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Susan Bee, Recalculating, 2010. Oil on linen, 16 x 20 inches. Courtesy of the artist and A.I.R. Gallery.

Interchange – Pitching Poetry: Recalculating Charles Bernstein


This show features the most recent work of Charles Bernstein, the inestimable Charles Bernstein, to whom I might append title, à la James Brown, “the hardest working man in poetry.” Which is just to say, Charles Bernstein walks and talks the walk and talk. If you know anything about poetry since the 1980s you must know at least something of Bernstein. He is probably best known for his journal L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E which he founded and edited with Bruce Andrews and which spanned the years 1978-1981 and ran to 13 issues. Bernstein published his first book of poetry in 1975 and I think the latest, Recalculating makes fifteen. He’s also a prolific essayist, editor, collaborator and translator whose latest book of essays is The Pitch of Poetry. Surely this, said of Larry Eigner, a touchstone poet for a generation of “New American Poets”, can be said of Charles Bernstein.

…”calculus” is a term for him which really pervades, and it’s an alternative to “another time in fragments”…it’s the idea that these individual, discrete, burning particulars together make a calculus that’s a three- or four-dimensional calculus–and ends “making a fierce language.” (from “Larry Eigner’s Endless Song” in The Pitch of Poetry)

Recalculating is Charles Bernstein’s first new book of poetry since his daughter, Emma Bee Bernstein, died in December of 2008, and is in large measure a response to her death.

The road tells you what to do. Throw on some shades, pump up the radio, put your hands on the wheel. Retrace your route in reflection, but look only as far as the blur of passing yellow lines to see the present. Race your future to the finish line. -Emma Bee Bernstein

“Dea%r Fr~ien%d”
“A Theory’s Evolution”

image from Jacket2
image from Jacket2

Charles Bernstein teaches poetry and poetics, with an emphasis on modernist and contemporary art, aesthetics, and performance.

Bernstein has published five collections of essays — Pitch of Poetry (Chicago, 2016), Attack of the Difficult Poems: Essays and Inventions (Chicago, 2011), My Way: Speeches and Poems (Chicago, 1999), A Poetics (Harvard, 1992), and Content’s Dream: Essays 1975-1984. His books of poetry include Recalculating (Chicago, 2013), All the Whiskey in Heaven: Selected Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Girly Man (Chicago, 2006), With Strings (Chicago, 2001), and Republics of Reality: 1975 – 1995 (Sun & Moon, 2000). His libretto Shadowtime, for composer Brian Ferneyhough, was published in 2005 by Green Integer; it was performed as part of the 2005 Lincoln Center Festival. Bernstein is the editor of several collections, including: American Poetry after 1975 (Duke University Press / special issue of boundary, 2009), Close Listening: Poetry and the Performed Word (Oxford, 1999), The Politics of Poetic Form: Poetry and Public Policy (Roof, 1990), and the poetics magazine L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, whose first issue was published in 1978. He is editor of the Electronic Poetry Center and co-director (with Al Flireis) of PennSound.

For more information go to Charles Bernstein’s author page at the Electronic Poetry Center, his Penn home page, which includes full syllabi of all his Penn courses; note also his web log

L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Magazine, (Ed.) Bruce Andrews and Charles Bernstein
Emma’s Dilemma: Henry Hills’s film featuring Emma Bee Bernstein
Before You Go: With Drawings by Susan Bee, Dedicated to Emma Bee Bernstein
Larry Eigner (on PennSound)

Cecil Taylor
Open: “Air (Take 9)” from Air
Break One: “Port of Call” from Air
Break Two: “Air (Take 24)” from Air
Close: “Steps” from Unit Structures

Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Board Engineer: Jonathan Richardson
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford

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