This Blank Space from Which I Speak: Denise Riley at the Cambridge Poetry Festival‚ April 15th 1977
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Virtanen provides an astute analysis of Denise Riley’s first ever public reading at the Cambridge Poetry Festival in 1977. The chapter outlines the connections between the pronominal slippage in Riley’s debut pamphlet Marxism for Infants; her early readings of Foucault and Merleau-Ponty; and the theoretical positions she develops in later texts such as Am I That Name? and Words of Selves. Virtanen utilizes both archival recordings and a new interview with Riley in order to show how similar concepts are perceivable in the subtle performance strategies of her first reading. The chapter also proposes that Riley’s reading poses important questions about the overlapping qualities of the ‘performance of authorship’ and the ‘performance of ownership’.