L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E interview

Matthew Hofer and Michael Golston interview Bruce Andrews and Charles Bernstein (2015)

Matthew Hofer and Michael Golston interview Bruce Andrews and Charles Bernstein for The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Letters (2019). This interview was part of the University of New Mexico book and is made available here with permission of the press. The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Letters is one of three volume edited by Hofer and Golston and published by University of New Mexico Press. The other two volumes are the complete facsimile edition of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E (2020) and the collaborative poem LEGEND (2020) by Andrews, Bernstein, Ron Silliman, Ray DiPalma, and Steve McCaffery. Each of these editions including extensive notes and commentaries by the editors. 

Michael Golston and Matthew Hofer with Bruce Andrews and Charles Bernstein

This interview — which has been edited, reworked, and combined into a single document — is derived from separate conversations with Bruce Andrews and Charles Bernstein during the week of March 29, 2015.

On Poetic Thinking and Possibilities of Contact in the Early to Mid-1970s

BA: There’s not a lot of thinking going on in poetry, let’s face it. 

MG: But in poetics there is.

BA: Well, I don’t know, in the beginning it’s stuff in your notebooks — the primary place is in notebooks — or, in my case, it was often in defending my work to editors who were puzzled by it —

MG: In letters.

BA: — in letters, yes. My only contact with the poetry world when I was a political science graduate student (1971–75) was magazines. If I didn’t have an address for somebody, I wasn’t able to write to them; so I would submit. I was very aggressive about submitting my work everywhere. I was sending work out to dozens and dozens and dozens of magazines during that whole period, and that was a lot of it: an editor would ask some questions, and you’d expand. So when I’m digging through my early 1970s correspondence, a lot of it is with nobodies who happen to be editing some small magazine or contentious discussions with more conservative poets I was friendly with.

CB: Ron was the first person from those who would become my poetry friends with whom I had a correspondence. I wasn’t in touch with many poets in 1973: no one from college, no old friends. At Simon Fraser University, near Vancouver, I met Robin Blaser. And I wrote to Jerry Rothenberg, who put me in touch with Ron. Bruce and I met in 1975 — it was unbelievable because I had been reading Habermas’s Knowledge and Human Interests and the Frankfurt School, and he, of course, is phenomenally knowledgeable about this area of work. Here was a poet who had read and was interested and could understand what the Frankfurt School was doing, what the dispute between Gadamer and Habermas was about, let’s say. I’m not sure that particular one was Bruce’s thing, but that was a great interest of mine, early on. I think Steve was the first person who mentioned Derrida to me, in 1975–76. Steve was much more gung ho for Derrida than was I, but nonetheless that was the first that I’d heard about him. There was a burgeoning group. I didn’t know many of them at the time, but in retrospect you can see the connections starting to be made. Ron always said one finds readers one at a time, and it did seem to work that way.

BA: We were outsiders on the publishing front, other than a couple magazines by the time we get to 1974–75 — later than that even — that were seemingly dedicated to experimental poetry. Up until then there’s nothing. There was 0 TO 9, there was some of the things that Kostelanetz did back in the early 1970s, but there were no magazines dedicated to experimental writing, experimental poetry. So we would always end up as the fringe figures in some magazine that was more conventional. I used to get the directory of little magazines and notice who’s publishing Eigner, who’s publishing Coolidge, and, if they were, then, “Oh, OK, I’ll send them my work, I’ll send them my work instead of buying the magazine” [laughter]. No, no, they’re just instrumentalized places to get your work published. And that didn’t change much — in fact, it’s never changed much.

On the Origin of Language-Centered Collaboration

CB: Jerome Rothenberg responded to a letter I wrote him in 1973 and said, “Be in touch with Ron Silliman.” Then Ron included something I said in my letter to him in The Dwelling Place, the 1975 mini-anthology that was in Alcheringa. Ron had already finished the anthology when I wrote him, but in his commentary he mentions my term for Gertrude Stein’s writing — “wordness.” So that was a crucial point of contact. After that I had an extensive correspondence with Ron. That was the fundamental correspondence with another poet of my generation. The next year, after we moved from Vancouver to Santa Barbara, Susan and I drove up to San Francisco, and I knocked on the door of Ron’s house, where he was living with Barry Watten, and Ron came down to meet me, and then he took me to a nearby bar where Tom Clark’s younger brother John was playing. I never liked bars with loud music, but there it was. We could hardly hear one another. Barry, in the first volume of The Grand Piano, recounts the story of my knocking on the door:

I do not remember the day N– visited the apartment Ron and I shared at Seventeenth and Missouri in 1974. There was someone at the door. Who was that, I asked? Oh, some guy who came up from Santa Barbara because he was interested in my work. What do you think of him? I’m not sure. What could such a visitation have meant to either of us at the time?[1]

He doesn’t use my name — he calls me “N-.”

