Cover image for My way : speeches and poems
Title:
My way : speeches and poems
Author:
Bernstein, Charles, 1950-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xii, 321 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Subject Term:
ISBN:
9780226044095

9780226044101
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library PS3552.E7327 M9 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

"Verse is born free but everywhere in chains. It has been my project to rattle the chains." (from "The Revenge of the Poet-Critic")

In My Way, (in)famous language poet and critic Charles Bernstein deploys a wide variety of interlinked forms--speeches and poems, interviews and essays--to explore the place of poetry in American culture and in the university. Sometimes comic, sometimes dark, Bernstein's writing is irreverent but always relevant, "not structurally challenged, but structurally challenging."

Addressing many interrelated issues, 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 L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, the magazine he coedited that became a fulcrum for a new wave of North American writing.

In his passionate defense of an activist, innovative poetry, Bernstein never departs from the culturally engaged, linguistically complex, yet often very funny writing that has characterized his unique approach to poetry for over twenty years. Offering some of his most daring work yet--essays in poetic lines, prose with poetic motifs, interviews miming speech, speeches veering into song--Charles Bernstein's My Way illuminates the newest developments in contemporary poetry with its own contributions to them.

"The result of [Bernstein's] provocative groping is more stimulating than many books of either poetry or criticism have been in recent years."--Molly McQuade, Washington Post Book World

"This book, for all of its centrifugal activity, is a singular yet globally relevant perspective on the literary arts and their institutions, offered in good faith, yet cranky and poignant enough to not be easily ignored."-- Publishers Weekly

"Bernstein has emerged as postmodern poetry's sous -chef of insouciance. My Way is another of his rich concoctions, fortified with intellect and seasoned with laughter."--Timothy Gray, American Literature


Summary

"Verse is born free but everywhere in chains. It has been my project to rattle the chains." (from "The Revenge of the Poet-Critic")

In My Way, (in)famous language poet and critic Charles Bernstein deploys a wide variety of interlinked forms--speeches and poems, interviews and essays--to explore the place of poetry in American culture and in the university. Sometimes comic, sometimes dark, Bernstein's writing is irreverent but always relevant, "not structurally challenged, but structurally challenging."

Addressing many interrelated issues, 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 L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, the magazine he coedited that became a fulcrum for a new wave of North American writing.

In his passionate defense of an activist, innovative poetry, Bernstein never departs from the culturally engaged, linguistically complex, yet often very funny writing that has characterized his unique approach to poetry for over twenty years. Offering some of his most daring work yet--essays in poetic lines, prose with poetic motifs, interviews miming speech, speeches veering into song--Charles Bernstein's My Way illuminates the newest developments in contemporary poetry with its own contributions to them.

"The result of [Bernstein's] provocative groping is more stimulating than many books of either poetry or criticism have been in recent years."--Molly McQuade, Washington Post Book World

"This book, for all of its centrifugal activity, is a singular yet globally relevant perspective on the literary arts and their institutions, offered in good faith, yet cranky and poignant enough to not be easily ignored."-- Publishers Weekly

"Bernstein has emerged as postmodern poetry's sous -chef of insouciance. My Way is another of his rich concoctions, fortified with intellect and seasoned with laughter."--Timothy Gray, American Literature


Reviews 6

Booklist Review

One of the leaders of the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E school of poetry, Bernstein is a poetic gadfly, uncompromising in his questioning of what language is, why we use it as we do, and what values are conveyed with our linguistic choices. Bernstein will make few readers comfortable; there is something here to irritate almost everyone, beginning with Bernstein's radical vision of language and his egocentric voice. His primary question, repeated in many ways in this collection of essays, reviews, and poetic ponderings, is stated baldly in the important "What's Art Got to Do with It?" After pointing out that the plain style of writing that does not call attention to itself is itself a style, he asserts that "it is always fair to ask of a mode of writing--what interest does it serve?" This basic question underpins all his other queries about style and substance. American poetry needs Bernstein to keep it radically honest, and he is, playfully and annoyingly, delighted to meet that need. --Patricia Monaghan


