Bill Berkson in conversation with Charles Bernstein on Close Listening (36:56): MP3 Berkson in conversation with Bernstein undergraduate seminar (34:49): MP3
February 10, 2014, University of Pennsylvania; recorded and edited by Bernstein. Bill Berkson discusses unprincipled poetry, vulgar beauty, the poetics of surface, the emergence of the New American Poetry, the trap of being too serious, and the possibilities of the unexpected.
The Testimonies of Russian and American Postmodern Poetry: Reference, Trauma, and History (Bloomsbury, 2014) is divided in half. The first part looks at 1970s/1980s Russian (Moscow) conceptual poetry and poetics, focussing on Dmitry Prigov and Lev Rubinstein (Rubinshtein) but also on the "meta-realists" Elena Schvarts and Alexi Parschikov (Arkadii Dragomoschenko is a key poet for this context, though not a main subject here). Artists Grisha Bruskin and Ilya Kabakov are also main subjects. The second part of the book makes an between both Moscow conceptualism and St. Petersburg metarealist poetry and the 1970s/1980s poetry/poetics associated with L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E. Lutzkanova-Vassileva offers detailed readings of Bob Perelman, Bruce Andrews Steve McCaffery, David Melnick, Ron Silliman, as well as my work. Lutzkanova-Vassileva also traces the connection to the Russian futurists (Shklovsky, Khelbinikov, Kruchenykh).
My note on N. H. Pritchard was originally published inDark Horses: Poets on Lost Poems, ed. Joy Katz and Kevin Prufer (University of Illinois Press, 2004), along with a poem by Pritchard. Eclipse has now added to its full text versions of both of Pritchard’s books a selection of his periodical and anthology publications. These are also linked at the EPC Digital Library. It is good to see so much more attention to Pritchard’s work than was the case a decade ago. So much of the poetry that captures today's attention is, to use of phrase of Pritchard, quoted by Ishmael Reed, “tangential to thought.” His is not.