A Poetics

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, 1992 - Literary Criticism - 232 pages
4 Reviews

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.

  

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Review: A Poetics

User 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 Poetics

User 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

Contents

State of the Art
1
In the Middle of Modernism in
90
Looking Ahead
106
Pounding Fascism Appropriating
121
Professing Stein Stein Professing
142
Censers of the UnknownMargins
179
The Second War and Postmodern Memory
193
Comedy and the Poetics of Political Form
218
Copyright

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About the author (1992)

Charles Bernstein was born in Manhattan in 1950. He has published 27 collections of poetry including With Strings, Republics of Reality: Poems 1975-1984 and Controlling Interests. His essays are included in My Way: Speeches and Poems and Content's Dream: Essays 1975-1984. Bernstein is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

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