Charles Bernstein

David Antin memorial at Getty

February 3, 2016

Eleanor Antin sitting at edge of stage before picture of Jerome and Diane Rothernberg and David and Ellie

David Antin was one of the great American poets of the postwar period, transforming the practice of poetry, art criticism, and the essay. His “talk poems” are chock full of startlingly philosophical insights, weaving narratives on the fly and making poems that are as engaging as they are wise. I came to the event not knowing what I would say. Among the first speakers was Barbara T. Smith, who asked each of us to cut a lock of hair, which she collected. This reminded me of the Jewish ritual of cutting a piece of clothing at a funeral, usual a tie. So I ended my talk with a reading of “Rivulets of the Dead Jew,” which makes a reference to this ritual.

Mimi Gross's set design for Douglas Dunn's 'Antipodes'

Photos: Charles Bernstein

Douglas Dunn’s new dance, Antipodes, opened last night at Dancespace at St. Mark’s Church in New York. Design (sets, costumes) by Mimi Gross.

Robin Blaser: 'The Astonishment Tapes,' Vancouver, Spring 1974

These are the full recordings edited and transcribed by Miriam Nichols for The Astonishment Tapes: Talks on Poetry and Autobiography with Robin Blaser and Friends (University of Alabama Press, 2015). Thanks to Miriam Nichols for making them available on PennSound’s Blaser page. 

Gil: Talk for launch of Gil Ott's 'arrive on wave'

Presented at Temple University on January 24, 2016

Photo courtesy Julia Blumreich

“We / take the form / of our uncertainty,” Gil Ott wrote in a 1984 poem. I take that as a motto of a poetics we shared, Gil and me, born the same year smack in the middle of the last century. Uncertainty remains now, as it was thirty years ago, as it was in 1950, a poetic vice for many. Gil expressed his searching uncertainty with an unflappable and genial defiance, living his fifty-four years with grace, courage, outrage, and élan. 

Creeley films by Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian

Willy’s Reading by Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian, 1982