Charles Bernstein

photo © Ceceilia Gronberg. Stockholm, Weld Gallery, 2011

note for All the Whisky in Heaven | short CV

Charles Bernstein is the author or editor of over 50 books, ranging from full-length collections of poetry and essays to pamphlets, libretti, and collaborations, most recently Near/Miss (2018), Pitch of Poetry (2016), Recalculating (2013) and Attack of the Difficult Poems: Essays and Inventions (2011), from the University of Chicago Press and All the Whiskey in Heaven: Selected Poems (2010) from Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Press, 2011). Recent full-lengtht works of poetry include Girly Man (University of Chicago Press, 2006), With Strings (University of Chicago Press, 2001), and Republics of Reality: 1975-1995 (Sun & Moon Press, 2000). He has published two books of essays and one essay/poem collection: My Way: Speeches and Poems (University of Chicago Press, 1999); A Poetics (Harvard University Press, 1992); Content's Dream: Essays 1975-1984 (Sun & Moon Press, 1986, 1994; reprinted by Northwestern University Press, 2001). Shadowtime (Green Integer, 2005) is the libretto he wrote for Brian Ferneyhough's opera and Blind Witness (Factory School, 2008) collects the libretti he wrote for Ben Yarmolinsky. Forthcoming, Spring 2011: The Attack of the Difficult Poems: Essays & Inventions (University of Chicago Press)

Bernstein is Donald T. Regan Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of Pennsylvania.

He is the co-founder and co-editor, with Al Filreis, of PennSound (; and editor, and co-founder, with Loss Pequenño Glazier, of The Electronic Poetry Center ( He is coeditor, with Hank Lazer, of Modern and Contemporary Poetics, a book series from the University of Alabama Press (1998 - ). He has been host and co-producer of LINEbreak and Close Listening, two radio poetry series. 

With Bruce Andrews, he edited L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, which was anthologized as The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Book (Southern Illinois University Press, 1984). .Bernstein is editor of  American Poetry after 1975 (boundary 2 / Duke, 2010), Louis Zukofsky: Selected Poems (Library of Ame©rica, 2006), Close Listening: Poetry and the Performed Word (Oxford University Press, 1998); The Politics of Poetic Form: Poetry and Public Policy (Roof Books, 1990); 99 Poets/1999: An International Poetics Symposium, a special issue of boundary 2; and Live at the Ear (Elemenope Productions, 1994), an audio poetry anthology. He is the co-author of A Conversation with David Antin (Granary Books, 2002). Bernstein has edited two collections of poetry: "Language Sampler" in Paris Review, No. 86 (1982) and 43 Poets (1984) in Boundary 2 (1986).

From 1990 to 2003, he was David Gray Professor of Poetry and Letters at the State University of New York at Buffalo and Director of the Poetics Program, which he co-founded, with Robert Creeely, Raymond Federman, Dennis Tedlock, and Susan Howe. In 2002, he was appointed SUNY Distinguished Professor (the university's highest rank). Bernstein has been writer-in-residence or visiting faculty at Columbia University, Princeton University, Brown University, Temple University, Bard College, the New School for Social Research, Queens College, and the University of California at San Diego and is an associate faculty member of the Transdisciplinary PhD Program on "Languages, Identities, and Globalization," Faculty of Arts & Sciences, University of Coimbra (Portugal).

Bernstein serves on the board of the Richard Foreman’s Ontological Hysteric Theater. He is an editor, with Régis Bonvicono, of the São Paulo journal Sibila and with Eduard Espina he edits the literary quarterly S/N: NewWorldPoetics. He is on the advisory boards for Ubuweb, boundary 2, Chain, Ugly Duckling Prese, Futurepoem, Arizona Quarterly Review, and Foreign Literature Studies (Wuhan, China)

Anthology appearances include The Norton Anthology of Poetry; The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry; Oxford Anthology of Modern and Contemporary American Poetry, The Norton Anthology of Jewish American Literature The Oxford Book of American Poetry; The Norton Introduction to Literature; The Norton Introduction to Poetry; Poems for the MillenniumThe New Anthoogy of American Poetry, vol. 3; Against Expression; Postmodernisms 1950-Present , From the Other Side of the Century: A New American Poetry 1960-1990; Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology; The Longman Anthology of Poetry: The Best American Poetry 1992, 2002, and 2004;  Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present; Short Fuse: The Global Anthology of New Fusion PoetryAn Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Form; The Body Electric: The Best Poetry from The American Poetry Review, 1972-1999; Language Poetries; In the American Tree; Up Late: American Poetry Since 1970.

