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Charles Bernstein

Curated talk series:
New York Talk (Winter/Spring 1984)
St. Mark's Talks (Fall 1984 - Spring 1986)
The Politics of Poetic Form (Fall 1988)

Talks (and interviews)

"On Theatricality" (incomplete); Aug. 23, 1979; Catskill, New York; with Marshall Reese and Kirby Malone; see essay and transcription (from 1981) in Content's Dream: Essays 1975-1989 (15:42)

"Politics and Language" -- talk and discussion, The Institute for Policy Studies, DC, 1981 (1:25:47): MP3
with P. Inman and Lynne Dreyer

Bernstein in conversation with Bruce Andrews and Ron Silliman, March 6, 1981

  1. oppositional writing (9:09): MP3
  2. our relationship to a community and "highbrow" hegemonic culture (6:24): MP3
  3. considering the possibility of and what could be defined as ruling class poetry (9:02): MP3
  4. writers, class, and downward social mobility (12:01): MP3
  5. leisure time, the new flaneur, and the work experience (7:58): MP3
  6. the project of writing and dealing with an experience (4:06): MP3
  7. group definitions and social formations (7:30): MP3
  8. Ron Silliman reading "Poem" by Ron Padgett (0:18): MP3
  9. on Ron Padgett's "Poem" (7:26): MP3
  10. the break between Black Mountain & St. Mark's and reformulating positions between social groups (6:33): MP3
  11. correspondence and conversation (4:05): MP3
  12. interpersonal relationships and social formations (14:33): MP3
  13. a self assessment of the conversation and tape (8:10): MP3
  14. 17th century prose and the "clear style" (4:09): MP3
  15. contextualizing and highlighting the political dimensions of the poetry one writes (8:09): MP3
  16. on the term "language poetry" and making generalizations (4:50): MP3
  17. composition as explanation (4:13): MP3
  18. the influence of class background (13:58): MP3

Part 1 (44:37): MP3
Part 2 (44:43): MP3
Part 3 (43:32): MP3

"Characterization" presented at New Langton Arts (80 Langton Street), San Francisco, c. January 30, 1983 (text subsequently published in Content's Dream (1:33): MP3
A reading and performance was also presented as part of from this residency.
From the Talk Series curated by Bob Perelman

Nina Zivancevic interviews Douglas Messerli and Bernstein, 1983: (2 1/2 hrs): MP3 | text

Talk on the long poem, 1984, Long Liners conference, York University, Canada: (42:43): MP3
pulished in Open Letter

"Artifice of Absorption" at Kootenay School of Writing, Vancouver, 1985

"What is a Poet? Blood on the Cutting Room Floor," University of Alabama - October 19, 1984 (1:12:45): MP3

SUNY Buffalo - April 14, 1988: Radical Poetics Conference
Talking version what became "Optimism and Critical Excess" (plus dicussion and related material)
(starts with reading of "Kiwi Bird in Kiwi Tree")
part 1 (47:17): MP3
part 2 (48:48): MP3

"Comedy and the Poetics of Political Form," December 21, 1988, New School (NY), from The Politics of Poetic Form series.

  • talk (1:04:00): MP3
  • discussion (1:06:30): MP3

"Reznikoff's Nearness" (on Charles Reznikoff) at Objectivist conference at Royaumont (literary center, France), transation by Piere Alferi, introduction by Emmanuel Hocquard; September 30, 1989 (early talking version of the essay)(1:32:00): MP3. See also Jacket2 post on this recording.

"The State of American Poetry", PEN American Center, with Amy Clampitt, Donald Hall, Martin Espada, Molly Peacock (NY) (1990): MP3

Naropa Archive: "The Second War and Postmodern Poetry," July 12, 1991 (from A Poetics) (1:20:03): MP3

"Poetic Invention and the Art of Immemorability," a talk (job talk for Penn appointment), Kelly Writers House, November 27, 2001 (1:01:33): MP3

"Making Words Visible" (extended with discussion), University of California, Santa Barbara, Feb. 9, 2004 (poor sound quality): (1:07) MP3

"Thank You for Saying Thank You" [youtube] from SoundEye Fesitival, 2005 (montage of poem and  interview about Shadowtime from film by Adam Wyeth and Keith Walsh

"The Task of Poetics, the Fate of Innovation, and the Aesthetics of Criticism," Dec. 1, 2006, Univeristy of Chiago

"What, Me Conceptual?," Conceptural Poetry & Its Others, Poetry Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, June 2008.

Fulcrum Debate with Frank Bidart, Massachusetts Poetry Festival, Lowell, MA, October 11, 2008:
conversation (ends abruptly) (57:18): MP3   /   glitch coda (12:52): MP3
PennSound Daily entry on this recording

Ola Stahl: COUNTING EACH STEP OF THE SUN; 2009 interview (mirrored from site no longer available)

Simon Fraser University: "Sound Tools for Sound Living," January 8, 2010
Three essays: "Making Audio Visible," "Hearing Voices," and "The Bound Listener" plus Q&A
recorded by Fred Wah. MP3

ArtSpeak Gallery, Vancouver: "Is Art Criticism 50 Years Behind Poetry, or Aren't You the Kind that Tells," January 9, 2010 (Speakeasy series)
slide presentaiton of collaborations with Susan Bee, Mimi Gross, RIchard Tuttle, followed by talk on poetry/criticism verbal/visual and discussion.