MG: Because, he’s … ?

CB: I can’t give a motivation. To use a title of one of Barry’s books, I am under erasure. He goes on to talk about “a moment of othering.” It would be very difficult for anybody reading The Grand Piano to realize that I was that “some guy who came up from Santa Barbara.” Barry continues the passage with an anecdote about meeting “N–” again in New York in 1976 — and our having a heated discussion that turned on whether my writing could be compared with his. I held that it could be. He disagreed.[2]

On Groups, Communities, and the Problems of (Delayed) Collaboration across (Great) Distances

MG: Here again, the problem is this group designation.

CB: Yeah, although I will always have this inconsistently anti-group view, and I was not alone in expressing skepticism about group formation at the time. I think on the West Coast, the poets —

MG: Functioned more like a group.

CB: Yes. It was a significantly larger social context. In New York, our numbers were small, but we also felt close to Steve McCaffery in Toronto and poets in Washington, DC. You could say we were engaging in, as I say now, midrashic antinomianism: there was no doctrine. Affinity and resonance brought us into conversation, not doctrine.

MH: Which is why the letters make so much sense; if you can’t be local, you can’t be a group.

BA: I don’t remember corresponding with anybody in New York, other than submitting poems to magazines. I didn’t have the sense that there was anybody who was poetically inclined in a discursive, expository way, who I really wanted to be in touch with to talk about these things. It was like we were starting something new — we had something new going on. There was a couple of magazines, there was Tottel’s that Ron was doing. There was This. Hills was a little bit later. Big Deal was the first magazine in New York that was relevant to us, and that was edited by Barbara Baracks, who moved to New York I think in 1973 or 1974. She’s one of the first poets I met because she came through Cambridge to meet me. And we had a little correspondence I think.

CB: In San Francisco, the poets I knew had a sense of being recognized players in the culture of the city. They were more visible — when I went to the Bay Area in those days, I felt like I was somebody instead of the nobody I was in New York. Come on, let’s face it (to echo Budd Schulberg’s great lines). My friends in the Bay Area had made a big splash there — their contemporaries and the older generation of poets noticed. We didn’t really have that here. There was little or no contention with the larger literary communities in New York because we were hardly noticeable and probably not worth bothering about, beyond the reflective swat, as to a pesky mosquito. But things were changing, especially with James Sherry’s Roof, and then Ted Greenwald and I starting the Ear Inn series in 1978.

On Similarities and Differences among Language-Centered Writers

CB: In the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E period we didn’t have the same views or the same interests. We may have shared a certain set of things we didn’t like, but we didn’t necessarily share an approach to writing or have a unified set of poetic preferences. So in this sense, the structure was different than a traditional literary movement, which has a set of principles. There was a set of issues and concerns that we wanted to address, and there were kinds of poetic practice that many of us thought were uninteresting. There was a shared set of dislikes. But otherwise there was a lot of intellectual disagreement, which you see in the letters too. The letters operated not to formulate a shared position but to allow for conversation outside the then dominant views about poetry and poetics.

BA: If there was such a thing as the group, the extended group of so-called Language poets, then there would be some things in common that they would all have, but lots of things that they wouldn’t. Then if you look at L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E magazine, where we’re publishing about two hundred people, I think, in the whole full run, those people often don’t have anything in common. Some of them were stuck in there as transitional figures. We did a featurette, I did, on Rosmarie Waldrop, we did one on Eigner or Coolidge, and we did people, like Stein, who would clearly not be the small cluster of people that would get known in history books as the Language writers. So we were spreading out in that way. Was there a L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E magazine community? No. Was there a Language poet community? To some degree, but everybody was very testy about that. People didn’t want to be labeled, or they didn’t want other people to get that label, or they didn’t think they deserved it. So it’s tricky, community is a tricky thing, especially because this wasn’t face to face. Usually you think of communities as people who know each other face to face.

