Carla Harryman

A photo of Carla Harryman


English Language and Literature

613C Pray-Harrold


[email protected]


  • MA Creative Arts Interdisciplinary, San Francisco State University
  • BA Literature, College of Creative Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

Interests and Expertise

Carla Harryman interests include experimental poetry and prose, poetics, and text-based performance.  She is the author of many books including the collection of poetry and performance writings published in French and English editions Sue in Berlin and Sue á Berlin (2017); the epistolary essay, Artifact of Hope (2017); the diptych W—/M— (2013), the Essay Press collection Adorno’s Noise (2008), Gardener of Stars: A Novel (2001), and two volumes of selected writing: Animal Instincts: Prose, Plays, Essays (1989) and There Never Was a Rose without a Thorn (1995). An active collaborator, she is one of ten co-authors of The Grand Piano, an Experiment in Collective AutobiographySan Francisco, 1975-1980 (2006-2010). Open Box, a CD of music and spoken text performance created with composer and musician Jon Raskin was released on the Tzadik label in 2012. Her Poets Theater plays and music/text collaborations have been performed nationally and internationally including at Betonsalon, Paris; University Art Museum, UC Berkeley; Links Hall, Chicago; Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany; The Stone, New York; Outsound Music Festival, San Francisco;  Music Unlimited, Wels, Austria; Memoria, Montreal, CA; and Prague Micro-Festival. 

Her critical writing focuses on contemporary innovative writing by women and the politics and poetics of Poets Theater and performance writing. Articles include “This is a letter about noise, distinction, names, language, and with notes on The Obituary by Gail Scott” (From Our Hearts to Yours: New Narrative as Contemporary Practice, On Contemporary Practice, 2017); "Something Nation: Radical Spaces of Performance in Linton Kwesi Johnson and cris cheek," (Diasporic Avant-gardes, Palgrave Macmillian, 2009) and "Residues or Revolutions of the Language of Acker and Artaud" (Devouring Institutions, San Diego State University, 2004). She is co-editor of Lust for Life (2006), a volume of essays on the novelist Kathy Acker, and special issue editor of Non/Narrative (2011) for the Journal of Narrative Theory. 

In 2018, a two-day international discussion of her creative, critical, and performance works took place at the Université Paris 7: Poets and Critics Symposium, 2018. Her writing has been translated in French, Spanish, German, Czech, Russian, and several other languages; and her work has appeared in thirty national and international anthologies. She has received grants and awards from The Foundation of Contemporary Art, New York; Opera America Next Stage (with Erling Wold); Alexander Gerbode Foundation; Fund for Poetry; American Embassy in Romania; and New Langton Arts/NEA Consortium Grant Playwright Commission. She has been visiting writer at The University of California, San Diego, Ohio University, Naropa University Summer Writing Program; consulting faculty at University of Washington, Bothell; and has served on the faculties of Wayne State University and The Milton Avery School of the Arts at Bard College. She moved from the Bay Area to Detroit in 1995.


  • Creative Writing 523 and 422 Long Poem, Serial Works, Conjoined Texts
  • Creative Writing 522 Poetics
  • Creative Writing 522 Performance Writing
  • Creative Writing 506 Contemporary Forms
  • Creative Writing 490 Capstone Project
  • Creative Writing 426 Contemporary Forms
  • Creative Writing 422 Poetics
  • Creative Writing 422 Experiments and Projects in Prose and Poetry
  • Creative Writing 422 The Long Poem and Serial Works
  • Creative Writing 335 Experiments in Autobiography
  • Creative Writing 335 Prose: Surreal to Conceptual
  • Creative Writing 300 Gateway to Creative Writing

Publications and Presentations


  • Memory Play and Gardener of Stars, an Opera (forthcoming, SplitLevel Text, 2019): new (2nd) edition of Memory Play and original opera score, with an introductory essay by the author.
  • Impromptu de Hannah/Hannah Cut In (Joca Seria, 2018): French and English edition.
  • Sue in Berlin (Presses universitaires de Rouen et du Havre,  January, 2017): selected performance writing English edition.
  • Sue á Berlin, trans. Sabine Huynh, (Presses universitaires de Rouen et du Havre, 2018):  selected performance writings in French edition.
  • Artifact of Hope (Chicago; Kenning Editions/Ordinance critical series, 2017)
Chapters and Articles
  • “Durational Temporalities, Provisional Worlds, Resistance Poetries,” (accepted in Matters Practice, ed. Karla Kelsey and Poupeh Missaghi)
  • “Urgencies, Temporalities, Memory, and Privacy,” in Brooklyn Rail (April 2018)
  • “This is a letter about noise, distinction, names, language, and with notes on The Obituary by Gail Scott” in From Our Hearts to Yours: New Narrative as Contemporary Practice, ed. Robin Tremblay-McGaw and Rob Halpern (On Contemporary Practice, 2017)
  • Imagined Theatres, Writings for the Theoretical Stage, ed. Daniel Sack (Routledge, 2017)
  • Canary Island Connection, ed. Manuel Brito (Zasterle, 2017)
  • Writers Who Love Too Much, ed. Dodie Bellamy and Kevin Killian (Nightboat, 2017)
  • The Poem is You, ed. with commentary by Stephen Burt (Harvard University Press, 2016)
Works Performed
  • Gardener of Stars, an Opera, with music by Jon Raskin, Light Box Detroit (August 21, 22, 23, 2018)
  • Hannah Cut In, Light Box Detroit (August 21 and 23, 2018)
  • Mirror Play, Beton Salon, Paris (February 15, 2018)
  • L’Impromptu de Hannah/Hannah Cut In, Beton Salon, Paris (February 15, 2018)
  • Hannah Cut In, University Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA (October 2017)
  • “Sticks in Spiller Alley” with Cara Graninger (Light Box, Detroit: benefit performance for Freedom House, Detroit) July 2017
  • Mirror Play, bilingual French-English performance with Juliette de Laroque (Université de Rouen, France) March 2017
  • Gardener of Stars, an Opera by Carla Harryman, with composition by Jon Raskin: full production, Links Hall, Chicago, December 2016
  • Gardener of Stars, an Opera by Carla Harryman, with composition by Jon Raskin: excerpt, Center for New Music, San Francisco, March 2016


  • Master's in Creative Writing Project: Novels, Poetry Collections, Intermedia
  • Graduate and Undergraduate Creative Writing

Selected Professional Service

  • Summer Faculty, MFA Program: Milton Avery School of the Arts, Bard College, NY
  • Ph.D. External dissertation examiner: Dept. of Musicology: UC Santa Cruz (current)
  • Ph.D. External dissertation examiner: Department of Art: Deakin University, Australia (2016)