Material Poetics

English 633 / Comp Lit 721
Thursdays 12:30-3:10, 438 Clemens Hall
Fall 1999
Charles Bernstein
office hours Wednesdays, 9-10, Thursdays 10-11:00, or by appointment

Requirements: Weekly short response paper; one or more longer responses, to be presented in class, to guest speakers or assigned or recommended book. Final paper or project. 

Please post responses and additional comments on the seminar reading or classes on our listserve, CORE-L. Participation in CORE-L is an essential part of the class. (Send message to "" that says "sub core-l Jill Jillway" substituting your name for Jill Jillway.)

KEY: TL=Talking Leaves, X=handout, R=Reserve

1. Sept. 2 (Introduction)

2. Sept. 9 Embodied Poetics
William Carlos Williams, The Embodiment of Knowledge (TL) (R) 
Wallace Stevens, Preface to Williams's Collected Poems (X), "The Noble Rider and the Sounds of Words," from Necessary Angel (X) 
Robert Creeley, "A Quick Graph" (X) 

Williams, Spring and All (collected in Imaginations) (R) 
Williams, In the American Grain
Stevens, Necessary Angel; Opus Posthumous, poetics section 

Further Reading: T.S. Eliot, selected literary essays

3. Sept. 16 Griffiths / Bunting / Pound / UK
Bill Griffiths Talk(12:30-2): "Translation: Centralised Collection or Invigorating Dispersal?"
Griffiths, Nomad Sense (TL) 
Griffiths, tr. Guthlac (TL) 
Griffiths in 99 Poets/1999 (TL) 
Allen Fisher in 99 Poets/1999
Griffiths (X), as he explains: brief texts and translations from Welsh poetry (probably from The Gododdin), from Anglo-Saxon (Beowulf and Guthlac probably), from Latin (Claudian), and [poss.] bit of Gilgamesh. This would lead us on to general points of poetics, and there are texts like Smart's Jubilate Agno that are capable of class-performance, and would break up the session with some activity.
Basil Bunting, selection from his poetics in Basil Bunting: Man and Poet (X) 
Eric Mottram, "Official Poetry and Conformist Entertainment" in The L= Bk
Ezra Pound, "Vortex", "A Retrospect" (X) 
Keith Tuma, "What Not to Make of Eric Mottram": Questions and Remarks on Contemporary British and American Poetry"

Ric Caddel and Peter Quarterman, eds., Other: British and Irish Poetry since 1970
Griifths' web site, about Griffiths , additional poems, Jacket
Pound and Bunting EPC homepages 
Rothenberg on Pound , Mac Low on Pound
Mac Low, Words nd Ends from Ez

4. Sept. 23 Stein
Gertrude Stein, How to Write (TL) 
Gertrude Stein, "Composition as Explanation" and "An Elucidation" (X) 
"Reading Stein" section of The L= Book

Gertrude Stein Reader, ed. Ula Dydo 
Lectures in America
EPC Stein page

5. Sept. 30 Zukofsky / Riding
Riding, "Introduction" to Collected Poems and "Poetry: A Lying Word" (X) 
Louis Zukofsky, "An Objective," "A Statement for Poetry", "Poetry: For My Son When He Can Read" from Prepositions (X) 
Creeley on LZ from A Quick Graft (X) 
John Taggart, "Come, Shadow, Come" in Beach 
Ron Silliman, Ronald Johnson, Bob Grenier, Bob Perelman on Zukofsky: The L= Book (290-295) 

Zukofsky page at EPC
Bob Perelman, The Trouble with Genius (chapters on Stein, Zukofsky, Pound) 
John Taggart, Songs of Degrees