CB: We were seeking common ground in editing the magazine: putting forward specific poets and specific approaches to poetry. The effort might seem more cohesive just because of how ferociously our poetics were rejected outside our immediate circles. And then it turned out we weren’t so far out on a limb — turns out we galvanized a powerful alternative that was otherwise not visible. People started coming out of the shadows—both historically in our collective research but also among our contemporaries. L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E was a probe: it was the start of something, not the conclusion. It was the beginning of fleshing out connections and affinities that none of us could have been aware of at the time. So our community wasn’t just collaborative in the Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland sense of “let’s do something together”; it was also predicated on intellectual disagreement, dissensus. Ron was very contestatory about any number of things, but he was so open and specific that it made it a thrill to write to him. Bruce too. Bruce and I didn’t have the same views or dispositions — that’s what kept our collaboration edgy, or let’s say we kept each other on edge.

On the Structure of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Magazine

CB: I like the term constellation, from Walter Benjamin. Constellations are not necessarily fixed and you can find new patterns that emerge among the array of particulars. And also a single particular can be part of more than one constellation. Collage, mosaic, tendency — these are other terms that might open up the idea of a poetry constellation. That’s why it was for us possible to see a connection with a poet with whom we had no prior connection, with whom there was no history of affiliation. Or in the years after to acknowledge that this poet or that was doing work acutely relevant, even if we didn’t know that work at the time.

In the magazine, we were bringing together people who had a reciprocal interest in what we were doing, who we knew on the ground, but also brought in people without that, who in retrospect might seem as if they were always already part of our context. Elective affinities. Eigner was very important to all of us in the main group, but put Eigner next to Mac Low, nobody had done that. Bruce and I certainly understood Eigner and Mac Low to be crucial; you bring these two together and they make perfect sense in terms of this nonsensuous similarity or affinity. Because it was collaborative, it’s almost like a museum exhibit. It wasn’t meant to be ongoing, we weren’t covering the field of poetry, we were trying to put together a set of things that came together. The juxtaposition makes the sense, not some prior history of association or aesthetic, which would in this case keep them separate (projectivism versus Fluxus, say). By the Open Letter, the fourth issue, in which we had the longer pieces, we had done what we had to do and it was sufficient. We didn’t want to start to publish full-length essays.

BA: The pieces that were originally short little articles in L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E magazine that looked like they could’ve been expanded from letters — which some of them were — then turns into this sort of transitional phase of more academicized, longer essays. There’s more of that in Poetics Journal than we ever had. If you compare L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E magazine to Poetics Journal, you can begin to see the effect of academia. They’re networking in academic ways that we were not. That, and also the lack of academic protocol being followed. It’s not an MLA paper, it’s not the publication guidelines for footnoting, or that shit, you know.

On the Role of Written Correspondence and Networking in the Formation of Language-Centered Writing and L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Magazine

CB: I remember that was a very specific conversation that Bruce and I had. We noticed that you get letters and that the letters were more interesting than anything you would see in print. There’s no question about that. I mean I’m trying not to be figurative.

BA: So those are two things: the letter stuff, and our use of the letters as editors to try to reach out to a wider range of people, just to have coverage of certain things, which was very difficult to do.

CB: We would open up, in that sense, conversation through letters. It’s about dialogue, it’s about bringing things together that are not normally brought together and people and ideas that did not know each other. Now that can sound like a common form of eclectic editing, but this was the opposite of that: we were always looking for something that was relevant to our specific focus; we weren’t interested in variety but in connections. L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E was much more of a collage or an exhibition that Bruce and I created by cutting things out from letters and published works and mixing them with commissioned pieces and submissions. And it worked because now it looks as if it was an expression of something that existed before.

MH: So through the correspondence model you aimed to develop a fresh kind of networking — maybe closer to curating? 

CB: If you want to talk about networking for us, it’s not networking as people mean in sharing contact information. It’s the bringing together of a network in a sense of a mapping of works that fit the criteria of what interested us — works that were addressing those issues in some way. We wanted to go beyond that habitual grouping, geographically and conceptually, and to bring in pieces of the mosaic we were making from poetics, politics, philosophy, and art. It isn’t surprising that Bruce and I had an interest in political economy and philosophy as much as literature or literary criticism.

