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Description - My Way by Charles Bernstein

This text explores the place of poetry in American culture and in the university. Addressing many interrelated issues, Charles Bernstein moves from the role of the public intellectual to the poetics of scholarly prose, from vernacular modernism to idiosyncratic postmodernism, from identity politics to the resurgence of the aesthetic, from cultural studies to poetry as a performance art, from the small press movement to the Web. Along the way he provides "close listening" to such poets as Charles Reznikoff, Laura Riding, Susan Howe, Ezra Pound, Allen Ginsberg, and Gertrude Stein, as well as a fresh perspective on "LANGUAGE," the magazine he coedited that became a fulcrum for a new wave of North American writing. Bernstein offers essays in poetic lines, prose with poetic motifs, interviews miming speech and speeches veering into song, illuminating the developments in the late 1990s in contemporary poetry with his own contributions to them.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780226044101
ISBN-10: 0226044106
Format: Paperback
(228mm x 154mm x 20mm)
Pages: 332
Imprint: University of Chicago Press
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Publish Date: 14-Jan-1999
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions - My Way by Charles Bernstein

Book Reviews - My Way by Charles Bernstein

US Kirkus Review » An imaginative mensch fruitfully complicates poetry. Bernstein (A Poetics, not reviewed, etc.) is one of the most sophisticated readers and writers we have. And he's also a wag - but seriously. His "alternative" perspective can only rejuvenate, partly because he's both a teacher (State Univ. of New York, Buffalo) and a student (by temperament), both the critic and the criticized, earnestly engaged with and yet also helpfully detached from poetry and its ongoing politics. Combining commentary on general intellectual issues (e.g., multiculturalism's move into the academy) and criticism (of Ezra Pound, Charles Reznikoff, et al.) with interviews and even poems - which here tend to double as philosophical or aesthetic credos - this excellent collection could serve well either as an introduction for newcomers or as the latest installment, for familiars, of a continuing conversation with the author. For, more than is tree of most literary thinkers, Bernstein remains a committed personalist (without downsizing the scale of his investigations): You hear his voice as though he were sitting beside you, offering an amazingly mixed bag of wise asides and sensibly contrarian discussions. A sampling: "The poet's life is one of quiet desperation, although sometimes it gets noisy . . . Many days I feel like one of those 50s street vendors demonstrating multi-purpose vegetable cutters; the flapping hands and jumping up and down may generate a small crowd because there remains interest if not in the product at least in the humiliation of trying to sell something few seem to want." Bernstein's pluralism, favoring the goal of "finding the possibilities for articulation of meanings that are too often denied or repressed," is in fact anything but politically correct; as a founder of "language poetry," he has always chosen to side with outsiderhood. It's remarkable how much more persuasive his renegade stance now seems than that of the poetic mainstream. For, as Bernstein so eloquently shows and tells us, "Language, along with outer space, is the last wilderness." (Kirkus Reviews)

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