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Mei-mei Berssenbrugge 
& Kiki Smith


    1997, 36 pages

    Poetry by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, artwork by Kiki Smith, book design by Robert Rosenwasser

    21 images reproduced in three colors, offset

    ISBN 0-932716-41-5


    Special Edition

    ISBN 0-932716-48-2



    In this collaborative project between a poet and a visual artist, the human body is viewed through the functioning of the endocrine system. The work continues Berssenbrugge's brilliant explorations of language in the light of changes in the body's chemistry. However, in the process of this collaboration, the syntactical sentence, which for many years has been the hallmark of Berssenbrugge's poetry, has been disrupted. Her long lines are broken and order and meaning are constellated in new ways.


    In its original form the work was produced by Bill Goldston at Universal Limited Art Editions, Inc. The Kelsey Street edition was made from photocopies of the original book.



    Mei-mei Berssenbrugge was born in Beijing and grew up in Masschusetts. She received degrees in poetry from Reed College and Columbia University School of the Arts and taught poetry at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her books include Empathy from Station Hill Press and five books from Kelsey Street Press:  Sphericity, Four Year Old Girl, and NEST with covers and design by her husband Richard Tuttle, and Endocrinology and Concordance, collaborations with the artist Kiki Smith. Among her awards are two National Endowment Fellowships, two Before Columbus National Book Awards and two Asian American Writers' Workshop Book Awards. I Love Artists: New and Selected Poems was released from the University of California Press in 2006. Her collaborations include Hiddenness with Richard Tuttle publised by the Whitney Museum Library Fellows in 1997 and The Lit Cloud with Kiki Smith from Lelong Gallery in 2012. Hello, the Roses was published by New Directions in 2013. In 2021 Berssenbrugge was named the winner of Yale's 2021 Bollingen Prize for American poetry. The prize is awarded biennially to an American poet for the best book of poetry in the previous two years or for lifetime achievement. For Berssenbrugge the award recognized her work A Treatise of Stars (New Directions, 2020) and lifetime achievement. Berssenbrugge lives in northern New Mexico and New York City.


    Kiki Smith was born in Nuremberg, Germany, and grew up in New Jersey. She has exhibited her work since the 1980s, when she was a member of COLAB, an influential artists' collective in New York City. Her work is represented in museums throughout Europe and the United States. A major retrospective of her prints, PRINTS, BOOKS AND THINGS, took place at the Museum of Modern Art, 2003. In 2006 Walker Art Museum organized a major survey retrospective of her oeuvre, which then traveled to Houston and, finally, to the Whitney Museum in New York. Smith lives and works in New York City.


    Winner of the Asian American Literary Award, 1997.


    With the poet Mei-mei Bersenbrugge she made a book titled Endocrinology that turns the lymphatic system into a succession of floral still lifes. Over-all, the work comes across as both cool and confrontational. Its spirit matches that found in Buddhist texts that teach disciples to overcome their terror at the prospect of dissolution by mentally dissecting the body and scrutinizing its parts: "hairs of the head, hairs of the body, nails, teeth, skin; muscles, sinews, bones, marrow, kidneys; heart, liver, spleen, lungs; intestines, stomach; excrement, brain; bile, digestive juices; pus, blood, grease, fat; tears, sweat, spittle, snot, fluid of the joints, urine." Ms. Smith's prints embody just such a litany. 
    —Art Review, Kiki Smith: The Body in All Its Mortal Urgency, December 5, 2003



    Endocrinology on MOMA Multimedia

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