On the Duplication/Circulation of Letters prior to L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Magazine as an Alternative to Conventional Critical Pieces

BA: Yeah, that happened some. Like if I said something interesting about a book, or if I said something interesting about my poetics to person X and then somebody else asked me the same thing, I’d say, “Well, I just have this paragraph here. I’ll xerox it and send it to you; I explained this yesterday or last week to somebody; or, I just got this letter from so-and-so with a fascinating paragraph talking about this,” and dah-dah-dah. That happened prior to the magazine, but it also happened after the magazine, so we would get a hundred words in a letter talking about somebody’s book, and we would say, “Perfect, could you just blow this up a little bit? Give us three hundred words on the same topic, and then we’ll publish it.” There was a little bit of that going on, in addition to sharing the correspondence, because I think Charles and I — it sure was true of Ron — were probably corresponding or in minimal correspondence with a hundred people each, and different people. So it just got a little crazy, and you’re just repeating yourself, and, you know, there was a little bit of that.

CB: So you get these letters, yes, we did actually xerox and exchange them, like samizdat; there was no other way to get this information. So that’s what we also thought to publish. I liked the immediacy of the style of the letters, because I did not like expository writing — especially reviews — and, for me, one of the most crucial things about L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E was trying to find alternatives to expository writing and critical writing and scholarly writing. So I think the immediacy, jotting, stuff like that, was crucial.

BA: Reviews are celebrating or promoting, or they’re self-promoting, or they’re talking about how something works, the procedures that make up a piece. They’re not evaluative. I’ve never written an evaluative book review in my whole life. I’ve never written a negative book review, for instance, right? The idea would never occur to me. But this is what academic critics want: “Why don’t you people attack each other more, why don’t you write more negative reviews?” Even though I have real hostile attitudes toward thousands and thousands of poets [laughter], you’ll never see that in print.

 On Editorial Practice: The Formal Dynamics of the Letter

BA: We generally didn’t do a lot of asking for revision except for length, because we published only very short things. We wanted to have a lot of variety and we didn’t want big academic papers. We wanted these little short things, so that’s probably related to the correspondence too. The letter quality is there — the length is crucial.

 MG: And the constraints are very much the constraints of a letter in some kind of a way.

CB: That’s true. Short, not a waste of time, no going in —

MG: Pithy. Immediacy, no footnotes —

CB: And informal.

MH: What about the idea of a letter that persuades or a letter that defends? Earlier we were talking about this in relation to editors and more conservative poets, but I assume there are times even with people who think largely as you do when you’re in a position to defend things —

BA: Yeah, you talk about why you like person X, or you say, “Really? You’re reading that person? What the fuck, hold on.”

MH: And you just have to let it go or mount your argument, right?

BA: Yeah, or just mount your contempt. Just spew your bile, or just act really skeptical about what they’re into, and this would be also about people writing about the movies they’re going to, the records they’re listening to. My letters back and forth with Ron are filled with that stuff — and stuff about politics too.

MG: And it’s also information exchanged in those kinds of ways.

BA: Yeah, a lot of that.

On Editorial Policy: Coherence and Diversity

BA: We beat the bushes to figure out who we wanted to ask. We had very, very little unsolicited material come in. We only did it for a couple of years, and it was very low profile. We published a couple hundred copies, small number of subscribers. It was never reviewed. There was never any big featurette in the Village Voice or any kind of magazine. I don’t even know how people heard about it, by and large. It wasn’t even like a poetry magazine you could get into bookstores as easily. So we made rosters of topics — what we wanted to have written about — then we made rosters of people who we’d like to have writing, and then we’d match them up.

CB: What’s interesting about L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E is that, in the end, we made a strong case for something that was otherwise not being put forward and we found that a lot of people were interested. And it holds up surprisingly well partly because of our collaboration, which was a very good one because — as you can see, we were as different then as now — we’re very different personalities. And Bruce, really, had a much stricter sense of the collaboration, which I think was what made it great. I attribute this to him, which was that if we didn’t both agree something worked then we weren’t going to do it. It had to meet our criteria, which was painful to me at times. I would say, “We’re missing all this other worthwhile stuff” — or someone we like personally — and he would say, “Well, yes, you’re missing it, but what is there that would fit our criteria?” You’d have to find something that would fit our criteria that couldn’t just be like putting together a conference program or including something completely different because it was current or had a social but not aesthetic relevance, at least as best we could determine at the time.

