Ariana Reines

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Ariana Reines is an American poet, playwright, performance artist, and translator. Her books of poetry include The Cow (2006), which won the Alberta Prize from Fence Books; Coeur de Lion (2007); Mercury (2011); and Thursday (2012).[1] She has taught at UC Berkeley (Roberta C. Holloway Lecturer in Poetry, 2009), Columbia University (2013), The New School (2013), and Tufts University (2014).[1][2][3][4][5] Reines has been described by Michael Silberblatt of NPR's Bookworm as "one of the crucial voices of her generation." [1]

Her play Telephone was commissioned and produced by The Foundry Theatre,[6] and presented at The Cherry Lane Theatre in February 2009,[7] with two Obie wins.[3][8][9] She participated in the 2014 Whitney Biennial as a member of Semiotext(e).[10] Her performance collaboration with Jim Fletcher, Mortal Kombat, was presented at Le Mouvement in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland, in August 2014,[11] and was again presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art in October 2014.[12]


Reines was born in Salem, Massachusetts. She said that the Salem Witch Trials were relevant in her writing, saying "I am sure that Salem's history has influenced me in every way. I know that there still lurks in me the fear that if I speak the truth as I know it, I will be locked up in a mental institution and then killed in public while a mockery of me is made."[13] She graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College, and completed graduate work at both Columbia University and the European Graduate School, where she studied literature, performance, and philosophy.[1][14][15] In 2010, she served as a translator on a UN Mission to Haiti.[16]


The Cow The Cow (Fence Books, 2006) addresses themes of abjection, filth, and disgust. It is framed by several excerpted texts, including a guide to bovine carcass disposal, as well as the Bible, and works by Gertrude Stein, Charles Baudelaire, and Marguerite Duras, a structure which Reines has described as "passing all of literature through a hamburger helper." [17] Of the titular figure, Reines has claimed that "the cow is a real modernist figure. I feel like after God died, the cow became the onlooker in great works of’s like the residue of the divine in the twentieth century." [18] Reines' writing style in The Cow has been described as one that "appropriates and shreds other texts, but which sometimes hides the theft; a search for beauty under piles of carcasses both metaphorical and real"; the same review pointed out that "in the context of such fraught, relentless hammering, such brief moments of beauty can risk seeming like desperately mimed cliches."[19]

Coeur de Lion Coeur de Lion (Mal-o-Mar, 2007; reissued by Fence Books, 2011) is a book-length poem addressed to an elusive, fractured, "you," who Reines has stated constitutes "the 'you' of YouTube and advertising...what the impoverished 'I' is made of." [18] It depicts the unravelling of a love affair between the narrator and this addressee. The title is a twin reference to King Richard the Lionheart, as well as the brand of camembert.[15]

Telephone Telephone was performed at the Cherry Lane Theater in February 2009. It is based on The Telephone Book: Technology — Schizophrenia — Electric Speech by philosopher Avital Ronell, and has been described as an "inspired and utterly original new tone poem of a play" and "not for everyone".[20] Telephone consists of three sections: one recreates the first ever phone call, between Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Watson; the second is centered around Ms. St., a patient of Carl Jung who believed she had a telephone inside of her; the third brings the three characters together.[20] The play won two Obie Awards, one for Birgit Huppuch's performance as Ms. St., and another for Ken Rus Schmoll as director.[21] The second act of Telephone was expanded into a short piece entitled Miss St.'s Hieroglyphic Suffering, and was presented as part of The Guggenheim Museum's Works & Process series in November 2009, again starring Birgit Huppuch.

Mercury Mercury (Fence Books, 2011) consists of several intermeshed long poems. Its five sections each begin with alchemical symbols, which, according to B.K. Fisher, writing for the Boston Review, places the reader "in a realm where the transmutation of materials is an analogy for personal purification and esoteric or spiritual quest." [22] Reines has stated that Mercury is "a ground, a field, a structure in which the poems can resonate together as much more than merely themselves." [23]


Reines has taught at Tufts University, Columbia University, The New School, and The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University.[1][2][3][4][5] In 2009, she was the youngest ever Roberta C. Holloway Lecturer in Poetry at University of California at Berkeley.[15] In addition, Reines has taught workshops in many non-institutional settings, such as Poets House [24] and the Poetry Project.[25] In the fall of 2012, and again in 2013, she led a workshop called Ancient Evenings, which facilitated a communion around ancient texts.[26]

In 2012, Reines led a vision quest in New Mexico.[27]


