Please buy the book directly from the publisher, University of Chicago Press, or a local bookstore, including Bridge Street Books, SemCoop, Talking Leaves, Indiebound, McNally-Jackson, and Bookshop.Org.
176 pages, paper and ebook. Audiobook is from Chicago and Amazon/Aubible.
Video and radio launches
••Rain Taxi video launch with Tonya Foster, orignally broadcast May 18: YouTube
••SemCoop / By the Book video launch with Craig Dworkin, April 29 (YouTube)
••boundary 2 launch, moderated by Paul Bové, with Yunte Huang (US), Abigal Lang (France), and Runa Bandyopadhyay (India)
••With Chris Funkhauser at Poet Ray’d Yo, WQXC, radio, archive of April 22 broadcast (60 min)
••Jeremy Sigler, “The Yid and Yang of of Poet Charles Bernstein,” Tablet (April 26, 2021)
••Runa Bandyopadhyay, “Reverter a inversão: topsy-turvy, o novo livro de Charles Bernstein,” (Portuguese): Sibila (2021) [English forthcoming]
••Thomas Fink in conversation with Charles Bernstein on Topsy-Turvy at Dichtung Yammer.
••Jefferson Hanson, “Tribute to the Critic of Tone Jam: Remarks Off Bernstein’s Topsy-Turvy,” Altered States
••Runa Bandyopadhyay, on “Twelve-Year Horoscope” at Sybil
••Paul Bove on “Echologs” at Harvard Univ. Press blog
••Julia Fiedorczuk on "The Darkness He Called Night" -- Przekro (Poland), in English and Polish.
The Bookseller: “Not set out to be a book about the pandemic, this rowdy collection of poems, performances and translations nevertheless speaks volumes about the upside-down world we have all found ourselves living in.”
In his most expansive and unruly collection to date, the acclaimed poet Charles Bernstein gathers poems, both tiny and grand, that speak to a world turned upside down. Our time of “covidity,” as Bernstein calls it in one of the book’s most poignantly disarming works, is characterized in equal measure by the turbulence of both the body politic and the individual. Likewise, in Topsy-Turvy, novel and traditional forms jostle against one another: horoscopes, shanties, and elegies rub up against gags, pastorals, and feints; translations, songs, screenplays, and slapstick tangle deftly with commentaries, conundrums, psalms, and prayers.
Though Bernstein’s poems play with form, they incorporate a melancholy, even tragic, sensibility. This “cognitive dissidence,” as Bernstein calls it, is reflected in a lyrically explosive mix of pathos, comedy, and wit, though the reader is kept guessing which is which at almost every turn. Topsy-Turvy includes an ode to the New York City subway and a memorial for Harpers Ferry hero Shields Green, along with collaborations with artists Amy Sillman and Richard Tuttle. This collection is also full of other voices: Pessoa, Geeshie Wiley, Friedrich Rückert, and Rimbaud; Carlos Drummond, Virgil, and Brian Ferneyhough; and even Caudio Amberian, an imaginary first-century aphorist.
These poems, performances, and translations are oddly prescient, marking a path through dark times with a politically engaged form of aesthetic resistance: We must “Continue / on, as / before, as / after.”