Posts Tagged ‘ Charles Bernstein ’

Zeitgeist Spam: Strike!



Strike because the sky turns gray just before it blacks out.

Strike because when you were little your father told you too many lies.

Strike because the surf is up.

Strike because you are heartsick …

Strike because things can’t go on this way any longer.

Strike because the thugs have replaced the thugs.

Strike because every grain of sand tells you the universe is an open field of infinite possibility.

Strike because you’re sick & tired of bait & switch.

Strike because your grief overwhelms you and the other option is to sit at home and stare at a screen.

                    -Charles Bernstein

Source: Zeitgeist Spam: Strike!

PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine – Procuring Poetryafter Carlos Drummond de Andrade (1945) after John Yau and Michael Palmer – Charles Bernstein – PN Review 247

Procuring Poetry

after Carlos Drummond de Andrade (1945) after John Yau and Michael Palmer

Charles Bernstein

No fake verses about what’s going on.
No creation or death before poetry.
Compared to which, life’s a static sun,
with no heat or illumination.
Affinities, anniversaries, personal anecdotes – don’t matter.
No fake poetry with the body,
an excellent, complete and comfortable body – senseless for poetry.

Your spleen, your fits of pleasure or pain in the dark – make no difference.
Don’t share with me your feelings,
which reek of equivocation and beat around the bush.
What you think and feel, that is not yet poetry.

No singing about your city – leave it in peace.
Songs aren’t machine music or family secrets;
and they’re not music heard in passing
nor rumors of the sea on streets lined with spume.

Song’s not nature
or community.
Storm and light, fatigue, fright – are of no importance for song.
Poetry – no taking poetry from things! –
elides subject and object.

No dramatising, no invocations,
no nagging. No wasted time lying.
No belaboring.
Your ivory yacht, your diamond slippers,
your manias and mazurkas, your family skeletons,
disappear in time’s tunnels, worthless.

No reworking
your buried and melancholy childhood.
No oscillating between mirror and
disappearing memories.
What disappeared wasn’t poetry.
What broke was no crystal.

Penetrate, with stealth, words’ dominion.
Poems are waiting to be written.
They are paralysed but without despair.
Calm, fresh, membrane intact.
Mute and brute, immaculate as a dictionary.

Let the poem live within you, then write it.
Be patient with obscurity. Calm down when provoked.
Wait for each poem to become real, consummated
with the power of words
and the power of silence.

No forcing a poem out of limbo.
No picking a lost poem off the floor.
No adulating a poem. Accept it
like it accepts its concrete form concentrated
in space.

Each one
has a thousand secret faces under the surface
that ask you, without interest in the reply –
bad or worse – that you devise:
Did you bring the key?

bereft of melody and conceit,
words, still humid, pregnant in sleep,
hide in the night, tumbling in a difficult river
transformed to scorn.

This poem is taken from PN Review 247, Volume 45 Number 5, May – June 2019.

Source: PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine – Procuring Poetryafter Carlos Drummond de Andrade (1945) after John Yau and Michael Palmer – Charles Bernstein – PN Review 247

Charles Bernstein and Trace Peterson Read Poetry


Bernstein and Peterson Read Poetry | DIA

Poet Selfies ‹ Literary Hub

Kevin Killian

At a crazy hotel in Providence and getting ready to receive a poet whom I planned to photograph nearly naked, I saw a mirror hung so low you couldn’t help but wonder, was this mirror placed so as to allow guests an intimate check of their genitalia? It flashed on me that using this mirror I might be able to photograph X with his face and his butt in the same frame—ever my goal. I stepped in and tried to see if it could be made to work, thus appearing in my own selfie as a stand-in for another; literally a body double. In that light I began to wonder if poetry could be made up of a series of John the Baptist-like pictures that somehow prefigure the “real thing,” an event in poetry which would render it pointless. Can the selfie stand apart from the well-rehearsed complaints people like Susan Sontag make about the photograph—that it can never be anything more than a representation of a reality dead at the moment of conception? Mightn’t it be a spell cast about the future? I think so; however, whether that’s a radical act or not IDK, wouldn’t bet my ass on it.

Poet Selfies ‹ Literary Hub.

Conceptual Writings: An Overview | Article | CCCB LAB

Teacher. N/D. Source: Flickr

Conceptual Writings: An Overview | Article | CCCB LAB.

Pollen by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge | synthetic_zero

Pollen by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge | synthetic_zero.

Fifty years of Buffalo poetics readings on PennSound | Jacket2

Fifty years of Buffalo poetics readings on PennSound | Jacket2.

How Poetry Survives by Charles Bernstein | The Baffler


Me and My Pharaoh . . . BY CHARLES BERNSTEIN [facsimile] | Poetry

Me and My Pharaoh . . .