MG: So it was done by invitation.

BA: Pretty much, pretty much. I’d say 80 percent or 90 percent was solicited by us, rather than coming in. A poetry magazine will get lots of unsolicited material once they get their address out there.

CB: Ann Vickery’s Leaving Lines of Gender argues there was male domination, and she focuses on Ron’s relationship with Lyn as if Ron were somehow patronizing to Lyn, whereas I think their relationship was an exchange of equals and friends.[3] But one of the issues here is that you do have men talking to men. Steve said, about LEGEND, “There weren’t any women who would have been willing to collaborate with us.” It’s problematic perhaps, but not completely untrue, at least for me as the youngest person in that group. In retrospect it seems like so many people would want to work with us. But in my mid-twenties there were very few interested. I had published my own first two books. And of course we self-published both L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E and LEGEND.

On the Development and Expression of “Interest”

CB: We were eggheads, and, as I was saying, who would want to work with us? Now it might look different, but there was much more “we’re trying to get people interested” for Bruce and me in New York, where there wasn’t a scene in the way there was in San Francisco. Even with the Ear Inn and all the things that I organized at it, we really were trying to find. … The idea that we would exclude somebody. … We literally would take somebody out to dinner just to, say, buy them a drink. Our context here was if people came to a reading and they were interested and we didn’t know them, we’d say, “Happy to have somebody interested!”

MG: It’s so funny because I remember the first time I met you. I heard the reading and ran into you at Moe’s Books on Telegraph, and I said, “You don’t know who I am, but I just wanted to say that it was a fantastic reading.” And you stopped what you were doing and said, “Who are you?” And I said, “I’m just — I’m not even — I’m nobody. …” And you said, “What’s your name? Who are you and why are you interested in this stuff? 

CB: That is very accurate to the way I was. That’s my personality at that time, and it comes out partly because of my personality in general, but it also comes out of this very specific circumstance in which there wasn’t anybody interested. For L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E magazine — and at UCSD you can see that I made a little card for each subscriber—I did preserve the names. There was a little file box. There were originally two hundred subscribers for four dollars for the six issues of the first series. We located two hundred people internationally.

BA: I think the real opportunity for people to get excited about this kind of poetry writing — leave the essay stuff aside for a second — is their already having developed a boredom and a lack of interest in what’s already out there, and what’s dominant, and what’s hegemonic. My sense of that developed out of the jazz world. That was what modern jazz was all about. It literally made you bored with the previous generation, so that when you heard Charlie Parker you said, “Ah, those Johnny Hodges records, they’re lovely, but they’re just not where we’re at right now.”

MG: And then you heard Ornette Coleman, and that kind of did that.

BA: Yeah, exactly. “Ah, maybe I’ll get rid of those Horace Silver albums” after I heard Cecil Taylor. That was always my image, because that’s the image I got from the avant-garde art world, the avant-garde film world. When this stuff comes out it’s going to agitate you and volatilize you to the point where your tastes change, and all of a sudden you can’t just say, “Oh, I love all kinds of poetry, I like this, and I like this, and, now, I also like so-called Language poetry.” No. You have to say, “There’s a new place in my spectrum because I’ve dropped the first one, and now I can put something at the end, like I’m not going to read Auden anymore, or Merwin, or, I don’t know, Anne Sexton.” It’s different from the essay writing, you see, because there was no prior essay-type writing in the poetics vein that you had to get bored with in order to appreciate what we were doing.

On the Potential Effect of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E in Displacing the Thinking That Had Been Taking Place in Letters

BA: Sure, yeah, but you would have had to do that even after the magazine started, because it wasn’t like people were getting published all the time in the magazine, and they were very specific: I’m going to write a little essay on Rosmarie Waldrop, or I’m going to write a piece on John Wieners, or I’m going to write a piece in the politics issue. So, no, that didn’t just give you this freewheeling chance to just blab about your poetics and your excitements and what you are enthusiastic about.

