A native St. Louisan, Valerie Witte arrived in San Francisco in 2003 and now lives just a bit down the road in Burlingame, CA. She has produced chapbooks with the g.e. collective, including her own book, The History of Mining. She is a member of Kelsey Street Press, which publishes experimental writing by women, and she co-founded the Bay Area Correspondence School. Her work has appeared in various journals, such as Barrow Street, VOLT, Interim, and Letterbox; and her manuscript, a game of correspondence, was a finalist for the 2013 Gatewood Prize (Switchback Books). In her daytime hours, she edits photography books, ebooks, and videos in San Francisco. Valerie was a contributor to the 2014 co-produced LPP-Celery Space show Quotidiæn, for which she collaborated with Jennifer Yorke, and she was a writer-in residence at La Porte Peinte in 2015, when she worked again with Jennifer Yorke on a collaborative project. Check out her work at valeriewitte.squarespace.com.
In my writing, I invite the reader into the reality of the textual landscapes I create, challenging her to draw her own conclusions about the meaning of the work and the function of the language in building it. To build these “realities,” I often work with fragments — collecting words and phrases from materials ranging from emails and news articles to nonfiction books and other sources, to create work that requires a willingness to navigate a fragmented world of actual events, found language, and personal narrative. I am deeply interested in the intersection of words and other media, visual art, music, and technology. As a result, I have worked with other writers to create works ranging from cowritten texts related to the art of origami flower-folding and the development of the Apollo spacesuit; to collaborations with visual artists on artist books, broadsides, and potentially sound and video projects. In recent work, I examine the human body in unconventional ways — focusing on aspects that are disturbing rather than easy or pleasant to observe. I am interested in the imperfections of bodies rather than the obviously beautiful, a commonality I have discovered in the work of Jennifer Yorke, with whom I have been collaborating on artist books based on my manuscript, Flood Diary. Based on our experience working together and our shared artistic interests, we were eager to continue our work on this manuscript while also considering other potential projects, including working audio-visually. Working in close proximity together at LPP, rather than from our homes — Chicago and San Francisco — enabled us to fully explore this opportunity.