Meddle English: New and Selected Texts
Essays,  Intergenre,  Poetry,  Translation,  | $14.95
paperback, 176 pages, 5 1/4 x 7 1/4 in
Publication Date: 2011
ISBN: 978-0-9822645-8-4

This book gathers a decade of Caroline Bergvall’s innovative pieces, from her long out-of-print performance text Goan Atom, inspired by the graphic contortions of Hans Bellmer’s Doll and violent love fantasies of other radical body-inspired artists, The Shorter Chaucer, a series of contemporary tales exploring social mores in a feisty mix of languages, and the hybrid and visual prose pieces Cropper, Cat in the Throat, and Middling English. This volume—rich, multi-layered, acerbic, humorous—creates a strong case for how new literature can provide speculative and performative excursions into post-urban lives and idoms and explore renewed visions for languages.

“Caroline Bergvall has emerged over the past decade as one of the most brilliantly inventive poets of our time.” —Charles Bernstein


Meddle English was awarded the inaugural Prix Littéraire Bernard Heidsieck-Centre Pompidou in September 2017. This award, funded by the Centre Pompidou and the Fondazione Bonotto, recognises non-book literature experimentation. For the first time, this award puts the emphasis on all the literature experimentation that has abandoned the book as a unique place of realization, highlighting the vitality and influence that these researches exert on the contemporary.

Translation in the French

L'Anglais mêlé, a translation of Caroline Bergvall's Meddle English (originally published by Nightboat in February 2011), has just come out in France at the prestigious art press Les Presses du réel. This opens the door to a new Francophone readership for this successful Nightboat output. It is the first French translation of Meddle English and was translated by Vincent Broqua, Abigail Lang and Anne Portugal. The book replicates the original US edition and gathers a decade of earlier works, including the performance text Goan Atom, inspired by Hans Bellmer's Doll and Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi and the Shorter Chaucer Tales series as well as her more known critical pieces "Cat in the Throat” and "Middling English". Buy the book in French here


Bergvall's new book, Meddle English, is multilectical, conceptual, sprung lyric - let's just say pataque(e)rical - extravaganza.— CHARLES BERNSTEIN, Jacket 2

For a person relatively unversed in the particularities of her idiolectic, mixed languages, her poetic texts might read like computer code; but since the effort is meaningful, what of it? It points toward the last paradox, that despite her texts’ sophistication — which might seem to inaugurate strictly intellectual pleasures — when the texts enter into the reader’s ear and/or metaphorical bloodstream, the first clear pleasures are intuitive, those of sound, rhythm and cadence and the forever-alive performative dimension of speech. The delights are as alive (and personal) as language exists in the morning before you have re-coded it all into the Queen’s English, or the rational language of book-reviews, or even syntax itself.—MATT REECK, Jacket 2 

She approaches language as a pliable medium, one whose rules, behaviors, and properties are constantly rediscovered in the process of her work. Meddle English reveals these discoveries and shows us a writer who understands fully the risks, pleasures, and possibilities of her art.—MARY WILSON, MAKE