English 262

The Expanded Field of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E
contemporary poetry after 1975

(charles.bernstein @ english.upenn.edu)
FALL 2010
Weds. 6-8:50 pm
KWH, room. 202


The first thing to do is
subscribe to the seminar listserve:
info/sub page •••• list archive •••• posts to poetics@mailman.ssc.upenn.edu

•The second thing to do is
to pick three works to respond to (subject to the need to distribute respondents over all the classes0. Two weeks before the chosen three classes, send one or two quetions for class discussion. (We will start class discussion with the "respondent": questions, comments, leading the discussion.)

My intro the course
(draft encylopaedea entry, 2010)


This syllabus is a work in progress and subject to change.

1. (Sept. 8) Intro & Aram Saroyan
please take a look at Saroyan's work before the first class; for old hands, please send out a post on this, detailing your reaction; for those new to the seminar series, feel free to post questions and responses, but not required!
Aram Saroyan (Random House, 1968)
further reading (as time permits):
Pages (Random House, 1969)
Cloth: An Electric Novel (Big Table, 1971)


2. (Sept. 15) Clark Coolidge & David Melnick
Coolidge Gale intro
My 1978 essay on early Coolidge
PennSound page
"Arrangement" from Code of Signals, from Notebooks 1976-1982 (pp. 43-56)
EPC Coolidge page selected:
from Space, from The Maintains, from Polaroid, from Own Face, from American Ones, from Mine: The One That Enters the Stories, from The Crystal Text, and from At Egypt
Further reading: many full text books from EPC and Eclipse linked at EPC page, various essays linked at EPC page.

David Melnick (1938- ), Men in Aida (homophonic tr. of Illiad) via Eclipse (read opening pages; beyond as time permits)
Pcoet (read opening pages; beyond as time permits)
Men in Aida, Book One
Men in Aida, Book Two
further reading:
Ron Silliman's overview of Melnick's works
Mark Scroggins on Pcoet, including some biographical information

•What is the vocalary of The Maintains and Poloroid (what part of speech are used). How does he use this to create sonic rhythms in these works? What (or where) is the "meaning" here?
•Discuss Coolidge's conception of "Arrangement"
•How does Coolidge use the line break versus prose format in his work?
•Use the poem profiler on Pcoet and discuss results
•What meaning do you find in the poems of Pcoet; what formal devices do you find?
•Give your reaction to homophinic translation; for those of you who know the Zukofsky, dicscuss in that context.

Wreading assingments this week and after:
As a general rule, try to imitate the poems read either in form or style: make poems with similar structures or apply the strutcure to a pre-existing text (another poem from the syllabus; see wreading experiments).
So for this week, try a homophonic translation (see experiments list) after Melnick, or extract the sort of restricted vocabulary of early Coolidge from, say, Mayer (below); or create a Cooliege Space-like "arrangement" poem from other Coolidge works ...

3. (Sept. 22)
Lyn Hejnian and Bernadette Mayer in/as/among the everyday
Lyn Hejinian
My Life (Green Integer, available at Penn Book Center)
Hejinian Close Listening interview and PennSound page
Hejinian EPC page (note Eclipse links to digital books)
Intro to Hejinian by Juliana Spahr (note also Spahr on My Life)
"Rejection of Closure"

Bernadette Mayer
PennSound Close Listening interview and PennSound page
Mayer intro by Peter Baker (DLB)
Memory (via Ecplipse) (read opening pages, as time permits)
Mid-Winter Day (via Twenthieth Century American Poetry e-site) (read opening pages, at time permits)
Further optional readings: More Mayer at "Twenthieth Century American Poetry" (via library e-recources), included her selected poems.
Discussion: compare and contrast (OMG!): Hejinian's measured and programmatic vs Mayer's "free" associative style (as in Memory). Which is more personal? (warning: sophistical question). Write an argument against Hejinian's view of closure. Discuss the role of memory in both poets.
Wreading: Write an imaginary dialogue between Mayer and Hejinian. Or, it's a class of Eng. 111: do a "free write": write as fast as you can without thinking/analyzing/trying to direct thoughts for at least one hour.

