Charles Bernstein



Introduction to DIFFICULT

DifficultWhen people say ‘difficult’ and ‘poetry’ in the same sentence they are usually referring to the experience of reading a certain type of poem.

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Experimental Confessionalism: The Personal Turn in American Post-conceptual Poetry

Language poetry and conceptual poetry have both been enormously important movements in the development of contemporary experimental American poetry. They continue to be influential, however they are now both historical moments. This has led to some contemporary poets positioning themselves as post-language or post-conceptual.

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Cruel Buffoonery

In the North American summer of 2015 I journeyed into the heart of the MFA industrial complex. I was a fellow at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and was #workingonmynovel. I was also participating in a culture that I had only hitherto heard and read about. Indeed, my training until that point in the vast ecosystem of ‘creative writing’ institutions had occurred at the University of Pennsylvania under the scrupulous gaze of Charles Bernstein, critic of ‘official verse culture’, and to a lesser extent Kenneth Goldsmith, arch proponent of ‘uncreative writing’.

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87 Words for John Ashbery at 87

curvilinear bequeathed propaedeutic emblazoned blazer bemoan befuddle boomerang procrustean pediment Piedmont Yangzi elastic arboreal aerial miscellaneous moribund feckless freakish free-floating arrested interruption hypobolic cryptography cello churn salience succulence sherbet billowing swank swallow swell swarm swoop sweep weep worrisome weary waver …

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Intervistare la voce: Charles Bernstein

This interview is dedicated to Nicholas Zurbrugg (1947-2001), who brought Enzo Minarelli and I together at a conference at De Montfort University just before Nick’s sudden death. Nick taught at Griffith University, in Brisbane, Australia for 17 years, starting in 1995, before moving back to England. From early in his career, founding the little magazine Stereo Headphones, to his later work on new media, Nick was a champion of innovation in the arts and of the arts of poetry (text, sound, performance, recording), including the work of Minarelli. See this short piece by Nick on Enzo. – CB

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Launch of Tricia Dearborn’s ‘The Ringing World’

The Ringing WorldAmidst its many echoes, the idea of a ‘ringing world’ conjures up for me a line from Sylvia Plath’s poem ‘Words’, in which words are axes ‘after whose stroke the wood rings’. This ringing takes the form of words’ echoes travelling off like horses. Late in the poem these horses reappear ‘dry and riderless’ but nevertheless continuing on with their ‘indefatigable hooftaps’.

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Wandering through the Universal Archive

One of the sequences produced by the collaborative entity, A Constructed World, renders the phrases ‘No need to be great’ and ‘Stay in Groups’ in a range of media – silk-stitch, screen print, photography and painting. One of the painted versions of the image shows a naked woman covered in yellow post-it notes overseen by a hulking, shadowy male. These figures represent the artists Jacqueline Riva and Geoff Lowe. The image appears again in the form of a photograph and the installation was staged in various places around the world – as if the only way to get the message across would be to subject it to constant repetition in as many different formats as possible. Indeed, a number of the collective’s performances and installations attest to the impossibility of communication – even as these take the form of images that can’t fail to deliver. Avant Spectacle A Micro Medicine Show, 2011, features skeleton-costumed performers inexpertly singing and playing instruments while six knee-high wooden letters – S, P, E, E, C and H – burn like small condemned buildings at front of stage.

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Catullus 85

translated by Charles Bernstein Odi et amo. quare id faciam, fortasse requiris. nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior. Hate and love. Why’s that?, you’d ask Don’t know, I feel it and it’s torture. Richard Tuttle started off with: All I …

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