Photo credit: photo by author

Charles Bernstein

b. 1950

Biography

Charles Bernstein is the author or editor of near 100 books, ranging from full-length collections of poetry and essays to pamphlets, libretti, collaborations and translations of his work.

His most recent books are Topsy-Turvy (April 2021), Near/Miss (2018), Pitch of Poetry (2016), Recalculating (2013) and Attack of the Difficult Poems: Essays and Inventions (2011), all rom the University of Chicago Press and All the Whiskey in Heaven: Selected Poems (2010) from Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Press, 2011).

Bernstein is the recipient of the 2019 Bollingen Prize for American Literature, the premier American poetry prize, for lifetime achievement and for Near/Miss. In 2006, Bernstein was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Bernstein is Donald T. Regan Professor, Emeritus, of English and Comparative Literature, University of Pennsylvania. From 1990 to 2003, he was David Gray Professor of Poetry and Letters at the State University of New York at Buffalo and Director of the Poetics Program, which he co-founded, with Robert Creeely, Raymond Federman, Dennis Tedlock, and Susan Howe. In 2002, he was appointed SUNY Distinguished Professor (the university’s highest rank).

He is the co-founder and co-editor, with Al Filreis, of PennSound (writing.upenn.edu/pennsund); and editor, and co-founder, with Loss Pequenño Glazier, of The Electronic Poetry Center (writing.upenn.edu/epc). He is coeditor, with Hank Lazer, of Modern and Contemporary Poetics, a book series from the University of Alabama Press. He has been host and co-producer of LINEbreak and Close Listening, two radio poetry series.

With Bruce Andrews, he edited L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, which was anthologized as The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Book (Southern Illinois University Press, 1984). The University of New Mexico Press has recently published three related books, edited by Matt Hofer and Michael Golston: The Language Letters: Selected 1970s Correspondence of Bruce Andrews, Ron Silliman, and Charles Bernstein (2019), Legend [Andrews, Bernstein, Ray DiPalma, McCaffery, Silliman] (2020), and L=A=N=G=U=G=E: Facsimile edition (2020).

Bernstein is editor of American Poetry after 1975 (boundary 2 / Duke, 2010), Louis Zukofsky: Selected Poems (Library of America, 2006), Close Listening: Poetry and the Performed Word (Oxford University Press, 1998), The Politics of Poetic Form: Poetry and Public Policy (Roof Books, 1990), 99 Poets/1999: An International Poetics Symposium, a special issue of boundary 2The Best American Experimental Writing 2016, with Tracie Morris (Weselyan University Press), among other works.

His 16 full-length works of poetry also include Girly Man (Chicago, 2006), With Strings (Chicago, 2001), and Republics of Reality: 1975-1995 (Sun & Moon Press, 2000). Bernstein has published four books of essays and one essay/poem collection, including: My WaySpeeches and Poems (Chicago, 1999); A Poetics (Harvard University Press, 1992); and Content’s Dream: Essays 1975-1984 (Sun & Moon Press, 1986, 1994; reprinted by Northwestern University Press, 2001).

Other prizes include: The Janus Pannonius Grand Prize for Poetry (2015), The Muenster International Poetry Prize (2015), the Roy Harvey Pearce / Archive for New Poetry Prize of the University of California, San Diego (1999); and, at Penn, The 2018-2019 Beltran Family Award for Innovative Teaching & Mentoring at the Kelly Writers House, the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching (2009), and the Dean’s Award for Innovation in Teaching in 2005. Fellowships include: New York Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellowship in 1995 and 1990, University of Auckland Foundation Fellowship (1986), the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (1985), the National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship (1980), and the William Lyon McKenzie King Fellowship (at Simon Fraser University) (1973).

Bernstein has written five librettos: Blind Witness News, The Subject: A Psychiatric Opera and The Lenny Paschen Show, with composer Ben Yarmolinsky, and Cafe Buffe, by Dean Drummond. Shadowtime, on the work of Walter Benjamin, was written for composer Brian Ferneyhough and premiered in May 2004 at the Munich Biennale; in 2004 it played at the Fesitival d’Automne in Paris and in 2005 at the Lincoln Center Festival. A CD was issued from NMC in 2006. Shadowtime’s libretto was published by Green Integer, 2005). Blind Witness (Factory School, 2008) collects the libretti he wrote for Ben Yarmolinsky.

He has collaborated with Richard Tuttle on a poem/sculpture and an essay/poem on Tuttle’s work, collaborated with Susan Bee on several artists books; collaborated with Amy Sillman on an animated drawing and a series of poems/images, and with Mimi Gross on a book. In 2002, he curated Poetry Plastique, with Jay Sanders, at the Marianne Boesky gallery and coedited the catalog.

