Charles Bernstein

Michael Golston: Improbable history — Jennifer Ashton's misrepresentations

Jennifer Ashton,  From Modernism to Postmodernism: American Poetry and Theory in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005). [Michael Golston's review was originally published in the William Carlos Williams Review, Volume 28, Number 1-2, Spring/Fall 2008. Reprinted by permission of the author.]

I once had the good fortune to take a course with U.C. Berkeley’s Julian Boyd on the history of the English language. Occasionally, as a student in the class struggled with the finer points of deontic modality or the differences between “shall” and “will,” Boyd would suddenly glare at whomever was speaking and announce with mock sternness, “You are exactly wrong.” 


 That’s how I feel about Jennifer Ashton’s book.

Calling a Koons a Koons

Little Mermaid Koons {poetics lab simulation]

 Allegorical micturition has swept
the guest halls of the art galleries
and the undermasses
wail in the background to iambic
beat. Sludge is proclaimed sludge,
hairdos hors d’oeuvres, as the soiled
face of inverted cardioerasty—a.k.a.
genital fetish—rears its mushy brow.
––from “Ambliopia” in The Sophist (1987)

 The Jeff Koons retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art is to big art shows what The Little Mermaid is to big Broadway musicals: bright, breezy, and tuneless. Koons's art is a product of the Disnification of Warhol (and decidedly not the other way around). The show is worthwhile seeing as a monument to the most commercially successful aspects of the New York art market. As with the proverbial Chinese restaurant, with food shot up with MSG, you leave the show aesthetically hungry.

Crazy of Objects (Veil) (1999/2014): new audio work

waveform veil

A new audio work, "Crazy of Objects (Veil) (1999/2014)," which overlays my 1999 Vancouver reading. 8 minutes and 22 seconds:

MP3 (stereo)
WAV (4 tracks) 

"Waveform Veil" overlays the waveform of the audio 4-track audio file. 

Eric Mottram at PennSound

[at Segue:]

1) May 13, 1984: James Sherry's Loft, Hosted by Charles Bernstein for International Committee for Poetry (1:27): MP3

[at SUNY-Buffalo Poetics Program:]

2) October 8, 1992: Lecture on Hugh Macdiarmid in Charles Bernstein's seminar (second of three lectures; others on Bunting and Jones) (01:34:58): MP3

3) November 2, 1992: Conversation with Robert Creeley (tape begins after start) (1:31): MP3

4) September  23, 1992: Poetry reading, introduction by Robert Creeley, hosted by Charles Bernstein (1:03:55): MP3

Yona Wallach (June 10, 1944 – September 29, 1985)

In the June 10 Haaritz, Linda Zisquit writes: "Had Yona Wallach survived the breast cancer that she chose not to treat – and that ultimately killed her in 1985 – she would have been 70 years old on June 10. Wallach, a controversial diva of Hebrew poetry, attracted censure, admirers and lovers for her eroticism, blasphemy and experimental Hebrew. She is best known for provocative works with fluid gender boundaries like “Jonathan,” from her first book, “Things” (1966); and “Tefillin,” from “Wild Light” (1983), in which a female speaker imagines donning phylacteries in a violent sexual context." (Zisquit translated Wild Light, a selection of Wallach's poems for Sheep Meadow Press published in 1997.) (Tefillin are used in Jewish prayer: two small leather cases containing portions of the Torah , which are wrapped with straps on the forehead and the left arm.)