Bernstein has written five librettos: Blind Witness News, The Subject: A Psychiatric Opera and The Lenny Paschen Show, with composer Ben Yarmolinsky, and Cafe Buffe, by Dean Drummond. Shadowtime, on the work of Walter Benjamin, was written for composer Brian Ferneyhough and premiered in May 2004 at the Munich Biennale; in 2004 it played at the Fesitival d'Automne in Paris and in 2005 at the Lincoln Center Festival. A CD was issued from NMC in 2006..

He has collaborated with Richard Tuttle on a poem/sculpture and an essay/poem on Tuttle’s work, collaborated with Susan Bee on several artists books; collaborated with Amy Sillman on an animated drawing and a series of poems/images, and with Mimi Gross on a book. In 2002, he curated Poetry Plastique, with Jay Sanders, at the Marianne Boesky gallery and coedited the catalog.

Since the mid-1970s, Bernstein’s poems and essays have been published in over 750 magazines and periodicals. His poetry and essays have appeared in translation, as well, in over one hundred anthologies and periodicals in Mexico, Argentina, Cuba, Brazil, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Denmark, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Russia, China, Korea, and Japan.  Collections of his work have been translated into French, Chinese , Spanish (Mexico, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, Spain, Cuba), Russian , Italian, German (Germany and Austria), Burmese, Dutch, Serbian, Swedish, Portuguese (Brazil), Hungarian, and Finnish.

Over 500 essays and reviews on his work have been published in TLS, The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, The Brooklyn Rail, Entertainment Weekly, PN Review, Critical Inquiry, The Nation, The American Book Review, The American Poetry Review, Contemporary Literature, Jacket, MLN, Poetics Today, Harvard Book Review, and numerous other journals and books. The Salt Companion to Charles Bernstein, ed. William Allegrezza is forthcoming from Salt Publishing.

He has given over 750 readings and lectures/talks since 1975, throughout the world, including France, Finland, Denmark, Italy, Portugal, The Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Serbia, Spain, Canada, Cuba, China, India, South Korea, The Netherlands, Mexico, Brazil, England, Ireland, Sweden, Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, Poland, Hungary, New Zealand, and the U.S.

Bernstein is the recipient of the 2019 Bollingen Prize for American Literature, for lifetime achievement and for Near/Miss. In 2006, Bernstein was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Other rizes include: The Janus Pannonius Grand Prize for Poetry (2015), The Muenster International Poetry Prize (2015), the Roy Harvey Pearce / Archive for New Poetry Prize of the University of California, San Diego (1999); and, at Penn, The 2018-2019 Beltran Family Award for Innovative Teaching & Mentoring at the Kelly Writers House, the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching (2009), and the Dean's Award for Innovation in Teaching in 2005. Fellowships include: New York Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellowship in 1995 and 1990, University of Auckland Foundation Fellowship (1986), the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (1985), the National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship (1980), and the William Lyon McKenzie King Fellowship (at Simon Fraser University) (1973).

From the early 70s to the late 80s, he worked as a writer/editor on healthcare and medical topics, with a break to serve as Associate Director of the CETA Artists Project (the largest postwar American public employment program for artists).

Charles Bernstein was born April 4, 1950 in New York City. He attended the Bronx High School of Science and Harvard College, from which he graduated in 1972. He is married to the painter, Susan Bee, and has two children: Emma (1985-2008) and Felix.

For overview, see
Dictionary of Literary Biography (DLB) entry by Loss Pequeño Glazier
The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poets and Poetry, entry by Logan Esdale (2005)
The Literary Enclyopedia, entry by Nerys Williams (2009)

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Publico ( Lisbon); June 2006