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Charles Bernstein

Often I am permitted to spin, / flip, go turvy-top, turning / toward unmade places, / shadows, sites of last chances / in a game of loopty-loo ...

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Topsy-Turvy by Charles Bernstein

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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Pitch of Poetry by Charles Bernstein

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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