English 795 Com Lit 622
Charles Bernstein

Fall 2018

The “blank” seminar is an occasion for exchange among participants. There will no pre-existing syllabus. Each meeting will be animated by the concerns of those present, extended into an active listserv discussion between meetings.  Participants will determine the course of the discussion and reading week to week, posting their own work and suggested reading. A few sessions will be devoted to workshopping essays by participants, perhaps going over a single paragraph in depth and considering alternatives, as in Queneau's Exercises in Style. The open-ended discussion will range from the political and cultural moment, pedagogy (wreading experiments, poem profiler), as well as historical and contemporary particulars of poetry and poetics. Collaborations welcome.

An ongoing theme will be negative dialectics and the poetics of blank in its many and shifting senses. "Nothing is the force that renovates the world." Perhaps together we can make "nothing happen."

Tues. Sept. 25 (Bromige), Oct. 22, Nov. 30 (Lange). 

Blank though it's called, some events are scheduled:

September 25 we will attend the launch/reading for David Bromige's if wants to be the same as is: The Essential David Bromige at the Kelly Writers House. We will continue on at KWH with a "blank" or open space for conversation, not necessarily related to the event.

October 30: Norbert Lange, German poet and translator of Oppen, Rothenberg, and me will read at KWH and join us, after the reading, at which time we can possibly doing a group translation or otherwise talk about the poetics of translation.

Nov. 13: Eugene Ostashevsky, poet and translator of the OBERU group (Kharmes, Vved ensky) and Alexander Skiddan, will be joing the group as our special guest, hosted also by Kevin Platt. Ostachevsky lives in Berlin but is in New York for this semester. He reads the next say at noon at KWH.

Oct. 22: Douglas Kearney will be speaking at KWH as part of Davy Knittle's City Plannng Poetics series. Kearney will be joined by Brian Goldstein. Kearney will stay on to talk with us and Davy will also fill us in on his approch to poetics and urban planning. Kearney reads the night before at KWH.

A requirement for the class will be an original work (which may include section of a dissertation). Sections to be posted over the course of semester.

In place of a preface ...

Each member of the group may suggest a set of reading, which will be added here. How -- or if -- we address such suggested reading will be discussed as part of the seminar.
Possible reflections might begin with
Syllabi 1989-2018
Great Moments in Tache Blanc" & "this poem intentionally left blank"
Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898), Un coup de dés 

participants send me events to list here (under constuction)
October 17 -- Rae Armantrout reading KWH, 6pm
October 18 -- Disability Poetics confernce, organized by Orchid & Ari, with Michael Davidson, Jennifer Bartlett, and others. 10am to 6pm.
Nov. 1 -- Lytle Shaw and Jason Camelot on sound studies, organized by Chris
Nov. 14 -- Launch for Near/Miss at Penn Book Center, 6pm.


Dickinson, 1883

Duchamp: Fresh Widow (1920) & 1916-17


Arakawa, Point Blank (Tube, Twisted Tube, Broken Tube), 1968