CB: The argument I would make now is that L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E magazine was not a representation of an already existing aesthetic or a preexisting group of people but rather a collage of people who didn’t necessarily know each other, ideas that had not necessarily been put together, and it was not a montage — where I make that distinction — but a collage, a juxtaposition of things that Bruce and I could both together see.

MG: Which is what happened in letters.

BA: I think, and also in conversation. By the time people all moved to these towns, you became much more involved in conversations then with dozens and dozens of people locally in several fields. And so we’re hanging out with filmmakers and hanging out with musicians and choreographers and painters and we’re having conversations more than we’re writing letters. Charles is doggedly writing a thousand letters to a thousand people so the empire goes on for him, but I didn’t do that as much. I started becoming a bad correspondent, which I’ve continued to be for the last thirty years. I refer to it as epistolary aphasia. That used to be my constant: “My apologies for my epistolary aphasia.”

On Cultural Conflict in Letters and in Public

BA: We were carving out a space, and that required us to jettison all these people who we found outrageously overrated and not interesting and holding everything back and clearly devoting themselves to holding things back and not articulating why they thought they were better than other people. Sometimes they would trash us in ways that were interesting, like we hated emotion, or we don’t have any personality, or we’re just reductive theorists cranking out imitations of our French role models. So we’d get a little sense of what the hostility comes from.

MH: Did you ever find it useful? Was there something that you could get traction against to respond, or something that you could think through to reposition —

BA: They ruled the roost, so they didn’t feel the need to explain why this cozy, heart-warming lyric was going to be good, as compared to something that was disjunct or didn’t have a narrative or didn’t have a clear-cut persona. They could just hammer their students with it, and they could win all the prizes and get laudatory book reviews about how nice beautiful line endings were.

MG: So this is still going on.

BA: Of course, but they never lay it out, and that’s always bothered me and still does. We didn’t do a lot of trashing of the opposite camp because we were very vulnerable. We generally were being trashed by everybody older than us in the poetry world, with just a few exceptions, just a few.

 On the Reasons for Ending L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Magazine

BA: One of the reasons — this is what we talked about at the time — that we decided to stop doing the magazine was because we got the sense a lot of the people were just sniffing around the poetics. All these academics were interested in our essay-theorizing but not in the books we were talking about, so they’re not going out and buying these books: here’s the address, here’s the very modest price, what’s wrong with you? You know, this is what we’re about, we’re not writing manifestos to get English Department jobs. No, we’re interested in this material getting out, that’s why we did the distribution service, that’s what it was like. Even though it wasn’t a poetry magazine, the focus of it was a certain set of possibilities for radical poetry writing.

CB: There was a lot of pushback in the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E days that the essays were more interesting than the poetry, and that could have been irritating (and was). I’m not concerned about that now, but I remember at the time it was very visceral. But if you think about it with regard to Bruce, I think he wanted to do his massive poetic works, but he did publish a collection of essays. Steve has gone on to do several essay books. Ron did all that blog stuff in addition to “The New Sentence.” I did my essay books and edited collections but also the websites. Other people went on in different directions. I see L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E as being a core for all that.

MH: Might the publication of these letters successfully lead readers back to the poems, either the books that were written then or those that are still being written by you, say, now?

 BA: Maybe, it might lead them back. What I hope will be the case — and this is what’s characteristic of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E magazine — is that it’s a broad snapshot of the scene, of the context, of the poetry community or the poetry world. The small press world of the early 1970s is fascinating and complicated. When we were in the midst of it, we thought that there’s going to be a number of competing, fascinating tendencies in the American poetry world that, in retrospect, will be talked about, will be really valuable. And then it turned out that that just wasn’t true. It turns out that there was nothing, there was nothing, we were it. It’s like that was all there fucking was.

[1] See Barrett Watten, “VII,” in The Grand Piano: An Experiment in Collective Autobiography, San Francisco, 1975–80, part 3 (Detroit, MI: Mode A, 2006), 100–101. In his section of the memoir, Watten provides names of more than two dozen people; in place of Bernstein's name he uses"“N–.” He also mentions L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E by name here, contrasting it to the concept of language in poetry: “What is the relation of this moment to the concept of language? The moment when the turn to the other becomes one of totalizing abstraction, evidently” (ibid.).

[2] See also Bernstein’s letter to Watten of July 17, 1977.

[3] See, for example, Andrews’s letters to Hejinian of July 29, 1977, and October 9, 1977.