My Life


Lyn Hejinian (born May 17, 1941) is an American poet, essayist, translator and publisher. She is often associated with the Language poets and is known for her landmark work My Life (Sun & Moon, 1987, original version Burning Deck, 1980), as well as her book of essays, The Language of Inquiry (University of California Press, 2000).


Hejinian was born in the San Francisco Bay Area and now lives in Berkeley, California with her husband, composer/musician Larry Ochs. She has published over a dozen books of poetry and numerous books of essays as well as two volumes of translations from the Russian poet Arkadii Dragomoshchenko. Between 1976 and 1984 she was editor of Tuumba Press, and from 1981 to 1999 she co-edited (with Barrett Watten) Poetics Journal. She is currently co-editor of Atelos, which publishes cross-genre collaborations between poets and other artists.[1]

Hejinian has worked on a number of collaborative projects with painters, musicians and film makers. She teaches poetics at University of California, Berkeley,[2] and is currently teaching contemporary literature. Hejinian has lectured in Russia and around Europe. She has received grants and awards from the California Arts Council, the Academy of American Poets, the Poetry Fund, the National Endowment of the Arts, Guggenheim Foundation.

She currently sponsors the NBC Thursday Night DeCal course at UC Berkeley.

  • a gRReat adventure Self-published, 1972.
  • A Thought is the Bride of What Thinking. Berkeley, CA: Tuumba Press, 1976.
  • A Mask of Motion. Providence, RI: Burning Deck, 1977.
  • Gesualdo. Berkeley, CA: Tuumba Press, 1978.
  • Writing is an Aid to Memory. Great Barrington, MA: The Figures, 1978.
  • My Life. Providence, RI: Burning Deck, 1980.
  • The Guard. Berkeley, CA: Tuumba Press, 1984.
  • Redo. Grenada, Miss.: Salt-Works Press, 1984.
  • My Life. (revised and updated) LA: Sun & Moon Press, 1987.
  • Individuals. (written with Kit Robinson) Tucson, AZ: Chax Press, 1988.
  • Leningrad. (written with Michael Davidson, Ron Silliman, Barrett Watten) San Francisco: Mercury House, 1991.
  • The Hunt. La Lasuna: Zasterle Press, 1991.
  • Oxota: A Short Russian Novel. Great Barrington, MA: The Figures, 1991. ISBN 978-0-935724-44-8
  • The Cell. LA: Sun & Moon Press, 1992.
  • Jour de Chasse. trans. Pierre Alferi. Cahiers de Royaumont, 1992.
  • The Cold of Poetry. LA: Sun & Moon Press, 1994.
  • Two Stein Talks. Santa Fe, NM: Weaselsleeves Press, 1996.
  • Wicker. (written with Jack Collom) Boulder, CO: Rodent Press. 1996.
  • The Little Book of A Thousand Eyes. Boulder, CO: Smoke-Proof Press, 1996.
  • Writing is an Aid to Memory. Reprint, Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1996.
  • Guide, Grammar, Watch, and The Thirty Nights. Western Australia: Folio, 1996.
  • A Book from A Border Comedy. Los Angeles: Seeing Eye Books, 1997.
  • The Traveler and the Hill, and the Hill. (with Emilie Clark) New York: Granary Books, 1998.
  • Sight. (written with Leslie Scalapino) Washington DC: Edge Books, 1999.
  • Happily. Sausalito, CA: Post-Apollo Press, 2000.
  • Chartings. (written with Ray DiPalma) Tucson: Chax Press, 2000.
  • Sunflower. (written with Jack Collom) Great Barrington MA: The Figures, 2000. ISBN 978-1-930589-05-6
  • The Language of Inquiry. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-520-21700-3
  • The Beginner. New York: Spectacular Books, 2001.
  • A Border Comedy. New York: Granary Books, 2001.
  • My Life. Reprints Sun & Moon edition; Los Angeles: Green Integer, 2002.
  • Slowly. Berkeley: Tuumba Press, 2002.
  • The Beginner. Berkeley: Tuumba Press, 2002.
  • The Fatalist. Richmond, CA: Omnidawn Publishing, 2003. ISBN 978-1-890650-12-4
  • My Life in the Nineties. New York: Shark Books, 2003. ISBN 978-0-9664871-9-0
  • Saga/Circus. Richmond, CA: Omnidawn Publishing, 2008. ISBN 978-1-890650-34-6
  • The Book of a Thousand Eyes. Richmond, CA: Omnidawn Publishing, 2012. ISBN 978-1-890650-57-5


  • Description. poems by Arkadii Dragomoshchenko. LA: Sun & Moon Press, 1990.
  • Arkadii Dragomoshchenko selections in Third Wave: The New Russian Poetry, ed. Kent Johnson and Stephen Ashby. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992.
  • Xenia. poems by Arkadii Dragomoshchenko. LA: Sun & Moon Press. 1994.
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Further reading
  • Hartwell, Michael, and Lyn Hejinian. "The Rejection of Closure." The Manifesto in Literature. Ed. Thomas Riggs. Vol. 3: Activism, Unrest, and the Neo-Avant-Garde. Detroit: St. James Press, 2013. 238-240. Gale Virtual Reference Library.
  • Quinn, Richard. "Hejinian, Lyn (1941– )." Contemporary American Women Poets: An A-to-Z Guide. Ed. Catherine Cucinella. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002. [178]-182. Gale Virtual Reference Library.
  • "Yet we insist that life is full of happy chance.": Lyn Hejinian. Poetry for Students. Ed. Ira Mark Milne. Vol. 27. Detroit: Gale, 2008. 290-317. Gale Virtual Reference Library.
External links
  • Lyn Hejinian at EPC
  • Lyn Hejinian at the Poetry Foundation
  • Lyn Hejinian at the Academy of American Poets
  • Lyn Hejinian Papers
  • Works by or about Lyn Hejinian in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
  • Excerpts from My Life
  • Review of Saga/Circus
  • "Add-Verse" a poetry-photo-video project Hejinian participated in

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