6. Oct. 7 New American Poetics
David Antin, "What It Means to be Avant Garde" in Beach
Robin Blaser, "The Violets: Charles Olson and Alfred North Whitehead" (X) 
Clark Coolidge, "Some Eigner Notes" in The L= Book (224) 
Robert Creeley, "A Note on Poetry", "A Note", "Poems Are Complex" "'I'm Given to Write Poems'"(X)
Maria Damon, on Bob Kaufman, in Beach 
Larry Eigner, "Approaching Things" and forum response p.151 in The L= Book
Gerrit Lansing, "The Burden of Set" (X) 
Jackson Mac Low, "Museletter" in The L= Book (26)
Frank O'Hara, "Personisim: A Manifesto" (X) 
Charles Olson, "Projective Verse", "Proprioception" (X) 
Adrienne Rich, "When the Dead Awake" and "Women and Honor: Some Noes on Lying" (X), from On Lies, Secrets, and Silence (X) 
Jerome Rothenberg, "Big Jewish Book" in The L= Book, "Poetry In The 1950s As A Global Awakening" 
Hannah Weiner, "Capitalist Useless Phrases after Endless", in The L= Bk

Poetics of the New American Poetry, ed. by Donald Allen & Warren Tallman and related poetics section of New American Poetry
Additional web resources at EPC author pages for Creeley, Mac Low, Rothenberg, and Weiner (includingLINEbreak interviews) and for Spicer, Eigner and Duncan 
Amiri Baraka Web Site
The Recovery of the Public World: Essays in Honor of Robin Blaser, ed. Watts and Byrne 
Robin Blaser¸ "The Practice of Outside" in Collected Books of Jack Spicer
Robert Creeley, Collected Essays
Robert Duncan, Fictive Certainties
Larry Eigner, Areas Lights Heights: Writings 1954-1989, ed. Friedlander 
Charles Olson, Collected Prose, ed. Allen and Friedlander
Jerome Rothenberg, Pre-Faces & Other Writings
Dianr and Jerome Rothenberg, Symposium of the Whole
Jack Spicer, The House that Jack Built: The Collected Lectures, ed. Peter Gizzi; see also excerpt in Jacket
Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrets, and Silence

7. (Oct. 14) Some North American Poetics of the Late 90s
Jeff Derksen Talk: "Poetry and Other Rearticulatory Practices"
Derksen, Dwell (TL) 
Derksen, ed. Open Letter 10:2, 1998 (TL) 
Scott Pound & Peter Jaeger, ed, Open Letter (Summer 1999) (TL) 
Derksen interview and an essay, "Unrecognizable Texts: From Multicultural to Antisystemic Writing" *
A Poetics of Criticism, ed. Spahr, Wallace, Prevallet, and Rehm 
Chloroform, ed. Nick Lawrence and Alissa Mayer 
Tripwire #1 and #2 
Shark #1 and #2 
Writing from the New Coast: Technique, ed. Juliana Spahr and Peter Gizzi (Oblek #13) 
Additional Derksen poems at and an interview plus essay 

8. Oct. 21: Fourcade; Mallarmé Valery, Ponge
Fourcade talk: "Toute Arrive: Mallarmé and Manet"

Fourcade, XBO (TL), "Little Page for Pina" (X)
99 Poets/1999: French section (Alferi, et al) 
& these selections by Nick Piombino: 
Stephane Mallarmé, "The Crisis of Poetry" and "The Demon of Analogy" (X) 
Francis Ponge, "The Object Is Poetics" (X) 
Paul Valéry, "Note-Book B 1910" (X) 

9. Oct. 28 Wittgenstein's Poetics
Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations (TL) (R) 

LW, Culture and Value
Marjorie Perloff, Wittgenstein's Ladder (first chapter )
LW on web

10. Nov. 4 George Lakoff Seminar Visit
Lakoff, Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought (TL) (R) 
Read in and around Lakoff on the web: 
Paris, Sixties, WWCD, UMD, SFSU

11. Nov. 11 Hejinian talk: "The Language of Inquiry"
Hejinian, The Cold of Poetry (TL) 
____, from The Language of Inquiry (X) 
____, "If Written Is Writing"" in The L= Bk 
____, "Strangeness" in Beach (TL) 
Hejinian at EPC, including LINEbreak interview

