Second Wave Modernism

(a partial survey of poets, bluesmen, lyricists, and comics born between 1889 and 1909)


Charles Bernstein

English 679

Thursdays, 12:30pm, Fall 2001

office hours Thursdays 9:30-11:30, or by appointment



This seminar is a continuation of Modernisms. Other related Poetics syllabi are available at the EPC UB Poetics pages. The Wednesdays at Four Plus series is a supplement to this class and you are encourage to attend, if possible.


WEB RESOURCES: most of the poets named in the syllabus have recourse pages at Cary Nelson's Modern American Poetry web site; additional web resources are also available at Gale Net and at LION on-line, both via the UB library e-resources pages. See also Harlem Renaissance pages and the AAP site.


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.


Required Books at Talking Leaves:

American Poetry: The Twentieth Century, vol.2, from The Library of America

Bruce Andrews, Give Em Enough Rope

__________, Paradise & Method

Alan Golding, From Outlaw to Classic: Canons in American Poetry

Ann Lauterbach:  If in Time: Selected Poems 1975-2000

Cary Nelson, Repression and Recovery : Modern American Poetry and the Politics of Cultural Memory, 1910-1945

Jerome Rothenberg/Pierre Joris, eds., Poems for the Millennium, Vol. 1

            Rothenberg, Poland/1931

Juliana Spahr, Fuck You-Aloha-I Love You

_________,  Everybody's Autonomy


Library Reserve:

Deleuze/Guattari, Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature 

Alan Golding, From Outlaw to ClassicCanons in American Poetry 

Cary Nelson, Repression and Recovery : Modern American Poetry and the Politics of Cultural Memory, 1910-1945 

Jenny Penberthy, ed., Neidecker and the Correspondence with Zukofsky


Key: PM=Poems for the Millennium; LOA2=Library of America vol. 2

L=Library Reserve, PRB=420 Capen


1. (Aug. 30) Introduction


American Poetry: The Twentieth Century, vol.1, from The Library of America

Revolution of the Word: A New Gathering of American Avant Garde Poetry 1914-1945, ed. Jerome Rothenberg.

Reading Lyrics, ed. Robert Kimball and Robert Gottlieb

An Anthology of American Folk Music, ed. Harry Smith (vols 1-3, Smithsonian/Folkways CD; vol. 4, Revenant)


2. (Sept. 6) What Is Minor Literature?

Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature, esp. chap. 3 (X, L)

Franz Kafka (1883-1924), "Before the Law" in PM, p. 134

Cary Nelson, Repression and Recovery (TL, L)

Charles Bernstein/Geoffrey O'Brien on LOA2 (via Muse: boundary 2, 28:2, Summer 2001)


Notes on "What is a Minor Literature"


3. (Sept. 13) [1889- ­­] – [1893-  ]

Claude McKay (1890-1948), Harlem Shadows: The Poems of Claude McKay, with an introduction by Max Eastman via LION: "The Lynching", "The Harlem Dancer", "The Castaways, "The Tropics in New York", "Dawn in New York", "If We Must Die", "Birds of Prey", "Jasmines", "Outcast", "Subway Wind". Plus handout of some poems from Constab Ballads and Songs of Jamaica. (I discuss these poems in  "Poetics of the Americas" in My Way and also in modernism/modernity (3:3, 1996) via Muse.)


Groucho Marx (1890-1977)

One liners transcribed with .wav file; more clips (untranscribed) and some longer routines.

One liners text only

Playboy 1975 interview

Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel: The Marx Brothers' Lost Radio Show (excerpts/handout); RealAudio of final show.


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" (handout; in class as sung by Porter); "Anything Goes", "Night and Day".


Hugh MacDiarmid (1892- 1978):

PM and further reading of the whole poem: Drunk Man Looks at Thistle (LION, vol. I)

from Complete Poems: Volume I (1993)/LION:

"First Hymn to Lenin", "Second Hymn to Lenin", "On The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse", "Why I Choose Red”, “What Have Scotsmen to Fight For?", "Poetry and Science" from Complete Poems: Volume II (1994): "The Kind of Poetry I Want", "British Leftish Poetry, 1930-40"


Rupert Brook (1887-1915), "The Soldier" (1914)

Isaac Rosenberg (1890-1918), Trench Poems: "Break of Day in the Trenches", “Returning, We Hear Larks", "Dead Man's Dump" (LION)

Wilfred Owen (1893-1918): "Dulce et Decorum est", "Greater Love", "Anthem for a Doomed Youth"


Archibald MacLeash (1892-1944) at LION: "Ars Poetica", "Sentiments for a Dedication". Further reading: LOA1 selections: "Cinema of a Man", "Return, You Andrew Marvell", "Epistle to be Left in the Earth", "Voyage West Hugh"


Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950), from LION: "Sorrow", "Bluebeard", "First Fig", "Recuerdo", "Rendevous"; "If I should learn (p. 566), "I think I should have loved you presently" (p. 570), "What lips …" (p. 603), "I, being born woman" (p. 602)


Dorothy Parker (1893-1977): "Coda", Resume", "Men", "Unfortunate Coincidence", "College Boys: A Hymn of Hate" (site), and QUIPS


Further Reading:

Conrad Aiken (1889-1973),  "Morning Song From 'Senlin'", and Aiken at Vulgarian.