4. (Sept. 29) Ron Silliman & Bruce Andrews
PROLOGUE: Mario Savio's 1964 speech, Berkeley"free speech" movement:


Ron Silliman@EPC
PennSound: LINEbreak interview
Tom Marhall DLB intro; Poetry Fdn bio
"Disappearance of the Word, Appearance of the World": read; print (L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Supp. #3 via Eclipse)
Ketjak: pdf download, web doc (first section of The Age of Huts or buy full book from UC Press or read rest at EPC)
"Sitting Up, Standing, Taking Steps" (Tuumba, 1978)
Bruce Andrews@EPC
PennSound: LINEbreak interview & transcript
The Poetics of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E (2001)

"Love Song" #116 (mid-1970s)
Film Noir (1978): sample a few pages ...
Jeopardy (Awede, 1980)
from Live at the Ear: "I Knew the Signs by Their Tents" (1988): (5:43)  text & mp3
The Millennium Project (c. 1990): sample a few pages ...
Mistaken Identity: #1 & #4 (The East Village, 2001)

Discussion: Does the work of these two poets open up or require different approaches to reading than other writing (poetry or prose)? If so, detail. Andrews has written very long works, for example The Millennium Project: what does this scale suggest about readability: does is encourage you to read in different ways or is the work unreadable? Ketjak is structured around each paragraph being double the last and including all the words from the last: how does knowing this affect your reading? What is your reaction to this kind of programmatic form? Jeopardy has an alphabetic arrangement: how does this effect your reading? Discuss and compare the essay styles of the two poets and comment/respond on their essays: what do you agree with most or least? These are both white male writers; how is this (if it is) reflected in their work; is this significant for a reading of their work?
Wreading: Try writing a work in any of the styles of one of these poems. Sample and recombine the poems to make a new work. Use material from Andrews to created a Silliman poem and vice versa (eg compose a Jeopardy-like work with words from Silliman).

5. (Oct. 6) Jorgen Gassilweski and Anna Hallberg (from Sweden)

We will meet in the KWH Arts Café.
Jonas (J) Magnusson, "Some Short Notes on OEI magazine”
, esp. Gassilewski, Eriksson
Henry Parland (1908-1930), tr. Goransson
& more & yet more
Swedish Poetry & Poetics: A Gathering (boundary 2, 2002), includes Fredrik Hertzberg, Gunnar Björling,, Lars-Håka Svensson, Jesper Svenbro, John Matthias, Anders Lundberg, Jesper Olsson, Stig Larsson, Ann Jäderlund, Jörgen Gassilewski, Helena Eriksson, & Lars Mikael Raattamaa
More Bjorling form nypoesi (and link to another intro by Fred Hertzberg)
Lars Mikael Raattamaa: Pajkerno
Ulf Karl Olov Nilsson (UCON) (1965- ), and his "Poetry Bingo"
Öyvind Fahlström; ESSO/LSD, "World Politics (Monopoly)" "Manifesto for Concrete Poetry" (1952-53), "Plans for a World Trade Monopoly" (1970), "Column #3"(1974)
Cia Rime (1973- )(check out first three items and then go to "archives zaroum" (info here and it's the first link after text)
Leevi Lehto (from Helsinki):
"Plurifying the Language of the Trite"
recommended/optional: My Finnish Poetries, Penn,, Feb. 23, 2005
PennSound page)
the four Salutes
my " Besotted Desquamation" in Finnish. (YouTube)
"Of the Help to Her Art" (first Google poem); Four Poems (Jacket)
Poems and translationss (Anny Ballardini's Poet's Corner)
Extract from Päivä (Day, 2004) : In Finnish, and inspired by Kenneth Goldsmith's Day, Lehto has sorted alphabetically by sentence the entire Finnish News Agency feed for August 20, 2003.


Recommended: Weds. Oct. 13

A lunch program with Eilenn Myles on "Inferno"
presented by Feminism/s 12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe
RSVP: to wh@writing.upenn.edu or call 215-746-POEM


7. (Oct. 20) Danny Snelson on Tan Lin &&^!@!!
Danny Snelson will host the seminar this week

(while I am in Korea).
He will update the assignments in a few weeks.
Tan Lin EPC page
note: full texts on line
Tan Lin PennSound
Tan Lin PennSound video
Danny Snelson: my Dear coUntess, assorted online things
Steve Zultansk
Mónica de la Torre &Terence Gower: Appendices, Illustrations &Notes

8  (Oct. 27) Lelie Scalapino
It Go in Horizontal: Selected Poems (at Penn Book Center)
LINEbreak at PennSound and other audio
EPC page: Lyn Hejinian and my memorial/intro essays; complete pdfs of early books; Scalapino on Whalen
Elizabeth Frost, DLB intro

