Charles Bernstein

Attack of the Difficult Conversation: The Brooklyn Rail interview

Charles Bernstein & Adam Fitzgerald talk about Attack of the Difficult Poems

 read the interview in the June Brooklyn Rail

... Poetry’s unpopularity, or anyway the unpopularity of the kind of poetry I want, is part of its cultural condition and so part of its advantage. Its unpopularity may even be popular; that’s poetic logic for you. How about saying that poetry is the research and development wing of verbal language, better understood as collaborative thinking and investigation, at least for some of the practitioners?  It doesn’t necessarily express an individual author’s biographical feelings in a conventionally lyrical manner—a great deal of poetry does that, but a great deal doesn’t. The elitism is not poetry’s, but commodity culture’s, which says that value comes exclusively from the market or audience share. Forms of culture that are not immediately accessible to a mass or popular audience also matter. Difficulty is not an obstacle, it is a material means for engagement with the social real. Yes we can.

Sonia Delaunay

Abstraction & the rag trade

If any demonstration were needed that the rag trade was part of the invention of modernist abstraction, then “Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay” would do the trick (Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York, closes June 19).

The impact of the poet-editor: some questions

An interview by Manuel Brito

Manuel Brito, editor of Zasterle Press (Canary Islands) interviewed me for a special issue of Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses on "Small Press Publishing: Absorbing New Forms, Circulating New Ideas" (#62, April 2011). In his introduction, Brito writes: "

Three essays by Ken Jacobs

The Nervous Magic Lantern

The Nervous Magic Lantern is strikingly low-tech and could have come about centuries ago. Longer than that and perhaps it did and was thought too strange and avoid­ed like sin. A lightweight propeller steadily turns, inter­rupting a beam of light. This is almost the only difference from when sunlight, coming in through a small opening into a dark space, sent an inverted image of the outside world onto cave walls. Unknowing creatures were scared out of their wits but I know this for a fact that one enter­prising fellow held his hand over the opening and, saying he had an in with Superior Forces, charged admission to see the “miracle”, inventing religion, theater and exploita­tive capitalism all in one brilliant stroke.