Charles Bernstein

In the Encrypted Country of Syntax: An interview with Eduardo Espina by Romina Freschi

translated from Spanish by the author and friends

Eduardo Espina and Charles Bernstein, 2016

Eduardo Espina was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, and lives in Texas. Considered one of the most important and original poets of the Spanish language, he has published a dozen books of poetry and essays, among them, Valores Personales (1982), La caza nupcial (1993; 1997), La condición Milli Vanilli. Ensayos de dos siglos (2003), El cutis patrio (2006; 2009), and Historia Universal del Uruguay (2009). He has won the Premio Nacional de Ensayo of Uruguay twice for the books Las ruinas de lo imaginario, (1996) and Un plan de indicios (2000). In 1998 he received the Premio Municipal de Poesía, the most important poetry award in his country, for the book Deslenguaje. Doctoral theses have been written about his poetic works, and extensive academic articles have been published in prestigious academic journals. The Spanish linguist Enrique Mallen has published the book Con/figuración sintáctica: poesía del deslenguaje (Santiago de Chile: 2002), a comprehensive study of Espinas poetry, as well as Poesía del lenguaje: de T.S. Eliot a Eduardo Espina (Mexico City: 2008). Espina’s poetry is studied in universities in the Latin America, Europe, and United States, and his poems have been translated partially to English, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, German, Albanian, Chinese, and Croatian. He is included in more than 40 anthologies of international poetry. In 1980 he was the first Uruguayan writer invited to participate in the prestigious International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, and since then he resides in the USA. In 2010 he obtained the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. In 2015, Arte Publico Press published his book The Milli Vanilli Condition: Essays on Culture in the New Millennium

Ulla Dydo (1925–2017)

Ulla Dydo © 2009 by Star Black. Used by permission.

Ulla Dydo, the preeminent Gertrude Stein scholar of our time, died on September 10, 2017 in New York. 

Ursula Elisabeth Eder was born in Zurich on February 4, 1925. Her mother was Jeanne Eder-Schwyzer (1894–1957), a Swiss women’s rights activist and president of the International Council of Women. Her father was Professor Robert Eder (1885–1944). Dydo is survived by her wife, new music pianist Nurit Tilles (whom she met more than a decade ago); a son, Malcolm, from her first marriage to economist John Stephen Dydo (1922–2004) (whom she married in Manhattan in 1963 — the marriage dissolved within a decade); and a grandaughter. 

Dydo attended the University of Zurich (1944–45), where she majored in English, as well as University College, London (1946) and received an MA at Bryn Mawr in 1948. She attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison, from 1948 to 1952, getting her PhD in 1955. Her dissertation was on the poetry of Allen Tate. 

The swerve of verse: Lucretius' 'Of Things' Nature' and the necessity of poetic form

The de-versification of Lucretius -- treating it as prose -- is an unintended theme of the most famous contemporary account of Of Things' Nature, Stephen Greenblatt's The Swerve: How the World Became Modern (2011). Greenblatt begins The Swerve with an account of his youthful discovery of Lucretius through Martin Ferguson Smith's excellent prose translation. Greenblatt pretty much sticks to citing this prose version throughout his book, despite his nod to Dryden as the best for conveying Lucretius's "ardor" and also noting that he consulted all the translations. 

'we have sold our proper heritage for a pot of message’: A note on Morris Croll

Morris Croll (1872–1947)

I am interested in the way Croll’s account of the anti-Ciceronian or Baroque prose can be related to critiques of the “plain style” of expository prose that took force in his time and remains powerful in some ideologies of “composition.” The contrast of “plain style” or tight/correct expository “sentence” is the “loose” period (aka “libertine” thought of Montaigne and Ralais).

Morris Croll (1872–1947)

I am interested in the way Croll’s account of the anti-Ciceronian or Baroque prose can be related to critiques of the “plain style” of expository prose that took force in his time and remains powerful in some ideologies of “composition.” The contrast of “plain style” or tight/correct expository “sentence” is the “loose” period (aka “libertine” thought of Montaigne and Ralais).

Polish Journal for American Studies on Innovation in American Poetry.

Kaper Bartczak and Małgorzata Myk edited this issue on American poetry for the Polish Journal of American Studies: Ashbery, Peter Gizzi, Eileen Myles, Susan Howe / David Grubbs, Schuyler, Rankine, Christian Bök, McCaffery. Full text here.