He has given over 750 readings and lectures/talks since 1975, throughout the world, including France, Finland, Denmark, Italy, Portugal, The Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Serbia, Spain, Canada, Cuba, China, India, South Korea, The Netherlands, Mexico, Brazil, England, Ireland, Sweden, Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, Poland, Hungary, New Zealand, and the U.S.

From the early 70s to the late 80s, he worked as a writer/editor on healthcare and medical topics, with a break to serve as Associate Director of the CETA Artists Project (the largest postwar American public employment program for artists).

Charles Bernstein was born April 4, 1950 in New York City. He attended the Bronx High School of Science and Harvard College, from which he graduated in 1972. He is married to the painter, Susan Bee, and has two children: Emma (1985-2008) and Felix.

Current City, State, Country

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Birth City, State, Country

New York, New York, USA

Published Works

Poetry
Full-length collections
Topsy-Turvy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2021)
The Course, with Ted Greenwald (Roof, 2020)
Near/Miss (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018)
Recalculating (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013)
All the Whiskey in Heaven: Selected Poems (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010; Salt Publishing, UK, 2012)
Girly Man 
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006)
With Strings
 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001)
Republics of Reality: 1975-1995 (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 2000)
Dark City (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1994) [link to Digital edn]
Rough Trades (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1991) [link to EPC Digital Edn]
The Sophist (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1987; rpt. Salt Publishing 2004
Islets/Irritations (New York: Jordan Davies, 1983; rpt. New York: Roof Books, 1992)
Controlling Interests (New York: Roof Books, 1980, rpt. 2005) [link is to Digital Edn]
Poetic Justice [1975-77] (Baltimore: Pod Books, 1979) [link is to Eclipse Digital Edn]
Shade (College Park, MD: Sun & Moon Press, 1978) [link to Eclipse Digital Edn]
Parsing (New York: Asylum’s Press, 1976) [link is to Eclipse Digital Edn]
Asylums (New York: Asylums Press, 1975) [link is to Eclipse Digital Edn and to Text-Works edn of tilte poem aligned to source text]

Libretti
Blind Witness: Three American Operas (Queens, NY: Factory School, 2008)
Shadowtime (Los Angeles, Green Integer, 2005)

Pamphlets & Chapbooks
Doubletalking the Homphonic Sublime: Comedy, Appropriation, and the Sounds of One Hand Clapping (Barrytown, NY: Station Hill Press, 2021).
Echologsafter Virgil, with Richard Tuttle (Cambridge: Art and Letters, 2020)
95 Theses (Calgary: No Press, 2016)
Amberianum
 [Philosophical Fragment of Caudio Amerbiam] (Calgary: No Press, 2016)
Recantorium
 (e-pamphlet), in English, French (tr. Abigail Lang), and Italian (tr. Milli Graffi) (Italy: HGH 2013 via Gammm.org)
Last Words from ‘Sentences My Father Used’
 (Calgary: No Press, 2012)
Morality 
(e-pamphlet) (Molossus World Poertry Portfolio #38, 2011)
Umbra 
(Tucson; Chax Press, 2010)
Three Works (
pdf), from /ubu, Publishing the Unpublishable (2008)
Warrant 
(New Delhi: Aark Arts / Contemporary World Poetry), 2005
World on Fire
 (Vancouver: Nomados, 2004)
Let’s Just Say (Tucson: Chax Press, 2003)
Café Buffé [libretto] (Slope E-Chapbook #2, 2002)
The Subject [libretto] (Buffalo: Meow Press, 1995)
The Absent Father in Dumbo (Canary Islands: Zasterle, 1990)
Four Poems (Tucson: Chax Press, 1988)
Artifice of Absorption (Philadlphia: Paper Air, 1987) [EPC Digital Edition of A Poetics version]
Veil (Madison, WI: Xexoxial Editions, 1987; ms 1976) [EPC digital edn]; also pdf of Xexoxial Edition and Scrbd edn
Resistance (Windsor, VT: Awede Press, 1983) [EPC Digital edn]
Stigma (Barrytown, NY: Station Hill Press, 1981)
Disfrutes (Boston: Potes and Poets Press, 1981; ms 1974) [EPC Digital Edition]
Senses of Responsibility (Berkeley: Tuumba Press, 1979; rpt. Providence: Paradigm Press, 1989) [Eclipse Digital Edition]