He awoke,


fully charged. You




bring water to a horse but you can’t


make it ride. All poetry is conceptual


but some is more







Ambient difficulty leads to poetic


license. Poetry has


no purpose




that is not







You have to get over





g over. April is


the cruelest month for poetry. And May


is not much better, is




Why write in prose what you could write as easily






The poem is a crutch that allows us to think with


and throu-



h it.


Every poem must have 13 distinct frames, devices, motifs, styles, forms, or



Poetry emasculates prose.


The body: can’t live with it, can’t live without





I want to be understood,


just not by you.


Last week’s weather is worth a pound of salt, just

like the lot of  wives or the snowy pillars of  Danton.


There’s not a crowd in the sky. Familiarity breeds


content. Yesterday’s


weather is as


beyond reach as tomorrow’s


dreams. The


move away from close

reading often got drowned in the


bathwater, even if   we could never find the baby. I wouldn’t  join a poetic


tradition that would recognize me as




member. The wheel needs


to be reinvented because we’re still




I am for almost new art (gently used forms) — easier on the pocketbook and on


the b-


rain (undergarments not accepted). The only true


innovation is God’s. Others


pay cash.


This is a lie and that’s the truth.


Better truth in the shade than a lie in the sun.


The taste of madeleine ain’t


what it used to be.


(taint what it used to be)


all alone and feeling



Operators are on duty. Call now.



As dry as a bubble, as expectant as the dead


of night. Without product placement, poetry

as we know it


cannot sur-




Poetry should not be in the service of art any more than religion, ideology,

or morality. Poetry should be in the service of nothing — and not even



If  you can identify someone as gnostic they are probably




gnostic enough,


for my money.


I believe in my disbelief, have faith in my reason.


The sacred in a poem is nowhere seen and everywhere


felt. There’s


more to transgression than


ritual, but not enough


more. There is more


to liturgy than doctrine,


once in a blue







I left my purpose in my other pants.


You’re not the only paddle in the ocean, shadow in the dark, line in

the poem, lobster in the trap, pot on the stove, wheel on the truck,

letter on the keypad, scythe in the field, lever on the controls, cloud

in the sky, fruit in the tree, rat in the lab.


Reality is usually a poor copy of the imitation. The original

is an echo of what is yet to be.


Time is neither linear nor circular; it is excremental.


Beauty is the memory of the loss of time.












American poetry suffers from its lack of


uncreativity. I have no faith in faith, or hope

for hope, no belief  in belief, no doubt of doubt.


They say God is in the details. That’s

because the Devil has the rest




God is weak and imaginary — a flickering possibility. The dogma of an

omniscient and omnipotent God maligns hope and denies the sacred, as

it turns its back on the world.


God has no doctrine, no morality, no responsibility. To sin against

God is to use that name to justify any action or prohibition, whether

murder or martyrdom.


I’ve got authenticity, you’ve got dogma  …    proclaimeth the Lord.


Saying one more time:

It’s true but I don’t believe it

I believe it but it’s not so.


“My logic is all in the melting pot.”



Better an old cow than a dead

horse. Alzheimer’s:


What’s that again? So it turns out I’m


not a bull in a china shop but china in a




shop. Sometimes a penis is just a s-








In their gloom, the Jews go and come

Talking of Bergen-Belsen.


(I saw time but it didn’t return my gaze.)


My heart is like a water bucket that returns from the river


seven times full eighth




Zeno and Heraklitus are my father’s milk.


I think with the poem not thr-








it. Turns


of phrase / my stock in


trade. Negative

capability: sure.

But also



incapacity. I always


hear echoes and reverses


when I am listening to language. It’s


the field of my consciousness.


When we stop making — manufacturing,

imposing — sense then we have a chance


to find it.


A professional poet throws nothing out except the eggshells and the coffee grounds.


I think the idea is to be unoriginal but in as original a way a-

s possible.


Poets are the Pershings


of the imaginary: piercing


themselves as they perish


in spite of native ground.


I wish I was still in my pajamas.


The unironized life is not worth living.


When people tell that joke, three Jews

four opinions, what they don’t say is that two of them,

the schmucks, have the same opinion, while the third …


Ouzo something to me and it ain’t pretty.


Absinthe makes the heart gro-






“Throughout this prospectus, ‘object’ refers to the digitized file.”


Yesterday is a stone’s throw from tomorrow


& each new year a vast canvas of impossibility.


Kalip in North Folk, you’re on the air.


Stand clear of the clo-








Too much is still


not enough.



Blameless as a sheep at slaughter, am I

Guileless as the toll of tidal tug


There are no absolutes except this.


It was a veritable bow across the shot.


“Sacred means saturated with being.”



So does scared. So does scarred.



Source: Poetry (April 2014).

What Happens When the Artist Drops Away? The Legacy of Arakawa and Gins by Charles Bernstein | Hyperallergic




From “The Mechanism of Meaning” (courtesy Arakawa + Gins, Reversible Destiny Foundation)

Charles Bernstein Essay | Hyperallergic