Publisher's Weekly Review

One of the key theorists of the workshop-busting Language poets, the charismatic Bernstein (A Poetics; Dark City, Rough Trades) continues to expand his purview past the formal concerns of that group. His latest critico-poetic salvo takes in issues of multiculuralism; "standard" vs. "non-standard" forms of language usage; the ossified conservative agenda of literary institutions in the United States; poetry in performance‘both on the page and on stage; and graduate-level pedagogical practices ("Frame Lock"). Eclectic both in its forms of expression (scholarly essays; interviews; generous explications of poets like Charles Reznikoff, Larry Eigner, Hannah Weiner and Susan Howe; quirky poems; and forms that are hybrids of all of these) and in its range of interests, My Way also grants us peeks beneath the surface of Bernstein's sometimes strategically difficult discourse, as in a long autobiographical interview with Loss Glazier, or deceptively accessible poems like "A Test of Poetry," which documents the traumas of his translators. "Water Images of The New Yorker" is a fine little investigative piece, discovering that 86% of the poems over a 16 week period contained images of water, while "Dear Mr. Fanelli," a poem in skinny Schuyleresque lines, takes the language of a subway administrator's "request for comments" literally, highlighting how even bureaucratic language is vexed with double-meanings. "Poetics of the Americas" creates an important bridge between the ethnically marginalized practices of poets like Claude McKay and Paul Lawrence Dunbar and more self-consciously "avant-garde" writers like Louis Zukofsky, Basil Bunting and the Language poets themselves. This book, for all of its centrifugal activity, is a singular yet globally relevant perspective on the literary arts and their institutions, offered in good faith, yet cranky and poignant enough to not be easily ignored. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

In this collection of speeches, cultural critiques, personal essays and anecdotes, interviews, and poems, Bernstein (poetry and letters, SUNY at Buffalo) intentionally bounces back and forth among sociological, ontological, poetic, and banal frequencies. There are flashes of brilliance but often with enormous helpings of malice and defensiveness. Self-indulgence in the style and authoritative presumptions and irreverent cleverness in the writing sometimes detract from what might have made for a leaner, more interesting volume. Bernstein loves class polemics, has a Rousseauean notion of "relevant discourse," and displays a wicked sense of humor. But his rhetoric often opts for inference over observation, and readers may be left wandering whether for Bernstein having it "my way" isn't having it at all. If one is after genuine insight into the elegance of writing (which counts modesty as an ingredient), one would do better with Marie Ponsot and Rosemary Deen's Beat Not the Poor Desk (1981). For those who like their discourse theoretical and shrill.‘Scott Hightower, NYU/Gallatin, New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

One of the leaders of the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E school of poetry, Bernstein is a poetic gadfly, uncompromising in his questioning of what language is, why we use it as we do, and what values are conveyed with our linguistic choices. Bernstein will make few readers comfortable; there is something here to irritate almost everyone, beginning with Bernstein's radical vision of language and his egocentric voice. His primary question, repeated in many ways in this collection of essays, reviews, and poetic ponderings, is stated baldly in the important "What's Art Got to Do with It?" After pointing out that the plain style of writing that does not call attention to itself is itself a style, he asserts that "it is always fair to ask of a mode of writing--what interest does it serve?" This basic question underpins all his other queries about style and substance. American poetry needs Bernstein to keep it radically honest, and he is, playfully and annoyingly, delighted to meet that need. --Patricia Monaghan


Publisher's Weekly Review

One of the key theorists of the workshop-busting Language poets, the charismatic Bernstein (A Poetics; Dark City, Rough Trades) continues to expand his purview past the formal concerns of that group. His latest critico-poetic salvo takes in issues of multiculuralism; "standard" vs. "non-standard" forms of language usage; the ossified conservative agenda of literary institutions in the United States; poetry in performance‘both on the page and on stage; and graduate-level pedagogical practices ("Frame Lock"). Eclectic both in its forms of expression (scholarly essays; interviews; generous explications of poets like Charles Reznikoff, Larry Eigner, Hannah Weiner and Susan Howe; quirky poems; and forms that are hybrids of all of these) and in its range of interests, My Way also grants us peeks beneath the surface of Bernstein's sometimes strategically difficult discourse, as in a long autobiographical interview with Loss Glazier, or deceptively accessible poems like "A Test of Poetry," which documents the traumas of his translators. "Water Images of The New Yorker" is a fine little investigative piece, discovering that 86% of the poems over a 16 week period contained images of water, while "Dear Mr. Fanelli," a poem in skinny Schuyleresque lines, takes the language of a subway administrator's "request for comments" literally, highlighting how even bureaucratic language is vexed with double-meanings. "Poetics of the Americas" creates an important bridge between the ethnically marginalized practices of poets like Claude McKay and Paul Lawrence Dunbar and more self-consciously "avant-garde" writers like Louis Zukofsky, Basil Bunting and the Language poets themselves. This book, for all of its centrifugal activity, is a singular yet globally relevant perspective on the literary arts and their institutions, offered in good faith, yet cranky and poignant enough to not be easily ignored. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

