MFA Writing Program Visiting Artist Series: Anna Joy Springer
CalArts, Butler Building 4
CRITICAL STUDIES: Anna Joy Springer was lead singer and songwriter for the influential punk band Blatz that came out of The 924 Gilman Street Project and Lookout! Records, alongside bands like The Yeastie Girlz and Green Day. She later sang with The Gr’ups and Cypher in the Snow, and toured with Sister Spit, a raucous all-woman group of writers headed by Michelle Tea.
Springer’s fabulist memoir, The Vicious Red Relic, Love, re-enacts her relationship with [Gil], a sometimes endearing, sometimes frightening addict and cult survivor who did not disclose to Springer that she’d tested positive for HIV. Brilliantly conceived as a training manual, survival guide and time machine, the book returns to 1990s San Francisco and deftly weaves feminism, deviance, punk rock and Sumerian literature into a cauldron of post-Reagan/Bush-era neoliberalism and AIDs grief.
Anna Joy Springer received her M.F.A in Literary Arts from Brown University in 2001, and has just completed a lively summer book tour with author (and CalArts MFA Writing Program alum) Janice Lee. She teaches at UC San Diego, where she engages her students in graphic texts, punk rock, feminist ethics, non-traditional literary structures, and radical literary arts pedagogies. She lives in Los Angeles.
In an interview about The Vicious Red Relic Love:, Springer said, "I want people to notice that the novel itself is designed as a metaforest, not an orchard and definitely not a city. It is not an efficient or efficiency machine. It tries in performance to prove what it postulates – that ease of reading reproduces belief in certainty. There is no certainty through narrative ease in this book, and that is the hopeful part. Hopeful, but not nice."