It’s doubtful that Acker stayed at her parents’ apartment that February for very long, if she stayed there at all. She and Len Neufeld were no longer speaking, and—perhaps because she found his artistic crush on her awkward—she avoided seeing Jackson Mac Low. Bernadette Mayer and her then-boyfriend, the filmmaker Ed Bowes, were Acker’s closest ties to the poetry scene and the art world, so it’s likely she stayed at their place. On February 18, she and Mel Frielicher read with Ed Bowes and two other friends at a St. Marks Poetry Project Monday Night reading.

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The previous year Mayer and Bowes had made two videotapes, Sexless and matter, with Bowes’s unwieldy video camera. They lived in his loft at 74 Grand Street, one block south of Canal. To Mayer, the loft was depressing. Watching the long and static exterior shots...

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