In this collection of speeches, cultural critiques, personal essays and anecdotes, interviews, and poems, Bernstein (poetry and letters, SUNY at Buffalo) intentionally bounces back and forth among sociological, ontological, poetic, and banal frequencies. There are flashes of brilliance but often with enormous helpings of malice and defensiveness. Self-indulgence in the style and authoritative presumptions and irreverent cleverness in the writing sometimes detract from what might have made for a leaner, more interesting volume. Bernstein loves class polemics, has a Rousseauean notion of "relevant discourse," and displays a wicked sense of humor. But his rhetoric often opts for inference over observation, and readers may be left wandering whether for Bernstein having it "my way" isn't having it at all. If one is after genuine insight into the elegance of writing (which counts modesty as an ingredient), one would do better with Marie Ponsot and Rosemary Deen's Beat Not the Poor Desk (1981). For those who like their discourse theoretical and shrill.‘Scott Hightower, NYU/Gallatin, New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

Preface
A Defense of Poetry
The Revenge of the Poet-Critic, or The Parts Are Greater
Than the Sum of the Whole
Thelonious Monk and the Performance of Poetry
An Interview with Manuel Brito Solidarity Is the Name
We Give to What We Cannot Hold What's Art Got to Do with It?
The Status of the Subject of the Humanities in an Age of Cultural Studies
A Test of Poetry The Book as Architecture Dear Mr. Fanelli
An Interview with Hannah Mockel-Rieke I Don't Take Voice Mail
The Object of Art in the Age of Electronic
Technology Weak Links (on Hannah Weiner)
Claire-in-the-Building Again Eigner Frame Lock "Passed by Examination"
Paragraphs for Susan Howe
The Value of Sulfur Shaker Show Gertrude and Ludwig's Bogus
Adventure Introjective Verse Poetics of the
Americas Unzip Bleed Lachrymose Encaustic / Abrasive Tear Stein's
Identity Provisional Institutions
Alternative Presses and Poetic Innovation Pound and the
Poetry of Today Inappropriate
Touching Robin on His Own (on Robin Blaser)
Water Images ofThe New YorkerThe Response as Such
Words in Visibility From an Ongoing
Interview with Tom Beckett
Explicit Version Number RequiredHinge
Picture(on George Oppen) Reznikoff's Nearness An Autobiographical
Interview Beyond Emaciation Riding's Reason
Whose He Kidding Unrepresentative Verse (on Ginsberg and Eliot)
Poetry and [Male?]
Sex Close Listening: Poetry and the Performed Word Taps [In memoriam Eric Mottram] Warning
Poetry Area: Publics under Construction
The Republic of Reality
Notes and Acknowledgments
Preface
A Defense of Poetry
The Revenge of the Poet-Critic, or The Parts Are Greater
Than the Sum of the Whole
Thelonious Monk and the Performance of Poetry
An Interview with Manuel Brito Solidarity Is the Name
We Give to What We Cannot Hold What's Art Got to Do with It?
The Status of the Subject of the Humanities in an Age of Cultural Studies
A Test of Poetry The Book as Architecture Dear Mr. Fanelli
An Interview with Hannah Mockel-Rieke I Don't Take Voice Mail
The Object of Art in the Age of Electronic
Technology Weak Links (on Hannah Weiner)
Claire-in-the-Building Again Eigner Frame Lock "Passed by Examination"
Paragraphs for Susan Howe
The Value of Sulfur Shaker Show Gertrude and Ludwig's Bogus
Adventure Introjective Verse Poetics of the
Americas Unzip Bleed Lachrymose Encaustic / Abrasive Tear Stein's
Identity Provisional Institutions
Alternative Presses and Poetic Innovation Pound and the
Poetry of Today Inappropriate
Touching Robin on His Own (on Robin Blaser)
Water Images ofThe New YorkerThe Response as Such
Words in Visibility From an Ongoing
Interview with Tom Beckett
Explicit Version Number RequiredHinge
Picture(on George Oppen) Reznikoff's Nearness An Autobiographical
Interview Beyond Emaciation Riding's Reason
Whose He Kidding Unrepresentative Verse (on Ginsberg and Eliot)
Poetry and [Male?]
Sex Close Listening: Poetry and the Performed Word Taps [In memoriam Eric Mottram] Warning
Poetry Area: Publics under Construction
The Republic of Reality
Notes and Acknowledgments

Google Preview