Charles Bernstein <email@example.com>
Tuesdays at 9am, Rm. 111, CPCW (3808 Walnut)
office hours by appointment
the back wings
will grow lie
in which shine
pieces of a green
Requirements: Weekly response papers and writing projects to be
posted to the listserv. These responses papers should form the basis of
a more extended final writing project. For writing assignments, consider
doing one or more of the Wreading
Poetry in Philadelphia: KWH
Schedule / Ron Silliman's Philadelphia Progressive Poetry Calendar
Books Required at the Penn Book Center
David Antin, A Conversation with Charles Bernstein
Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life
Peter Nicholls, Modernisms: A Literary Guide
Jackson Mac Low, Representative Works: 1938-1985
ON LIBRARY RESERVE:
Also, I am recommending the Library of America: American Poetry --
The 20th Century, Vols. 1 and 2, but not requiring it; a number of
poems to be discussed will be from these volumes. These books are on library
reserve. In the syllabus below, I refer to these books as LOA1 and LOA2.
Also on reserve:
Basil Bernstein, Class, Codes, and Control
Crowley, Standard English and the Politics of Language
Philippe Aries, et al, A History of Private Life
Gaston Bachelard, Poetics of Space
Ferdinand Braudel, The Structures of Everyday Life
Elias Canetti, Crowds and Power
Stanley Cavell, In Search of the Ordinary
Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle
Sigmund Freud, The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, tr. James
Erving Goffman, Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience
Alvin W. Gouldner, The Future of Intellectuals and the Rise of the
New Class : a Frame of Reference, Theses, Conjectures, Arguments, and
an Historical Perspective on the Role of Intellectuals and Intelligentsia
in the International Class Contest of the Modern Era
Agnes Helller, Everyday Life: excerpt
Henri Lefebvre, Critique of Everyday Life: excerpt
Jean-Luc Nancy, The Inoperative Community
E. P. Thompson, The Long Revolution,
Raymond Williams, Culture and Society: "Culture is Ordinary"
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations
1. (Jan. 13): Introduction
une Mendiante Rousse" (1845-6) (see also
"La petite mendiante rousse" by Emile Roy)
Young Housewife", "Pastoral" "Between
Walls" (LOA1) (WCW
audio of "Between Walls")
±Peter Nicholls, Modernisms. Nichols discusses "À
une Mendiante Rousse" in the introduction; see also Nicholl's chapters
1 to 3.
Walter Benjamin, Charles Bauelaire: Lyric Poet in the Age of High Capitalism
The Everyday Life Reader, ed. Ben Highmore (Routledge)
2. (Jan. 20). Modernisms and the Everyday
Maurice Blanchot, "Everyday Speech" (handout)
Henri Lefebvre, "Everydayness" (handout)
Gertrude Stein: "If I Told Him: A Complete Portrait of Picasso"
A Poem" (NOTE: different passwords needed for audio and for text,
which will be supplied) Compare: Picasso's
portrait of Stein from 1906
Wallace Stevens: "Plain Sense of Things," (LOA/LION) "Ordinary
Evening in New Haven" (LION)
Stein, Melanctha, Stanzas in Meditation
Laurie Langbauer, "Cultural Studies and the Politics of the Everyday"
diacritics 22 (1992): 47-65
3. (Jan. 27) Sincerity and Objectification
Charles Reznikoff (1894-1976) [respondent:
SF State Reading: MP3
of poems (from LION)
also LOA2 and EPC
selections and Collected Poems at LION:
"Sincerity and Objectification with Special Reference to Charles
"An Objective" (handout)
"Poem Beginning 'The' (LOA2) (MP3
of Degrees" ; MP3 of "Songs
of Degrees" (plus "Barely & Widely")
of / this new / song" and "Can mote / of sunliight" (from
±See Nichols chapters 8 and 9.
