A Breathed Yes

About the Book

A Breathed Yes is a collaboration between the poet Marsie Scharlatt and her sister, the late feminist conceptual artist Hannah Wilke. Created posthumously, 24 years after Wilke's death, the book was proposed by Wilke in the mid-1970s and includes fifty-one selected poems written by Scharlatt between 1956 and 2016 and thirty-six selected images of oil, watercolor, charcoal, pastel, and pencil drawings made by Wilke between 1957 and 1992. 

With an Introduction by Marsie Scharlatt that describes the genesis of the book and the intersection of art and poetry in the sisters' lives, the poems touch on their relationship, parents and  family, and psychotherapy, philosophy, love, and loss, and the art includes some of Wilke's more personal works, largely unknown, as well as several abstract drawings now in the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Both poetry and art are evanescent with a deep connection between the sisters, and they reveal a remarkable synchronicity in the sisters' early work and in their lives.

Soft cover. 160 pages, Introduction, 51 poems, 36 drawings, and Back Matter.  

First edition March 27, 2017. ISBN-10: 0692796797 ISBN-13: 978-0692796795 $29.95

Image: Hannah Wilke, Garfield Park, Chicago, 1977 (detail). Courtesy Hannah Wilke Collection & Archive, Los Angeles. Copyright Marsie, Emanuelle, Damon, and Andrew Scharlatt, Licensed by VAGA, New York.

Praise for A Breathed Yes

"The poet Marsie Scharlatt makes good here on her celebrated sibling Hannah Wilke's long-ago wish that the two combine forces in a book. In A Breathed Yes we see the arc of a whole lifetime: from bright awakenings in adolescence, to early love, marriage and children, divorce, the struggle to reroute her life as a single mother, and a move from Manhattan to Los Angeles. Through it all Scharlatt honors her calling with an unhurried lyric delicacy, full of care and light, that is all her own. Setting this work side by side her sister's probing mercurial art, the book is a treasure trove by two American Masters."

--Aram Saroyan, author of Complete Minimal Poems 

"This compilation of poetry by Marsie Scharlatt and artwork by her sister Hannah Wilke is simply one of the most enchanting and moving books I've read in years.  Tenderness, love, loss, and the whole range of emotions to be found in women's lives lived thoughtfully and in dedication to producing meaningful work are to be found here. A Breathed Yes is a treasure--a breath not only of "quiet fire," but of strength and prayer, truth and beauty, breathed in unison by these gifted sisters, in the sacred space between life and death, between living and dying."

--Gail Wronsky, author of So Quick Bright Things"

About the Author and the Artist

Marsie Scharlatt is a book editor, dramaturge, playwright, poet, and psychotherapist. Educated in the Humanities at the University of Chicago and at Antioch University, Los Angeles, where she received a Master of  Arts in Clinical Psychology, Scharlatt worked as a licensed psychotherapist for many years, in private practice and at numerous clinics and schools. She has written several art catalog essays about Hannah Wilke and is currently writing a memoir about Wilke, herself, and their family. Marsie Scharlatt  is a mother and grandmother and she has been Director of the Hannah Wilke Collection & Archive, Los Angeles, since 1999. 

Hannah Wilke (1940-1993) received a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Education from the Stella Elkins Tyler School of Art at Temple University, Philadelphia. Wilke taught sculpture at the School of Visual Art, New York, for eighteen years, and she received many awards including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim Fellowship. An early feminist conceptual artist, Wilke's iconic work in sculpture, drawing, photography, and performance is widely known and has been exhibited in major group and solo exhibitions. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Tate Modern, London, Centre Pompidou, Paris, Los Angeles Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and many other national and international public and private collections.