Cover image for Close listening : poetry and the performed word
Close listening : poetry and the performed word
Bernstein, Charles, 1950-
Publication Information:
New York : Oxford University Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
x, 390 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Letter on sound / Susan Stewart -- The aural ellipsis and the nature of listening in contemporary poetry / Nick Piombino -- Praxis : a political economy of noise and information / Bruce Andrews -- After free verse : the new nonlinear poetries / Marjorie Perloff -- Ether either / Susan Howe -- Visual performance of the poetic text / Johanna Drucker -- Voice in extremis / Steve McCaffery -- Toward a poetics of polyphony and translatability / Dennis Tedlock -- Speech effects : the talk as a genre / Bob Perelman -- Sound reading / Peter Quartermain -- Understanding the sound of not understanding / Jed Rasula -- The contemporary poetry reading / Peter Middleton -- Neon griot : the functional role of poetry readings in the Black arts movement / Lorenzo Thomas -- Was that "different, " "dissident" or "dissonant"? Poetry (n) the public spear : slams, open readings, and dissident traditions / Maria Damon -- Local vocals : Hawaiʻi's pidgin literature, performance, and postcoloniality / Susan M. Schultz -- Who speaks : ventriloquism and the self in the poetry reading / Ron Silliman.
Reading Level:
1560 Lexile.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1042 .C46 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Close Listening and the Performed Word brings together seventeen strikingly original essays, especially written for this volume, on the poetry reading, the sounds of poetry, and the visual performance of poetry. While the performance of poetry is as old as poetry itself, critical attention tomodern and postmodern poetry performance has been negligible. This collection opens many new avenues for the critical discussion of the sound and performance of poetry, with special attention to innovative work. More important, the essays collected here offer brilliant and wide-ranging elucidationsof how twentieth-century poetry has been practiced as a performance art. The contributors--including Marjorie Perloff, Susan Stewart, Johanna Drucker, Dennis Tedlock, and Susan Howe--cover topics that range from the performance styles of individual poets and types of poetry to the relation of soundto meaning, from historical and social approaches to poetry readings and to new imaginations of prosody. Such approaches are intended to encourage new forms of "close listenings"--not only to the printed text of poems, but also to tapes, performances, and other expressions of the sounded word. Withreadings and "spoken word" events gaining an increasing audience for poetry, Close Listening provides an indispensable critical groundwork for understanding the importance of language in--and as--performance.

Author Notes

Charles Bernstein is at State University of New York at Buffalo.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. v
Contributorsp. ix
Introductionp. 3
Notesp. 23
Part I Sound's Measuresp. 27
I Letter on Soundp. 29
2 The Aural Ellipsis and the Nature of Listening in Contemporary Poetryp. 53
3 Praxis a Political Economy of Noise and Informalismp. 73
4 After Free Verse the New Nonlinear Poetriesp. 86
5 Ether Eitherp. 111
Part II Performing Wordsp. 129
6 Visual Performance of the Poetic Textp. 131
7 Voice in Extremisp. 162
8 Toward a Poetics of Polyphony and Translatabilityp. 178
9 Speech Effects the Talk as a Genrep. 200
10 Sound Readingp. 217
Part III Close Hearings/ Historical Settingsp. 231
II Understanding the Sound of Not Understandingp. 233
12 the Contemporary Poetry Readingp. 262
Notesp. 295
13 Neon Griot: The Functional Role of Poetry Readings in the Black Arts Movementp. 320
14 Was That """"Different,"""" """"Dissident"""" or """"Dissonant""""?: Poetry (n) the Public Spear: Slams, Open Readings, and Dissident Traditionsp. 339
15 Local Vocals Hawai'I's Pidgin Literature, Performance, and Postcolonialityp. 343
Afterword Who Speaks: Ventriloquism and the Self in the Poetry Readingp. 360
Audio Resourcesp. 379
Bibliographyp. 385