9. (Nov. 3) Arkaadi Dragomoschenko visit at 6pm in KWH.
Dragomoshchenko in 99 Poets/1999
PIP bio and tr. by Genya Turovskaya
from Description, tr. Lyn Hejinian and Elena Balashova (Sun & Moon Press,1990)
Henjinian/Dragomoshchenko dialog
via Jacki Ochs's Exchange (Bomb, 1994)
PMC symposium (1993) & AD's "Phosphor"
from Dust
and another section at Google preview on Dalkey Archive Press page for book.
on Creeley
AD on PennSound
Elena Shvarts (1947-2010, Leningrad/St. Petersburg)
Stephanie Sandler on Shvarts
Guadian obit
from Dalkey Anthology, tr. Margo Shohl Rosen, pp. 35-41
Memorial Candle
Conversation with a Cat
A Child in the Ghetto Surrounded by Letters
Translated by Stephanie Sandler    
Free Ode
A Portrait of the Blockade
Translated by James McGavran
Alexi Parshchikov (1954-2009)
Arkadii Dragomochenko on Parschikov
"If I'm to Peddle Stories" (99 Poets / 1999)
Chamblis-Ostashevsky-tr_2009 (Penn only)
Dalkey Anthology, tr. F.D. Reeve (pp. 180-189)
Platt/Perelman draf tr. (Penn only)
Aleksandr Skiddan (1965- )
The Resistance of/to Poetry (99 Poets / 1999)
from Red Shifting (Ugy Duckling Presse)
Skiddan int. Leonard Schwarts @ PennSound
"Poetry in the Age of Total Communication"

10. (Nov. 10)

Wild Lyric
Michael Palmer: "Sun" text and audio; selected poems LION; Rosenthal int
Palmer intro by Keith Tuuma
Ann Lauterbach

PennSound page: Close Listening
Mei-mei Berssenbrugge
PennSound: Close Listening
EPC page
DLB intro
Recommended: I Love Artists: New and Selected Poems; but e-version of early poems pp. 1-14.
Poems linked from EPC page ("writings")
Close Listening shows
interview with Zhou Xiaojing
Catriona Strang, Low Fancy (Toronto: ECW Press, 1993)
WIll Alexander: http://www.alligatorzine.be/pages/051/zine93.html
P. Inman
Peter Gizzi
Vernonica Forrest-Thomson, "Cordelia"(from late 1970s)






11. (Nov. 17)

Performance, Translation, Tranformation:McCaffery, Bergvall, Morris,
Caroline Bergvall
EPC page / Bervall author page

Bergvall at PennSound:
•Studio 111 (Close Listening) reaidng and conversation
•What Do We Mean by Performance Writing?   
•"Via" & text (note text not linked at PennSound page!)
•Shorter Chaucer Tales
•"About Face": Early working notes towards Goan Atom 2 (2000); opening section
>>Marjorie Perloff on "Via" and "About Face" (pp. 221-24)
>>Brian Reed: Lost already walking: Caroline Bergvall's VIA)
"Say Parsley" (Shibboleth) & Video: Data piece conceived for the siting of our installation at MuHKa, Museum of Contemporary Arts (Antwerp, 28 May- 17 August 2008). The list of written Flemish, French and English words tries to match the spoken English list.
bpNichol, Translating Translating Apollinaire
Steve McCaffery
LINEbreak at PennSound, EPC
DLB intro
"The Unreadable Text" from Code of Signals pp. 64-99
"The Kommunist Manifesto or Wot We Wukkers Want": MP3 & TEXT. This is a translation into Yorkshire dialect of Marx & Engels' Communist Manifesto
Homolinguistic translation: "101 0s 1n" (1979) (3:08): MP3
Namings (1997) (14:00): MP3
"The Curve to Its Answer," from Theory of Sedomnet, & audio: Jan. 11, 1985 (5:10): MP3 (Live at the Ear)
"Cappucino: a Suffix Structure" (20090 (2:55) : MP3
Zaum Acrostic for Marjorie Perloff (2009) (5:29) : MP3
Opening pages of "Lag"

Robert Kelly's Celan
Lois-Ann Yamanaka: Hawai'i pidgen poem)
"Sista Boss of the Food" (
"Dead Dog Rip", "My Eyes Adore You"
Tracie Morris

12. (Nov. 24) Artists's Books, meet at library
my granery intro
Susan Bee, Johanna Drucker,
Drucker on-line

13. (Dec. 1) O'Sullivan, Raworth, Mullen
O'Sullivan, and perhaps some pieces frm Companion -- my intro, Romana
from O'Sullivan's web page: Murmur, "All Origins Are Lonely" (and see note on these). and "own land" (from Waterfalls).
from Red Shift (99 Poets / 1999)
"Courtship of Lapwings"

Maggie O'Sullivan salt companion

EPC page
Contemporary Authors intro
99 Poets / 1999
Supplement to EPC page (optional): Interview 2000 African-American Review

14. (Dec. 8) Last Class
Padgett -- Clear the Range; sel poems LION
Susan Holbrook.
Rod Smith
Mesmer, "Annoying Diebetic Bitch): youtube and text; poem talk
Drew Gardner, Chicks Dig War: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDgy0PBr8lg; text http://www.marscafe.com/write-now/poem.html
Rod Smith, Protective Immediacy (Roof, 1999)
Gary's poetry hot line poem.
Tan Lin: Index
Paul Violi "Index" poems, an instruction manual, a travel guide, a quiz or examination, etc.
See Nick Thurston's Historia Abscondita (pdf), an appopriated index work.


