Hedwig Gorski : biography
Dr. Hedwig Gorski (born July 18, 1949, Trenton, New Jersey) is an American performance poet and an avant-garde artist who labels her aesthetic as "American futurism." She is a first-generation Polish American academic scholar and writer.
Her public career began in New Orleans illustrating for the infamous NOLA Express underground newspaper during 1973 and hawking the new issues on the corner. The archives of NOLA Express are now housed in the University of Connecticut. Gorski and Charles Bukowski are two of the most notable contributors to the NOLA Express. There, she befriended Delta blues musician Babe Stovall and often kept him company while he performed for tourists in Jackson Square receiving tips into his open guitar case. A video of them at New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival was made but lost.Review of Intoxication by Alan Clinton in Reconstruction | http://reconstruction.eserver.org/073/clinton2
Soon after moving to Austin, she divorced and began her poetry and theater careers in earnest by falling into the "[a]tmospheric landscape of the town that summoned and intoxicated so many beloved . . . artists of the time toward intense self-actualization."Back Cover. Intoxication: Heathcliff on Powell Street. College Station, Texas: Slough Press, 2007. ISBN 1-4276-0475-4 She completed, produced, and directed a one-act play script with the title Booby, Mama! that is an inventive form she named "neo-verse drama." The art memoir of the production states that the verse play was based on a conceptual art cut-up form of writing made famous by William Burroughs. The memoir titled Intoxication: Heathcliff on Powell Street details the events in 1978 that are described as the birth of performance poetry as an American regional avant-garde joining the activity of the body to the psychic power of utterance and intent.The conceptual process … seems impossible to pull off. There was no money, and it used ‘found’ text and ‘street’ actors … filled with existential angst living on the fringes of society.
She never claimed close ties to the Feminist Movement, but feminists reportedly consider her work to contain powerful statements about the disparity caused by race and gender in the United States. The images in her poetry are womanly and challenge what is politically correct according to the feminist dictum of the time, and they reflect a protest against the complacency and inaction of artists and non-conformists. She had close ties with Gloria E. Anzaldúa, whose book Borderlands/La Frontera is considered a major work in Chicana feminist theory, Ricardo Sanchez, and Raul Salinas, often performing with them at Resistencia Bookstore and elsewhere.Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, San Francisco: Aunt Lute Press, 1987 During the Annual Polish American Historical Association (PAHA) conference in Washington, D.C. in 2008, Gorski read from “Mexico Solo,” a long prose poem that she used to introduce how Polish Americans are more closely related to all hyphenated minority cultures than to the majority American WASP culture.Polish American History Association. Janusz Zalewski, John Guzlowski, Chair. Washington D.C, January 2008. The 2008 PAHA Annual Meeting January 3–6, 2008 within the AHA conference in Washington, D.C.
On the conference panel, Polish American poets Stephen Lewandowski and Joseph Lisowski discussed how blatant discrimination and negative stereotyping circulated by Polish jokes plagued their childhoods. She calls these persecuted groups "invisible minorities" in the United States because they are often of European heritage.http://hedwiggorski.com Gorski’s writing and career aligns with the struggles of all disadvantaged groups suffering from the hidden class warfare inside American society, and for this she has been called the “American Mayakovsky” from whom her motto "poetry is a hammer" is adapted.
When Bob Holman first heard an audio cassette of Gorski with East of Eden Band, he told New York poet Michael Vecchio that it was the best band he had heard. Vecchio is one of those featured in the Poets Audio Anthology Project, Vol. II, along with Isabella Russell-Ides and many other performing poets Gorski collected and produced. Jazz writers and radio programmers were intrigued with poetry and music collaboration, but few practitioners dedicated their careers to doing only oral poetry and music, as did Gorski. Gorski has called herself a "performance poet" in press releases and interviews when describing what she did with East of Eden.Lesley Wheeler. Voicing American Poetry: Sound and Performance from the 1920s to the Present. Cornell University Press, 2008. p. 172; ISBN 978-0-8014-7442-2 She first coined the term "performance poetry" to name her style of writing poetry for oral presentation instead of for print publication in a 1981 press release. The term was widely adopted to name the new genre by later practitioners in the mid-1980s, which is distinct within and parallel to the following practices: spoken word, slam poetry readings, performed poetry, and performance art.