Essay Collections
Pitch of Poetry (University of Chicago Press, 2016)
Attack of the Difficult Poems: Essays and Inventions (University of Chicago Press, 2011)
My Way: Speeches and Poems (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999)
A Poetics (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992)
Content’s Dream: Essays 1975-1984 (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1986; rpt. Sun & Moon Classics, 1994; rpt. Northwestern University Press, 2001)
Three Compositions on Philosophy and Literature [Three Steins] (1972) [Asylum’s Press Digital Edition, 2012]
The Language Letters: Selected 1970s Correspondence of Bruce Andrews, Ron Silliman, and Charles Bernstein, edited by Matthew Hofer and Michael Golston (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2019)
A Conversation with David Antin  (New York: Granary Books, 2002) [EPC Digital Edn]

Collaborations
Susan Bee:
Bee & Bernstein in conversation with James Shivers — on their collaborations, from Artkrush; & Bee on “Design Elements inNude Formalism and Fool’s Gold
Disfrutelos” (1977), with Susan Bee, via Ubu.com & EPC
Fool’s Gold, with Susan Bee (Tucson: Chax Press, 1991)
Johnny June” (1971)
For Gerrit Lansing’s 75th birthday(2003)
Little Orphan Anagram, with Susan Bee (New York: Granary Books, 1997) [Artists Books Online, also: spreads]
Log Rhythms, with Susan Bee (New York: Granary Books, 1998) [Ubu Digital Edition]
The Nude Formalism [pdf], with pictures by Susan Bee (Sun & Moon, 1989): recommended to view pdf with facing pages (2-up). Title page.
The Occurence of Tune, with Susan Bee (New York: Segue, 1981; ms 1977) [Eclipse Digital Edition]
Stills: “Rights vs Wrongs (Devil),” “Dumbstruck
Jack Collom:Steps to a Lime’s Ballet” (1982)
Ted Greenwald:
The Course
Short Course(Victoria, TX: Chax Press, 2016)
In the Course 
[pdf] (NP: TFH [twentyfourhours] #20 (2017)
Mimi Gross:
Some of These Daze [pdf] (New York: Granary, 2005)
The history of my collaborations with Leevi Lehto
Amy Sillman: Duplexities (100 text/images) and Pinky’s Rule (animated drawing) (2011)
John Reynolds: “Pretty Ugly” (2004); text from Let’s Just Say (Chax Press, 2003)
Richard Tuttle:
Reading Red (Köln: Walther Konig, 1998)
With Strings (2000-2001): poem-sculpture composed of letters strung from a spiraling brass line and grounded in a terra-cotta filled with the poemu’s roots.
•••
Legend
with Bruce Andrews, Charles Bernstein, Ray DiPalma, Steve McCaffery, and Ron Silliman (L=A=N=G=U=A-G=E / Segue, 1980
Eclipse Digital Edn
Pdf from EPC.
New edition
, with new 5-way collaboration, ed. Matt Hofer and Michael Golston (University of New Mexico Press, 2020)
•••••
“RoundUp Ready,” song with mix of “1-100” by Leslie Winer (2021)
The Introvert with Jill Moser, Yang Yongliang, Carlos Amorales, Jiri Cirnicky,  and Dominique Figarella (Collectif Géneration, 2010) (and at EPC)
Technology/Art: 20 Brief Proposals with James Sherry, Bruce Andrews for Seminars on Art & Technology(Meow Press, 1995)

