This rich collection is far more than an important work of criticism by an extraordinary poet; it is a poetic intervention into criticism. "Artifice of Absorption," a key essay, is written in verse, and its structures and rhythms initiate the reader into the strength and complexity of the argument. In a wild variety of topics, polemic, and styles, Bernstein surveys the current poetry scene and addresses many of the hot issues of poststructuralist literary theory. "Poetics is the continuation of poetry by other means," he writes. What role should poetics play in contemporary culture? Bernstein finds the answer in dissent, not merely in argument but in form--a poetic language that resists being easily absorbed into the conventions of our culture.
Insisting on the vital need for radical innovation, Bernstein traces the traditions of modern poetry back to Stein and Wilde, taking issue with those critics who see in the "postmodern" a loss of political and aesthetic relevance. Sometimes playful, often hortatory, always intense, he joins in the debate on cultural diversity and the definition of modernism. We encounter Swinburne and Morris as surprising precursors, along with considerations of Wittgenstein, Khlebnikov, Adorno, Jameson, and Pac-Man. A Poetics is both criticism and poetry, both tract and song, with no dull moments.
What people are saying - Write a review
Review: A PoeticsUser Review - John - Goodreads
A little dated. Good thoughts and still some interesting thought on modern poetry, but the essays are starting to feel out-dated and remnants of the culture wars from the early 1990s. Read full review
Review: A PoeticsUser Review - David Hirt - Goodreads
It felt like he was trying to call his writing poetry because it was lineated. Some good ideas, though. Read full review
State of the Art
In the Middle of Modernism in
Pounding Fascism Appropriating
Professing Stein Stein Professing
Censers of the UnknownMargins
The Second War and Postmodern Memory
Comedy and the Poetics of Political Form