Robert Smithson, "A Heap of Language" (1966); commentary by Richard Sieburth

Allen Fisher, The Poetics of Complexity Manifold (99 Poets/1999)
Leans pdf in library!Bob Cobbing

Farrell Inkblot Record excerpt; flash version
Dan Farrell’s The Inkblot Record (Coach House, 2000)** collates and alphabetizes responses to the Rorschah Test from six source texts, published in New York between 1942 and 1989. The result is about 100 pages of block text (left and right margins aligned) with no paragraph breaks or any indication of differentiation from one section to the next. The text is punctuated, however, with anaphora, by repeated first words or phrases.
K. Silem Mohammad, Deer Head Nation. In Deer Head Nation, Mohammad uses the Google search page result as his basic text, editing from there: “You punch a keyword or keywords or phrase into Google and work directly with the result text that gets thrown up. I paste the text into Word and just start stripping stuff away until what’s left is interesting to me, then I start meticulously chipping away at and fussing with that.”
FLARF: A recent extension of this approach, which is developing independently, is called "flarf." Michael Magree explains, in this Experiments List exclusive report, "The Flarf Files." See also: a negative view of Flarf &
Jacket's Flarf fearture
Deer Head and Sonnagrams
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEFqi1tvkaIInterviews with K. Silem Mohammad about Sonnagrams
With Luke Degnan from BOMBLOG
the book http://slackbuddha.com/chapbooks/la_perruque/sonnagrams.html
Kit Robinson. The Dolch Stanzas.
Originally published in 1976 by ThisThe Dolch Stanzas. The work is available in three versions from Whalecloth:
page-throughscroll-through, and PDF format.
•Issue #1 and Issue #2 (Steve McLaughlin, Jim Carpenter)


MULLENDialectic, Multilect

Mullen "Muse & Drudge"
Spahr essayMullen
Mullen: http://proxy.library.upenn.edu:2189/stable/303900 b2
Andrews: White trash and ..Perfromance
from Live at the Ear: "I Knew the Signs by Their Tents." recorded March 12, 1988. (5:43)  text & mp3

•Tracie Morris,
"Chain Gang,"  "From Slave Sho to Video aka Black but Beautiful,"  & "It All Started"
Jordan Scott: http://interactive.nfb.ca/#/flubandutter


Henry Hills

video of
Mario Savio

Diane Ward Tender Arc and Nine-Tenths of Our Body) from Code of Signals, edited by Michael Palmer (PDF file at Duration Press, pp. 37-42)




"Abosrption" entry for PEPP
Library: Mullen essays and Nielsen anthology
boundary 2 issue as text, framing each section with one essay.



(or constrainsts with Bok)



Gizzi and WIllis lyric poss: Liz's essay in b2




Will Alexander


Conceptual Poetry


EPC Sound Poetry Index:

New Canadian Poetry & 'pataphysics

Bok, McCaffery, Dewdney, Robertson, Davies, Derksen, MacCormack, Strang, Wershler-Henry, Kevin Davies


PennSound Page
Brathwaite "Sowetto"

PLASMA / Barrett Watten. 1979

Etheridge Knight:
Poetry Foundation: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poet.html?id=81870
The Warden Said to Me the Other Day; audio at PennSound
For Eric Dolphy; audio at PennSound
Con/tin/u/way/shun Blues
A Poem for World Brotherhood
A Poem for Myself, audio at PennSound

Lucille Clifton
Tyrone 1 to Willie B in toc at LION for Good Times
for Good News About the Earth Heros whole sequence
from An Ordinary Women

Coolidge: Oflengths -- at Eclipse! Tottel's 11


Drucker/ Rare Books room meeting / Granary Books

New Canadian Poetry

McCaffery, MacCormack, Dewdney, Davies, Dersken, Roberstson


Kevin Davies

Mario Savio speech YouTube

Bern Porter

Tracie Morris




•Discuss the poetics articulated by Hejinian and Silliman, in Hoover poetics and their views, along with Andrews's, in the LINEbreak programs. What do you see as the relation of the poetics to the poems? Which “poetics” did you like the best? Find most interesting? Found most provocative?
• “My Life”: Write down a set of autobiographical sentences. Arrange them in nonsequential orders.
•Procedural form (writing a poem according to some prescribed numeric pattern): try for example a Fibonacci (cf.  Silliman’s Tjanting): 1,1,2,3,5 to construct the units of a poem: words, phrases, lines, sentences. Invent new material or use anthologies for source texts.
•Serial sentences:  Select one sentence each from a variety of different books or other sources or from the anthologies.  Add sentences of your own composition.  Combine into one paragraph, reordering to produce the most interesting results.
•The Andrews System: Use a small cut-up blank pages or pad or memo book; over the week, write down from a couple of words to at most a couple of phrases on each page. Shuffle the pages to lose any temporal sequence. From the results, compose a poem.