Charles Bernstein

Pastorius's 'Beehive'

A few days ago, Peter Stallybrass  pointed me toward the digital edition of Francis Daniel Pastorius (1651-1719) work,  His Hive, Melliotrophium Alvear or, Rusca Apium, Begun Anno Do[mi]ni or, in the year of Christian Account 1696. This work is a compendium of various kinds of "found" lore, a sort of precursor to Walter Benjamin's Arcades project -- 

Pastorius' commonplace book, usually referred to as the Beehive manuscript (from Pastorius' prologue, p. 1), is a compendium and alphabetical digest of knowledge including inscriptions, epitaphs, proverbs, poetry, Biblical citations, theological citations, quotations, a list of books he read or knew, copies of letters, and notes on science, useful herbs and other plants.

The Beehive is a foundational work of  American poetics, even if few American poets know it. Key, as Peter pointed out to me, is the alphabetical index,  the third volume, which enables a reader to find items scattered through the work, which consists of three volume of about 1000 pages. Certainly the index makes for a stellar, uncanny, found poem, more resonant for contemporary readers than Pastorius's own poetry. 

'Denken dat ik denk dat ik denk'

Denken dat ik denk dat ik denk: Dutch translations by Ton Van 't Hof, Sarah Posman en Samuel Vriezen, now out from Stanza. Cover painting by Susan Bee.

'Short Course' by Ted Greenwald and Charles Bernstein, new from Chax Press

First publication from The Course, a collaboration I have been working on with Ted Greenwald since July. A beautiful edition from Chax, the book includes "Breaking News" ("Séance in triple meter"); "As You Know" ("Wishful clouds / Kind of affection / Scoop out night); "Still Life with Thought" ("Venuses, desperate"); "Too Late for Tears" ("It’s not the intent it’s the effect / Matters")' "Silent Seething" ("Not we, even more slowly, but you."); and "White Lightning" ("Hotdog bungees").

Patricia Spears Jones on Close Listening

photo: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Patricia Spears Jones talks with Charles Bernstein about her new selected poems, the influence of the blues and the pentecostal church (and sonnets) on her poems, her conversation with popular songs,  her sense of communities and ideal readers, the performance of her work, her "contrarian" broadsides on politics and culture, and her persistent commitment to beauty.

MP3 (38:18): MP3

Naomi Replansky on Close Listening with Charles Bernstein and Al Filreis

photo: ©2016, Charles Bernstein / PennSound

Naomi Replansky discusses hearing Gertrude Stein as a teenager, her friendship with Bertolt Brecht, the tension between her Communist affiliations and her poetry, her early publication and subsequent review in Poetry magazine, her life as a poet on the margins of the poetry world, and her reaction to the changes she has seen living 98 years. 

Full program (54:29): MP3