Mina Loy (LOA2)
Lorine Niedecker (LOA2)
Laura Riding (LOA2)
George Oppen (LOA2)
Discussed in class:
On Reznikoff: Bernstein, "Reznikoff's Nearness" in My Way;
Steve Fredman, A Menorah for Athena
On Jewish secularism: Isaac Deutcher, The Non-Jewish Jew
On Jewish particularism vs Christian universalism, Marc Shell,
"Marranos (Pigs), or from Coexistence to Toleration" ,
Critical Inquiry (Winter 1991, Volume 17, Number 2); see also related
chapter in Shell's Children of the Earth : Literature, Politics, and
(New York : Oxford University Press, 1993)
also: Sander Gilman, Jewish Self-Hatred
4. (Feb. 3) The Social View of Language
[respondent: Eric Ellingsen]
Bakhtin/Volosinov, "Discourse in Life and Discourse in Art (Concerning
Sociological Poetics") (handout)
Volosinov, from Marxism and the Philosophy of Language (handout)
Ferruccio Ross-Landi, from Language as Work and Trade (handout)
Louis Althusser, from "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatus"
Raymond Williams, "Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory"
Dell Hymes, "Studying the Interaction of Language and Social Life"
from Foundations in Sociolinguistics: An Ethnograpnic Approach
Practice, Praxis, and Power
Kenneth Burke, "Literature as Equipment for Living" (handout)
Michel Foucault, "Truth and Power"
de Certeau, Practice of Everyday Life -- to pp.ix - 76.[respondent:
Writing suggestion: Translate one of these artticles into a totally venacular
style, then into the style of some "other" discourse.
RECOMMENDED: Donald Wessling, Bakhtin and the Social Moorings of Poetry
(Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2003). Wessling discussed dialect
poetry (Linton Kwesi Johnson and Tom Leonard) as well as a chapter on
Bunting and "inner voice".
5. (Feb. 10) Folk, Popular Culture, Poetry, Blues, and the Vernacular:
Dialectic of dialects I
[respondent: Benjy Kahan]
Rails" (MP3) called by Henry Truvillion at Wiergate, Texas, 1940
Paul Laurence Dunbar (18721906), "When
de Co'n Pone's Hot"
W.C. Handy (1873-1958): Handy
singing "St. Louis Blues" (realaudio) (alternate
MP3 version); text of Handy's
lyric (1914) (as transcribed by Benjamin Robert Tubb, from Public
Domain Music) (see also different version in LOA1); 15
minutes NPR feature on the song in RealAudio.
James Weldon Johnson (1874-1938), et al: Under
the Bamboo Tree (mp3 from Virtual
Grammaphone, which has additional information); the
lyric; also: Johnson's "God's Trombone" in LOA1, or on the
web: "The Creation"
and "Sence You
Went Away". (Both from James Weldon Johnson, ed., The
Book of American Negro Poetry. 1922. [respodent:
Kathy Lou Schultz]
See also T.S. Eliot: "Sweeney Agoniste" -- "Song by Wauchope
and Horesfall ..." (LOA1/ LION)
Vachel Lindsay (1879-191), "The Congo" (LOA1 and also LION,
but be sure to look at the paratext, give in note in the LION version);
MP3 sound files
Charley Patton (1887 [poss.1891?]-1934) , "High Water Everywhere":
text transcription in LOA1; MP3
AUDIO. (Make you own transcription of the song and compare to published
Oscar Hammerstein, II (1895-1960), Ol'
Man River (text in word file, but: also in LOA); Robeson
singing two versions of the song
T.S. Eliot, "The Waste Land", section II, "The Game of
Chess", last 35 lines, from "When Lil's husband got demobbed,
I said--" (LOA1, p. 748)
6. (Feb.17) Folk, Popular Culture, Poetry, Blues, and the Vernacular:
Dialectic of Dialects II (Second Wave Modernists)
Melvin Tolson (1898-1906); from Harlem Gallery: "Alpha"
and "Mu" (LOA2)
Sterling Brown (1901-1989) :Collected Poems via Muse: "Break of Day",
"Sharecroppers", "Old Lem", "Old King Cotton".
"New St. Louis Blues" -- text
of these five poems in word file;
MP3 Sound files. [respondent
Langston Hughes (1902-1907). "The
Weary Blues"(LOA2, also: Collected Poems at LION); "Weary
(Compare "Weary Blues"
(text) -- 1915 -- Words by Mort Greene and George Cates, Music by Artie
"The Weary Blues" from The Big Sea. [respondent
Brice (1891-1951) (MP3s): "Song of the Sewing-Machine"
(1921; lyrics by Billy Rose and Ballard MacDonald, music by Jesse Greer
or some combination) , "Cooking Breakfast For the One I Love",
"Mrs Cohen at the Beach", "Second Hand Rose"; the
two Baby Snooks
Cole Porter (1891-1964); see also Virtual Cole Porter: "A
Picture of Me Without You", "When Love Comes Your Way",
"Ev'rybo-ee Who's Anybod-ee", "You're the Top", "I
Get a Kick out of You" "Anything Goes", "Night and
Day" (lyrics in word
file plus handout); Sound
files of these songs. In class, we will portably focus on "You're
the Top" and "Night and Day".[respodent:
George and Ira Gershwin and DuBoise Heywood, Porgy and Bess
Woody Guthrie, "Man Talking Blues", "1903 Massacre"
7. (Feb. 24 )The Major and the Minor
[respodent: Scott Enderle (Irigeray or Deleuuze/Guatari)]
Standards, Standardization, and Normality
Basil Bernstein, Class, Codes, and Control (handout) (note:
book is on reserve)
Pierre Bourdieu, "The Production and Reproduction of Legitimate Language"
Luce Irigary, "Linguistic Sexes and Genders" (from je, tue
nous: Toward a Culture of Difference) (handout)
Jan Mukarovsky, "Standard Language and Poetic Language"
How Strange the Change from Major to Minor
Deleuze/Guattari, "What Is Minor Literature" (handout)
O'Brien-Bernstein interview on LOA (from boundary 2)
Bernstein, "Poetics of the Americas" (from My Way);
available on line at Project Muse (modernism/modernity 3:3, 1996)
Michael Berube, Marginal Forces/Cultural Centers: Tolson, Pynchon,
and the Politics of the Canon (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992).
