagrams, where a wildly fluctuating order reveals its inventiveness. Textual matter one tends to read out loud in order to grasp all its nuances, material one therefore easily imagines working for the theater." –Laurence Perez
page edited by Charles Bernstein Feb. 9, 2011