12. Nov. 18 L= & the Beach
Selections from The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Book (TL): 
"Poetics and Language" (pp. 3-115) 
Ron Silliman, "Disappearance of the Word" (133) 
Steve McCaffery, "from the Notebooks" (159) 
Lorenzo Thomas, "Is It Xerox of Is It Memorex" (169)
Hannah Weiner, "Capitalist Useless Phrases After Endless" (170) 
Lynne Dreyer (221) 
Christopher Beach, Artifice and Indeterminacy (TL), all not listed above 

EPC author pages and LINEbreak interviews for Andrews, Howe, McCaffery, Scalapino, and Silliman; EPC pages for Grenier and Piombino 
Claims for Poetry, ed. Donald Hall 
Conversant Essays: Contemporary Poets on Poetry, ed. James McCorkle
Disembodied Poetics, ed. Anne Waldman and Andrew Schelling
Jimmy and Lucy's House of "K", ed. Ben Friedlander and Andrew Schelling 
(How)ever, ed. Kathleen Fraser, et al.
L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, vol. 4 
Poetics Journal, ed. Hejinian and Wattern 
Bob Perelman, ed. Writing/Talks, ed. 
Michael Palmer, ed, Code of Signals
Mary Margaret Sloan, ed ., Moving Borders, poetics section 
Ron Silliman, ed., In the American Tree, "Second Front" (poetics section) 

Bruce Andrews, Paradise and Method
Alan ADavies, Signage
Rachel Blau DuPlessis, The Pink Guitar
Susan Howe, My Emily Dickinson, The Birth-mark, Pierce-Arrow
Kathleen Fraser, Translating the Unspeakable
Hank Lazer, Opposing Poetries 
Nathaniel Mackey, Discrepant Engagement
Steve McCaffery, North of Intention
Nick Piombino, Boundary of Blur, Theoretical Objects
Leslie Scalapino, The Public World/Syntacticaly Impermanence, How Phenomena Appear To Unfold, Objects in the Terrifying Tense Longing from Taking Place
Lorenzo Thomas, Extraordinary Measures
Barrett Watten, Total Syntax
Ron Silliman, The New Sentence

13. Dec. 2 99 Poets/1999
99 Poets/1999 (boundary 2) (TL) 

Phillip Foss and Charles Bernstein, ed., Patterns/Contexts/Time (Tyuonyi, 1990)
Jerome Rothenberg, "Pre-Face to A Secret Location on the Lower East Side" 

14. Dec. 9 (Last Class): Poetics on the Web
Poetics@, ed. Joel Kuszai (TL)

I don't include references to my own essays in the syllabus, but for single-author pieces on poets from the modernist generations to the New Americans, see: on Williams , Content's Dream; on Stein, A Poetics and My Way; on Riding and on Olson, Content's Dream and My Way; on Pound, A Poetics and My Way; on Weiner, Content's Dream (also in L= Bk) and My Way; on Eigner, My Way; on Creeley, Content's Dream and Review of Contemporary Fiction XV:3 (1995). Also on Wittgenstein see Content's Dream, on Wittgenstein and Stein see Gertrude Stein Advanced, ed. Kostelanitz. 

Required Books at Talking Leaves:
Andrews & Bernstein, eds., The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Book
Christopher Beach, ed., Artifice and Indeterminacy
Bernstein, ed. 99 Poets/1999 (boundary 2 26:1, 1999)
Jeff Derksen, Dwell
Jeff Derksen, ed., Open Letter (Tenth Series, No. 1, 1998)
Dominique Fourcade, Xbo
Bill Griffith, Nomad Sense
Griffiths, tr. Guthlac B
Lyn Hejinian, The Cold of Poetry
Joel Kuszai, ed., Poetics@
George Lakoff, Philosophy in the Flesh (also on reserve)
Scott Pound & Peter Jaeger, ed., Open Letter (1999)
Gertrude Stein, How to Write
William Carlos Williams, The Embodiment of Knowledge (also on reserve) 
Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations (also on reserve)

Supplemental reading:
Mary Ann Caws, ed., Manifesto: A Century of Isms
Martin Puchner,Poetry of the Revolution: Marx, Manifestos, and the Avant-Gardes
MLA Poetics essay: bibliography (2006)