Notes on "What
is a Minor Literature?"
Houston Baker, Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance
Michael North, The Dialect of Modernism: Race, Language, and Twentieth
Century Literature (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994)
Kamu Brathwaite, "History of the Voice" in Roots
Henry Louis Gates, Signifying Monkey
Aldon Neilsen, Reading Race
Treaty of Waitangi; D.F.McKenzie, Oral Culture, Literacy
and Print: Early New Zealand: The
Treaty of Waitangi, Victoria University Press/Turnbull Library. 1985.
N.B. The Major and
the Minor (1942), directed by Billy Wilder, with Ginger Rogers
and Ray Milland was remade as You're
Never Too Young (1955) with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.
8. (March 2) Dialectic of dialects III: Bunting and MacDiarmid
[respondent: Matt Hart]
Hugh MacDiarmid (1892- 1978)
A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle: MP3
sound file; full text of poem at LION
selection (from LION): "First Hymn to Lenin", "Second
Hymn to Lenin", "On the Oxford Book of Victorian Poetry",
"Why I Choose Red", "What Have Scotsmen to Fight For?",
"Poetry and Science", "British Leftish Poetry" (MP3
sound file), "The Kind of Poetry I Want" (MP3
correlates with text extract), A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle
(first 100 lines, correlate with first sound file). Plus:
Revolutionary Art of the Future"
Basil Bunting (1900-1985)
sound file; full text of poem at LION; text
to bring to class (lines 1-156)
Writing Suggestion: Present your response in a local dialect.
9. (March 12): David
Note: David Antin talk at 5pm. Antin will also be meeting with my undergraduate
class at 3pm and you are welcome to attend, but please let me know. Antin
will also be doing a talk on Thursday evening in the Temple series.
From Antin EPC page:
listen to "The Principal of Fit": Try to transcribe a bit of
"The Principal of Fit" before going on with this week's assignment,
Also: transcribe a "talk" of your own for this weeks' response.
Intro: Ken Sherwood
on Antin from DLB (password protected)
Marjorie Perloff intro to Talking
Talking: "Talking at Pomona"
Talking: "The November Exercises"
"talking at blerancour"t via EPC page
A Conversation with David Antin / Charles Bernstein
"War" via EPC page (sound files)
Writing Suggestion: Tape your reponse to this week's reading and trancribe
10. (March 23) Ideolectal Modernism
|Lyn Hejinian will be reading on Monday, 3/22
at 6:30 pm at the KWH and giving a talk on Tues., 3/23 at 10 at KWH.
In addition, she will be doing a "Studio 111" recording
at 3-4 and then tape class discussion 4:15-5:45, in Rm. 111. Contact
me for more information.
Un Coup de Dés (alternate: pdf
file of the 1914 French edn); "Crisis
in Poetry" (excerpt, tr. Caws: this is the last short except at
the bottom of the file, following other material by Mallarmé), "Salut"
four versions English); English tr. of "Coup"
(via Ubu) [respodent Jane Malcolm]
Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948), "Ur Sonota" at Ubu:
both sound file and score
Hugo Ball (1886-1927), "Karawane" (1916) text and sound
file at Ubu (along with
other Ball sound files)
Abraham Lincoln Gillespie (1895-1950) in LOA 2; supplemental:
three essays at UBU and also The Syntactic Revolution
(New York: Out of London Press, 1980)
Velimir Khlebnikov (1885-1922): "Incantation
by Laughter" and "We chant and enchant" (password required);
handout: "The Word as Such", :"The Letter as Such",
"!Futurian!","The Trumpet of the Martians", "Proposals",
"Artists of the World!: a written language for Planet Earth: a common
system of hyeroglyphics for the people of our planet", "Our Poetry",
"Our Fundamentals". See also UBU
Word as Such" (with Kruchonykh, 1913) & other essays.