Books of Poetry[edit]

  • The Cow (Fence Books, 2006)
  • Coeur de Lion (Mal-O-Mar, 2007; reissued by Fence, 2011)
  • Mercury (Fence Books, 2011)
  • Thursday (Spork, 2012)
  • Beyond Relief (with Celina Su, Belladonna*, 2013)
  • The Origin Of The World (Semiotext(e), 2014)
  • Ramayana (The Song Cave, 2015)
  • Tiffany's Poems (The Song Cave, 2015)
  • A Sand Book (Tin House, 2019)


  • Telephone (2009)
  • Miss St.’s Hieroglyphic Suffering (2009)
  • Lorna (with Jim Fletcher,[28] 2013)




  • The Little Black Book of Grisélidis Réal: Days and Nights of an Anarchist Whore by Jean-luc Henning (Semiotext(e), 2009)
  • My Heart Laid Bare by Charles Baudelaire (Mal-O-Mar, 2009)
  • Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl by Tiqqun (Semiotext(e), 2012)

Catalogues and Contributions[edit]

  • Animal Shelter 1 (Animal Shelter, 2008)
  • "The Air We Breathe" (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2011)
  • Oscar Tuazon: Die (The Power Station, 2012)
  • Parkett no. 91 (Parkett Verlag, 2012)
  • Better Homes (SculptureCenter, 2013)
  • Introduction to Cunt Norton by Dodie Bellamy (Les Figues Press, 2013)
  • Yana Toyber: This Time (Damiani, 2015)
  • The Passion According to Carol Rama (Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, 2015)



  1. ^ a b c d e f "Ariana Reines: The Poetry Foundation". Retrieved 2014-08-14.
  2. ^ a b "Poetry Forum: Ariana Reines - The New School". Retrieved 2014-08-14.
  3. ^ a b c "ariana reines – ABOUT". Retrieved 2014-08-14.
  4. ^ a b "Rilking with Ariana Reines – Poets House". Retrieved 2014-08-14.
  5. ^ a b "Department of English: Courses". Retrieved 2014-08-14.
  6. ^ "The Foundry Theatre – Telephone". Retrieved 2014-08-14.
  7. ^ "Telephone – Cherry Lane Theatre". Retrieved 2014-08-14.
  8. ^ "Guggenheim – Ariana Reines". Retrieved 2014-08-14.
  9. ^ "New York Obies Theater Awards". Retrieved 2014-08-14.
  10. ^ "Whitney Museum of American Art: Semiotext(e)". Archived from the original on 2014-07-02. Retrieved 2014-08-14.
  11. ^ "Ariana Reines: Le Mouvement". Retrieved 2014-10-06.
  12. ^ "Whitney Museum of American Art: Mortal Kombat". Retrieved 2014-10-06.
  13. ^ "Studio One Reading Series: Ariana Reines". Retrieved 2014-10-15.
  14. ^ "Speak, Memory - The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery". Retrieved 2014-08-14.
  15. ^ a b c "Bookforum: Ariana Reines". Retrieved 2014-10-12.
  16. ^ "HTMLGIANT: Ariana Reines in Haiti". Retrieved 2014-10-07.
  17. ^ "The Eye: Ariana Reines". Retrieved 2014-10-15.
  18. ^ a b "BOMB Magazine: Ariana Reines". Retrieved 2014-10-15.
  19. ^ "Coldfront Magazine: Ariana Reines". Retrieved 2014-10-08.
  20. ^ a b "Ariana Reines: The New York Times". Retrieved 2014-10-11.
  21. ^ "The Village Voice: 2009 Obie Award Winners". Retrieved 2014-10-11.
  22. ^ "The Boston Review: Ariana Reines". Retrieved 2014-10-07.
  23. ^ "HTMLGIANT: interview with Ariana Reines". Retrieved 2014-10-07.
  24. ^ "Poets House: Ariana Reines". Retrieved 2014-10-09.
  25. ^ "The Poetry Project: Ariana Reines". Retrieved 2014-10-09.
  26. ^ "The Poetry Foundation: Ancient Evenings". Retrieved 2014-10-09.
  27. ^ "Triple Canopy: Ariana Reines". Retrieved 2014-10-09.
  28. ^ a b c "Dia Art Foundation - Events". Retrieved 2014-08-14.
  29. ^ "Barnard College Yearbook, 2002". Retrieved 2014-10-08.
  30. ^ "The National Poetry Series". Retrieved 2014-10-08.

External links[edit]