BIOGRAPHIES, MEMOIRS, DIARIES

PUBLISHER
Spector Books

BOOK FORMAT
Hardcover, 6.25 x 8.25 in. / 824 pgs / 350 bw.

PUBLISHING STATUS
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Active

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D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: FALL 2019 p. 57   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9783959052887 TRADE
List Price: $45.00 CDN $62.00

AVAILABILITY
In stock

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SPECTOR BOOKS

I Seem to Live: The New York Diaries, 1950–1969

Volume 1

By Jonas Mekas. Edited by Anne König.

I Seem to Live: The New York Diaries, 1950–1969

I Seem to Live chronicles the beginnings of New York’s avant-garde film world and the emergence of a counterculture

Jonas Mekas’ I Seem to Live picks up in the 1950s, where his extraordinary and popular memoir I Had Nowhere to Go left off. These were crucial years for the artist: Jonas Mekas and his brother Adolfas, having arrived in New York, shot their first experimental films, and Jonas began to develop the essayistic film diary format that he would use to record his day-to-day observations for the rest of his life. In 1954 the two brothers founded Film Culture magazine, and in 1958 Jonas began writing a weekly column for the Village Voice. It was in this period that Mekas’ writing, films and unflagging commitment to art began to establish him as a pioneer of American avant-garde cinema and the barometer of the New York art scene.

Assembling Mekas’ diaries from this exciting period, enriched with his own personal visual material, I Seem to Live offers an intimate, unparalleled view of the postwar New York underground scene from one of its most beloved fixtures.

The first installment of Mekas’ diaries, I Had Nowhere to Go (1944–1955), was published by Spector Books in 2017. I Seem to Live, the sequel to that work, will appear in two volumes: the present volume, covering the years 1950 to 1969, and a second, forthcoming volume, covering 1969 to 2011.

Jonas Mekas (1922–2019) was born in Lithuania and arrived in New York in 1949 via a wartime displaced-persons camp. Cofounder of the Anthology Film Archives, Mekas was a filmmaker, writer, poet, tireless advocate for experimental art and a New York City legend.


Featured image is reproduced from 'I Seem to Live.'

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

Interview

Conor Williams

I Seem To Live encapsulates a great deal of Mekas’s diary entries, written between 1950 and 1969. During those years, Mekas also completed twelve films, culminating in his three-hour opus Walden. This collection is not just a survey of moments from a single life lived, but a work of dedicated portraiture of life itself.

AnOther Man

Sara Rosen

Working from a 2,000-page document spanning 60 years, Mekas shaped the diaries into a two-part series that offers a vibrant tour of the New York underground.

Hyperallergic

Nolan Kelly

This first volume of the filmmaker’s journals charts his progress from immigrant life in Williamsburg to the center of the American avant-garde.

Brooklyn Rail

Paul Maziar

In 2019, Mekas passed away at the age of 96, leaving a chasm in the creative world as well as a trove of diaries [...] a record that bears a unique vision of what it’s like to be alive, with a young man’s earnestness and a fierceness that comes from hard-won experience. [...] Despite its exhaustiveness, the book is remarkably difficult to put down.

I Seem to Live: The New York Diaries, 1950–1969

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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 1/10/2020

Anthology Film Archives launch event for Jonas Mekas's 'I Seem to Live' NY Diaries

Anthology Film Archives launch event for Jonas Mekas's 'I Seem to Live' NY Diaries

Sunday, January 26 at 3 PM, Anthology Film Archives presents the New York City launch of Jonas Mekas's I Seem to Live: The New York Diaries, 1950–1969, Volume 1, published by Spector Books. A group of special guests will read from the diaries, including poet and writer Vyt Bakaitis, who worked with Mekas on his seminal book I Had Nowhere to Go; Florence and Ken Jacobs, filmmakers and colleagues for many years; filmmaker Chuck Smith; and others. Introduced by editor Anne König, the reading will precede a screenings of Anthology’s new restoration of Mekas’s first feature film, Guns of the Trees (1961).
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