Kruchonykh -- from "Pomade" (handout);
visual and zaum poems; see also Gerlad
Janecek's essay on Kruchonykh's zaum poetry
Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (1874-1927): "A
Dozen Cocktails--Please" (via Eng. 88/Filries site) and ""Narin--Tzarissamanili"
in LOA; "Mineself-Minesoul--and--Mine--Cast-Iron Lover" (handout),
from The Little Review 6.5 (September 1919): 3-11 and included in
Rotheberg's Revolution of the Word: 1914-1945. Supplemental: Good
with excerpts and bio from other works. 1915
Cab Calloway (1907-1994): "Minnie
the Moucher", "Scat
Song" (1931-32) (password required)
±See Nicholl's, chapters 5, 6,and 10, esp. discussion of zaum,,
Steve McCaffery and Jed /Raula, Imagining Language
Writing Suggestion: Try a homophonic translation of Mallarmé (see
11. (March 30) Ideolectical Extensions: Translation, Transduction,
and the Vernacular Sublime
Jerome Rothenberg, "Horse Songs for Frank Mitchell": text/essay
on the work and MP3
Audio of Solo/1975 version; MP3 of 1978 Multi-Voice (start with first
cut of 1975 recording; the rest is recommendedl only).
Catallus translation (full text in Complete Short Poems); sound
file of Catallus 70
foin lass bodders me". -- compare:
Mi Prega" / Cavalcanti (the original) and
Pound, translation of "Donna
mi Prega" and another tranlation -- Canto
Further reading: Pound's Cavalcanti
(with comparative translatios by D. G. Rossetti)
[resondent: Anna Foy]
Steve McCaffery, "The Kommunist Manifesto": MP3
Audio; text (handout)
Clark Coolidge, The
Men in Aida (Eclipse)
Peter Inman, Platin
12. (April 6)Mac Low [respondent: Tod Carmody]
Mac Low, Representative Work; EPC
home page; LINEbreak interview
Tarantula Gatha" -- MP3, password required
13. (April 13) Late ordinary: Weiner, Creeley
Robert Creeley [respondent: Rachel Nichols]
NOTE: on Thurs, Arpil 15 at 7:30 PM Robert Creeley
reads at the De Leon Room, 300 St. Augustine Center, Villanova
of early reading
EPC Creeley page
Creeley on the commplace
(note Collected Poems at LION)
EPC home page (line above): Clairvoyant Journal: MP3 of March
and April, together with text
Radio Reading Project and other sound files
James Schuyler, "The Morning of the Poem"
14. (April 20) Last Class
The seminar will weave itself in, around, and
through a select group of modernist and contemporary works to explore
the pursuit of, and aversion to, the ordinary in relation to the dialectical,
dialogical, ideological, and ideolectical, with special reference to the
vernacular, assimilation / anti-assimilation, second-language speakers,
schtick, vaudeville, the comedic, the emergence of popular music in the
context of folk music, and the blues. A key theme will be the project,
among the poets, to avoid reification either of the poem or the poem's
subject. The philosophical context for this will include De Certeau's
Practice of Everyday Life, Peter Nicholls' Modernisms: A Literary
Guide, Deleuze & Guattari's Toward a Minor Literature,
and Basil Bernsten's Class Codes and Control, along with excerpts
from variuos social theories of language by Wittengenstein, Hines, Raymond
Williams, Althusser, Burke, Volisinov, Gramsci, Bourdieu, and Foucault.
The readings and "listening" (there will be much recorded material)
will consist primarily of short selections of poems (and sometimes essays)
organized around several core topics: The Everyday (Baudelaire,
Williams, Stevens, Creeley, Hannah Weiner, Schuyler); Dialectic of
Dialect (Dunbar, Stein, McKay, J.W. Johnson, Tolson, Brown, Hughes,
Vachel Lindsay, Fanny Brice, W.C. Handy, Charley Patton, Toomer, Oscar
Hammerstein II, Gershwin/Heywood, Paul Robeson, Cole Porter, Eliot, McCaffery's
tr. of Marx, Rothenberg's "Horse Songs", Harryette Mullen, David
Antin); MacDiarmid and Bunting; Second Wave/Objectivists Plus
(Reznikoff, Oppen, Zukofsky, Loy, Neidecker, Riding); Ideolect (Mallarmé,
Khlebnikov, Schwitters, Abraham Lincoln Gillespie, Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven,
Cab Calloway's scat, Coolidge, Melnick, Inman, Mac Low).