Norman Fischer & Bernstein on Radical Poetics and Secular Jewish Practice, at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center, May 11, 2010

  • broadcast: MP3
  • full program: MP3

Dongguk University, Seoul, Oct. 19, 2010 (152 minutes): video
"Transnationalism and Cultural Translation: Distinguished Lecture Series and Symposium"
•Introduced by Brother Anthony. Poster here (pdf)
•Begins with lecture by Prof. Youngmin Kim on "Poetry and Typography/Topology: The Poetics of the Grid/Klein Bottle in Transnational 20thPoetry in English.”
•Then Bernstein talk/reading/discussion on poetry, sound, and technology starts at 40', talking through three essays: "The Art of Immemorability," " Making Audio Visible: Poetry's Coming Digital Presence," and
"Hearing Voices," (all collected in Attack of the Difficult Poems). At 66' there is a reading of "Most Frequently Words in Girly Man in Descending Order," at 72' "In Particular,". This is followed by discussion, and then ending, at 146': with a reading of “Azoot D'Puund.”

PennState University, Dec. 3, 2010, from The Attack of the Difficult Poems; MP3
Starts with sound track to "What Makes a Poem a Poem," Yellow Pages, and "The Answer"; then to readings from book: "The Difficult Poem," "Invention Follies," intro to American Studies Association of Korea keynote (on Obama and the "more perfect"), and Zukosky excerpt from "Objectivist Blues," followed by discussion.

Poetry in 1960: A Symposium, on On My Eyes by Larry Eigner, Kelly Writers House, Dec. 6, 2010

Dominique Fourcade and Charles Bernstein in conversation, "La poétique, l'écriture de la poésie et l'invention du modernism" (Poetics, the writing of poetry, and the invention of modernism), Gertrude Stein colloquium at the Matisse, Cézanne, Picasso... L’aventure des Stein" at the Grand Palais in Paris (same as "The Steins Collect" in SF and NY), Oct. 21, 2011. (1:05:45): MP3

essay for Performance Art Journal 100th anniversay issue, from "Invention Follies" (Attack of the Difficult Poems), for Dec. 12, 2011 (5:16): MP3

Ropes Lecture Series in Digital Humanities, University of Cincinnati, February 2, 2012 (with Kenneth Goldsmith

Reading and discussion of Charles Reznikoff's "Amelia" for Library of Congress, The Poetry of American Identity: Work and Industry, 7/29/12: MP3

"The 'Pataque(e)rical Imperative," Concordia University, Montreal, October 25, 2012 (50:23): MP3
intro by Darren Wershler
(a ppt projection accompanied this "shuffle card" performance (text derived from radomized index card sections).  

American Philosophical Society Celebration of Marjorie Perloff, KWH, UPenn, November 10, 2012 (8:26): MP3

Interview with David Wilk on WritersCast on L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, Feb. 2014, 47:53: MP3

On Experiment with Stephen Burt, Rutgers conference April 10, 2014
Burt, Contolled Experiment (28:34): MP3
Bernstein, Experience as Experiment (28:58): MP3
Discussion (32:37): MP3
full program (1:30): MP3

"Tender Buttons" at 100 Celebration, Kelly Writers House, October 1, 2014
Charles Bernstein (15:26): MP3

"Acoustic Materialities" at UNAM, Mexico City, April 17, 2015 (1:15:35): MP3

Interviewed by Jay Sanders at The Kitchen, June 11, 2015 (Close Listening) (32:25): MP3

"Pitch of Poetry" Preface, The Kitchen, 6-11-15: MP3

Threads Talk Series The Book Undone: Thirty Years of Granary Books, New York City, 16 September, 2015 (7:39): MP3

Talk and reading on Ezra Pound and Bollingen Prize at the Library of Congress, Oct. 30, 2015 (video)

Poetics Program: the first 15 Years, talk at Poetics@25, SUNY-Buffalo, April 9, 2016: MP3

“Outside of Tune, Inside of Time,” Glasgow, October 8, 2016. Video by Nicole Peyrafitte. Response to the “Outside In/ Inside Out” Conference and Jerome Rothenberg’s John Bloomberg-Rissma’s anthology Barbaric Vast & Wild: A Gathering of Outside & Subterranean Poetry from Origins to Present. A talk on outsiders, the excluded, and the alien in pursuit of a robust poetics of identify and disability; including a discussion of the limits of oppositionality for its own sake, the way outsiders are often the “new” insiders, Blake’s “The Grey Monk” and Milton “On His Blindness” (in response to Nuala Watt), the dialogic in Technicians of the Sacred; and including performances of Harry Partch and John Clare and readings of “Before Time” and from Pitch of Poetry on Maggie O’Sullivan and from Jennifer Bartlett, along with a the list pataquericals.
YouTube link.
PennSound link: mp4

On Leevi Lehto for Sept. 28, 2017 tribute to Lehto in Helsinki (video)

"Against Storytelling / Before Time," India International Center and Ashoka University, "Against Storytelling" symposium, New Delhi, Feb. 24, 2018
Files courtesy of Obieg magazine #8, where this material was first published
Talk (MP3) (41:51), discussion (MP3) (11:48), "Now Time" coda (WAV file!) (0:25) YouTube of full symposium.

Conversation with Norbert Lange at the Berlin Poetry Festival, May 25, 2019. (46:29): MP3

Books Are Magic (Brooklyn), conversation on Near/Miss with Peter Straub, Nov. 29, 2018. (1:02:55): MP3

Brooklym Rail, The New Social Environment, conversation with Phong Bui, March 19, 2020: MP4 & audio only MP3

Archive--PennSound use only:

Frank Guan interview Labor Day, 2013

Diego Maquiera conversation: Santiago, 11/17/2014. See Jacket2 report

Paul Magee interview: 12/3/14

Ted Greenwald - Bernstein 1977 conversations: directory Avaialbe at Beinecke Library Bernstein papers (Yale).

return to main Bernstein page

These recordings are being made available for noncommercial and educational use only. All rights to this recorded material belong to the author. © 2008-2014 Charles Bernstein. Used with permission of Charles Bernstein. Distributed by PennSound.