University of Chicago Press

Topsy-Turvy by Charles Bernstein

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March 2022, no. 440

Charles Bernstein, born in 1950, is a prolific poet and theorist of Language poetry, which arose in the 1970s in the wake of the anti-Vietnam War movement (or the American War, as the Vietnamese call it). As with similar movements in many countries, including Australia, this now semi-institutionalised poetry began as radical revolt against an established verse culture that preferred its poetry to be an easily palatable, Inauguration-worthy commodity. Instead, Bernstein and his colleagues variously practised a ‘multi-discourse text’ that chipped away at the boundary between poetry and critical theory. ‘Poetry is the aversion of conformity,’ Bernstein writes in an early essay, rephrasing Ralph Waldo Emerson. It is a site of perpetual enquiry rather than the expedient repose of fixed meaning.

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About as eminent an academic philosopher as they come these days, Robert B. Pippin made his reputation with a sequence of brilliant studies rehabilitating the great names of German Idealism – Immanuel Kant, G.W.F. Hegel – for a (mainly) baby boomer American audience. In the wake of the path-breaking interventions of Wilfrid Sellars and Richard Rorty, Pippin, alongside such colleagues as Terry Pinkard, Robert Brandom, and John McDowell, has argued for a version of the essentially dialogic nature of all philosophy, which seeks to bring together metalogical ratiocinations and nitty-gritty semantic theories with reflections on the diversity of social interactions.

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In his 1998 book, Japanese Literature as ‘fluctuation’ (‘Yuragi’ no nihon bungaku), Komori Yōichi deconstructs the concept of ‘modern Japanese literature’ by examining the Encyclopedia of Modern Japanese Literature (『日本近代文学大辞典』), an impressive work that, despite its six volumes ...

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Pitch of Poetry by Charles Bernstein

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October 2016, no. 385

When Viktor Shklovsky, in his famous 1917 essay 'Art as Technique', asserts that the fundamental task of the poetic function is one of 'making strange' the reader's ...

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‘The singularity and importance of [Pier Paolo Pasolini’s] artistry lies largely in the protean, multimedial quality of his vision,’ Stephen Sartarelli rightly reminds us in this bilingual edition of Pasolini’s poetry. Nonetheless, to an Anglophone world Pasolini (1922–75) is best known as the rebellious and audacious director of such films as The Gospe ...

With the advent of digital technology and the Internet, traditional paper-based scholarship appears increasingly threatened with redundancy, if not total obsolescence. This may help to explain current interest in the various techniques adopted by early modern natural philosophers and scholars who struggled to cope with the diverse and rapidly expanding bodies of data at their disposal.

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‘Reading through a hundred years of Poetry, week after week of issue after issue after issue, some forty thousand poems in all, Don and I, when we weren’t rendered prone and moaning, jolted back and forth between elation and depression.’ So Christian Wiman writes in his introduction to this elating, and never depressing, new anthology celebrating one hundred years of Poetry Magazine. Bear in mind that he and fellow editor Don Share did this while continuing with their day jobs as editors of the magazine, which receives some one hundred thousand submissions a year, and you will have some idea of the task they undertook.

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What are we to do about education? Few other human enterprises are discussed more often – family, money, sex, and politics, perhaps – but the practice of education never comes close to satisfying us.

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Marion Mahony (1870–1961) was that rare commodity in late nineteenth-century American society: a woman functioning as an equal in a professional world dominated by men. Born to progressive parents, and a household and wider circle of strong and socially engaged women, Marion Lucy Mahony was only the second woman to graduate from an American university (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1894) with a full degree in architecture, and the first to be licensed to practise under any state regulatory structure anywhere in the world (Illinois, 1898).

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When members of the rock band Men at Work recorded their legendary hit ‘Down Under’ in the early 1980s, they wanted to inject a stronger sense of Australianness into the song, so they included a flute riff of a few bars echoing the classic Australian children’s chorus ‘Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree’, just as one might, in a different geographical con ...

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