Translated Books
Eco/Echo, ed. Carla Buranello with Italian translattions by Buranello,, Gherardo Bortolotti, Luigi Ballerini, Marco Giovenale, and Milli Graffi (Milan: Il Verri, 2022, in press)
L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E , le livreFrench translation by Amélie Ducroux (Collection To: Presses universitaire de Rouen ed du Havre [PURH]), Sept. 2021
Świat w ogniu: wiersze i przemowy [World on Fire: Poems and Speeches), tr. Kacper Bartczak (Poland: Biuro Literackie, 2020)
Sign Under Test: Selected Poems and Essays, edited by Ian Probstein, with poems translated by Probstein and essays translated by Arakadi Dragomoshchenko, Patrick Henry, Alexi Parshchikov, Mark Shatunovsky, and Probstein (Moscow: Russian Gulliver, 2020)
Renflouer la poésietr., with an introduction by, Abigail Lang (Nantes, France: Joca Sera, 2019)
Pour ainsi dire (So to Speak), tr. Habib Tengour, introduction by Pierre Joris (Algeria: La Collection Poems du Monde, Apic Éditions, 2019)
Echopoetics, tr. Liu Zhaohui (刘朝晖, 《回音诗学》), Jinan University Press, 2018
Charles Bernstein, Karl Elektric, Gedichte und Übersetzen, Bd. 1.2, tr. Versatorium (Malta, Oslo, Vienna: Quintano, 2017)
Teške Pesme [Carls Bernstin] [selected poems], ed & tr. Dubravka Djuric (Montenegro: d.o.o. OKF Cetinje) 2016
Sign Under Test, tr. Ian Probstein (Textonica Media LLC: 2017): selected poems, bilingual, with audio recordings in England and Russian for each poem.
Denken dat ik denk dat ik denk: Een introductie tot zijn poëzie, tr. Ton van ‘t Hof, Sarah Posman, Samuel Vriezen (Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Stanza, 2016)
Beomlott mondatok. tr. (Hungarian), with an afterword, Eniko Bollobás et al. (Budapest: Pen Club, Plurilica, 2015)
Tutto il whiskey in cielo / Tutto il meraviglioso in terra: Trilingual English/Italian/Hungarian (Janus Pannonius Grand Prize Poetry publication; Milan: Cassa dell Poesi and Budapest: Pen Club Hungary & Janus Pannonius Foundation, 2015)

•Angriff der Schwiergen Gedichte.tr. (German) Tobias Amslinger , Norbert Lange, Léonce W. Lupette and Mathias Traxler. Germany: Lux Books,2014.
•Gedichte und Übersetzen, tr. (German) Versatorium and Peter Waterhouse, Vienna: Edition Korrespondenzen,, 2013 (catalog)
Verteidigung der schwierigen Gedichte: Preis der Stadt Münster für Internationale Poesie 2015 an Charles Bernstein an das VERSATORIUM und an Tobias Amslinger – Norbert Lange – Léonce W. Lupette – Mathias Traxlerund seine Übersetzer ins Deutsche Hg. Hermann Wallmann und Kulturamt der Stadt Münster (Daedalus Verlag Münster, 2015)|

Enrique Winter translations (Spanish) ––
Blanco inmóvil
:
Fondo de Animal Editores (Quimera tr. series; Guayaquil, Ecuador, 2013); preface and selection at Transtierros
Kriller 71 Ediciones (Barcelona, Spain, 2014)
Expanded edition: Ediciones Uniandes (Bogotá, Colombia, 2018)
Abuso de sustancias (expanded edition of Blanco inmóvil):
Santiago, Chile: Alquimia Ediciones, 2014
Grandes éxitos, Guadalajara, Mexico: Mantis Editores, 2014

•L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E ¡CONTRAATACA! Poéticas selectas (1975-2011), ed./tr. Heriberto Yépez, et al., intro. Eduardo Espina (Mexico, Mex: Aldus, 2013); auotbiographical interview; “Poetics of the Americas“; full book from Academia.EDU

  • Pied bot [ShadeThe Occurence of Tune]] tr. Martin Richet . Collection Américaine, Editions Joca Seria, Nantes, France. 2012. Afterword by Jean-Marie Gleize.
  • Shadowtime, tr. Juliette Valery (Droit de Cités, 2011)
    •Selected Poems, tr. Nie Zhenzhao and Luo Lianggong (first edition: Nanjing, China: Yilin Press, 2010; second edition: Wuhan, China: Central China Normal University Press, September 2011)
  • L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E POETICS(selected essays), tr. Luo Lianggong, et al. (Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, Feb 2013)
  • ParsingJäsentäen, tr. Leevi Lehto (Helsinki: Natamo, 2009)
    Charles Bernstein: Interviews and Writings, tr. Zeyar Lynn (Rangoon/Yangon, Burma/Myamar: The Eras’ Publishing House, July 2009). Edn 500. Interviews: Manuel Brito, Eric Denut , Hannah Mockel-Rieke, and Tom Beckett; extracts of ’The Value of Sulfur,’ ’The Revenge of the Poet-Critic,’ and ’Three or Four Things I Know About Him.

*’”Artifice of Absorption”, tr. into Russian by Patrick Henry, Alexei Parshchikov and Mark Shatunovsky (Moscow: Stella Art Foundation / Poetry Club, 2008). (Also published  in Contemporary Poetry (Sovremennaia Poeziia); issue 2 (1 June 2007) and issue 3 (1 September 2007): intro by Parshchikovpart one (no Archive.Org capture)part two [via archve.org ]

Author Site

Education

A.B., Harvard College [Philosophy concentration] (1968-1972)
Bronx High School of Science (1964-1968)

Video Reading

Links to Sample Works

Genre