Charles Bernstein

Gertrude Stein in pictures

from LIFE magazine, August 6, 1945

Wanda Corn and  Tirza True Latimer's  Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories (the catalog and exhibition) makes a compelling case for Stein as the genius (or possibly genie) behind the many portraits of her, which Corn sees as a striking act of self-fashioning – creating a remarkably legible body of work, popular and iconic, to accompany her allegedly illegible writing. Before hearing Corn's lecture in Paris last year, as part of the Stein Collects show, I hadn't thought of the portraits as a discrete body of work. But now I am convinced that Stein recognized the significance of the photographs, paintings, and sculptures for putting into views a set of identities that are as much a part of her work as The Making of Americans. With that in mind, Corn was able to identify distinct sets of images and it is apparent that Stein recomposed her image over her lifetime. There has been a fair amount written about Stein as celebrity. What interests me here, though, is something slightly different: Stein as image fabricator, who used the portrait as a way of supplementing her writing (in a similar way to how The Autobiography works in tandem with its looking glass other,  "Stanzas in Meditation").   Stein was acutely engaged with verbal portraiture, from her early word portraits on (and in the Making of Americans as well). These images, created for widely different purposes by many different artists and journalists, became, for Stein, portraits by other means.

The  Stein portraits collection by Renate Stendhal is the pioneering work on this subject. It  has many more photos than are presented here or are otherwise on-line and which established the significance of this body of work.

Attack of the Difficult Translations

Der Hammer, a publication from Vienna's Alte Schmiede, has just published this issue of German translations, including multiple versions of "Johnny Cake Hollow" – a preview of a book in the works from Edition Korrespondenzen, translated by Peter Waterhouse, Katharine Apostle and the Versatorium crew at the University of Vienna, Comparative Literature program. Video of our Alte Schmiede reading was posted her last month.

pdf of the 8 page folio here

Gerrit Lansing on Close Listening

photos and video by Ernesto Livon-Grosman

Program One:
Gerrit Lansing reads selections from his collected poems, The Heavenly Tree / Northern Earth (North Atlantic, 2009)
(26:40): MP3

Program Two:

(55:43): MP3
Gerrit Lansing talks with Charles Bernstein, and guest Susan Howe, at Lansing’s house in Gloucester, Mass. Lansing, a close friend of Charles Olson, discusses the wild of Gloucester, the relation of the magic (and the magical) and the occult to poetic practice, Nerval, queer politics and the poetics identity, New York in the immediate postwar period, parapsychology at Harvard in the late 1940s, Gnosticism versus neo-Platonism, Jewish mysticism, and his connections with Henry Murray, Harry Smith, Alan Watts, Aleister Crowley, Carl Jung, and John Ashbery.