Samuel Greenberg (1893-1917), Robert Graves (1895-1985)


Cf. reading from PM for Oct. 3: Anna_Akhmatova (1889-1966), Pierre Reverdy (1989-1960), Max Ernst (1891-1976), Osip Mandelstam (1891-1937), Nelly Sachs (1891-1970), Richard Huelsenbeck (1892-1974), Edith Sodergram (1892-1923), Cesar Vallejo (1892-1938), Vincente Huidobro (1893-1948)


N.B. Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), Walter Benjamin (1892-1940),Fanny Brice (1891-1951)


4. (Sept. 20) Alan Golding visit: "Pound, Olson, and Late Modernist Didacticism"

Golding, From Outlaw to Classic (TL, L)

____ Review of Poems for the Millenium

_____,­ "The Dial, The Little Review and Modernist Canonicity" in The Third Factory

_____, "New, Newer, and Newest American Poetry"

Charles Olson – selections in LOA2 and Poems for the Millennium

Ezra Pound – selection in Poems for the Millennium  plus handout; audio


5. Rescheduled: Class will meet Weds., Sept. 26, 7pm: [1894 -  ] [1899 -]

LOA2, pp. 1-187: cummings (& PM), Jolas, Reznikoff (& PM) (audio), Taggard, Toomer, Gillespie, Crosby,  Wheelwright, Tolson (audio) (& PM); song lyrics/in-class audio (as possible) for Bessie Smith, Gershwin, Harburg, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Hammerstein, Hart, Brecht/Weil , & Brecht/Eisler


PM: David Jones (1895-1974) (full texts at LION); Jacob Glatshteyn (1896-1971)


George Burns (1896-1996) & Gracie Allen (1906-1964)

Routines,  Maxwell House Radio in .ra,


Cf: PM reading for Oct. 3: Garcia Lora (1899-1936), Eugenio Montale (1896-1982), Andre Breton (1896-1966), Antonin Artaud (1896-1948), Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), Henry Michaux (1899-1984), Francis Ponge (1899-1984), George Sefaris (1900-1971)


6. (Oct. 3) Jerome Rothenberg visit: "Poems for the Millennium"

Rothenberg, Poland/1931

Rothenberg & Pierre Joris, eds., Poems for the Millennium, vol. 1 (TL); esp. pp. 390-521, and the "Third Gallery". Specifically for the Second Wave European and South American modernists; Dada/Surrealists (Tzara, Artuad, Desnos, Soupault, Huelsenbeck, Breton, &c); Vallejo & Huidobro; Mandelstam and Akhamatova, Lorca; Montale, Brecht, Ponge, Michaux, Sachs, Nezval, Sefaris, Hikmet.


Rothenberg's other books, at PRB, Lockwood, TL. See especially Pre-faces & Other Writings, That Dada Strain, Lorca Variations.


7.(Oct. 11) Class will begin at noon and end at 2:40:  [1899-  ] – [1902 - ]

LOA2, pp. 188-379: Crane (& PM), Tate, Dahlberg, Winters, Brown (audio), Riding (& in PM), Fearing, Hughes (audio) (& in PM).

song lyrics/poss. in-class audio: Dorsey.

Basil Bunting (1900-1985) in PM, (audio); full text of Briggflats at LION.

PM: Carlos Drummond de Andrade (1902-1988)

Cf: PM (Oct. 3): Robert Desnos (1900-1945).


8. (Oct. 18) Ann Lauterbach visit

Lauterbach, If in Time: Selected Poems 1975-2000

Lauterbach, Theory & Event, and Boston Review, which also has a review of On a Stair.


9. Rescheduled: Weds., Oct. 24 at 7pm with Dominique Fourcade

Jenny Penberthy, ed., Neidecker and the Correspondence with Zukofsky (X, L, 420 Capen)

LOA2 & PM: Neidecker (1903-1970), Zukofsky (1904-1978); & (audio).


10. . (Nov. 1/Nov.8) [1902 - ] – [1909 - ], part 1

LOA2, pp. 396-670: Neidecker & Zukofsky, continued; Rakosi (& PM), Rexroth (& PM), Oppen (& in PM) (audio); Rolfe.

HennyYoungman (1906-1998): One-liners, more one-liners, even more, and some of the same, enuf already!, one last gasp.


11. (Nov. 8) [1902 - ] – [1909 - ], part 2

LOA2:, Cullen (audio), Helene Johnson; Nash; Roethke, Adam, Blackmur, Eberhart; Mercer (songs to be played in class)

PM: Leopold Senghor, Nicolas Guillen, Pablo Neruda

+: Robert Johnson (1911-1938) in LOA2 (p. 767-770) (songs to be played in class)

Song lyrics/poss. in-class audio: Fields, "He's Got Refinement", "A Fine Romance" & Robert Johnson

cf: Gracie Allen, b. 1906; Samuel Beckett (b. 1906)


12. (Nov. 15) Juliana Spahr visit

Spahr, Fuck You-Aloha-I Love You

_________,  Everybody's Autonomy

Juliana Spahr recommends:

Kamu Brathwaite's The History of the Voice (collected in Roots )

Brathwaite's Middle Passage

Marlene Nourbese Philip's work

Diane Glancy's work

James Thomas Stevens/ Tokenish Aronhịtas in the collection Welcome To

Teepee Town, ed. Nowak And Glancy) [Not in Lockwood or P/RB]

In Pacific Area:

Joe Balaz. Ola:

Recent Issues of Oiwi and Hybolics [Not in Lockwood or P/RB]


13. (Nov. 29) Bruce Andrews visit

Andrews, Paradise & Method

______, Give Em Enough Rope


14 (Dec. 6) Last Class