Artifice of Absorption: Bernstein, Charles, Volume 4, Issues Front Cover. Singing Horse Press, – American poetry. This rich collection is far more than an important work of criticism by an extraordinary poet; it is a poetic intervention into criticism. “Artifice of Absorption,” a key. Get this from a library! Artifice of absorption. [Charles Bernstein].

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A Poetics is both criticism and poetry, both tract and song, with no dull moments.

Artifice of absorption – Charles Bernstein – Google Books

In another poem from this volume, “Emotions of Normal People,” Bernstein again frames a discussion of poetry around its commercialization. Larry added it Nov 21, When the poet is bfrnstein to choose words without regard to goals other than polysemy, the polysemy that results scarcely seems an achievement” Finally, like Bernstein, Ewen asserts that “style – as a form of information – discourages thought” The obvious solution is linked to this obvious problem; to make a poem that means something new, the poet must begin from a concern with style charlws form.

Non-absorptive poetry is, of necessity, a poetry that values style as least as much as substance; the merchants of substance want to sell the content of their work artiice aim to find as simple a vehicle as possible to convey that substance. By absorption I mean engrossing, engulfing completely, engaging, arresting attention, reverie, attention intensification, rhapsodic, spellbinding, mesmerizing, hypnotic, total, riveting, enthralling: The American Poetry Wax Museum: Brian marked it as to-read Jan 19, These aspirations, like the products marketed through a careful use of style, are themselves mass-produced and, ultimately, disposable.

The Bridgethen, must be explained as if it were the actual Brooklyn Bridge and the poet its real engineer. Bernstein, then, is interested ov breaking certain taboos about language, taboos not often discussed openly but held very strongly by cultural berjstein and others. While he distrusts fashion, he likes the idea of an anti-fashion that lurks within a larger system, an anti-fashion that can quickly become fashionable.

Want to Read Currently Reading Read. In this sense art can only deal with the world by rendering it as a “forgery”; language, which is above all not “natural,” is the artifice by which we describe – and hope to change – the world.


He uses these skills to attempt to persuade Kahn of the “value” of his work. Sometimes playful, often hortatory, always intense, he joins in the debate on cultural diversity and the definition of modernism. Rather it is expressed obliquely, in style” Few poets have so well described the postmodern conundrum that “classics” are mass produced; that the language of poetry cannot often be distinguished from the language of advertising; and that style is absolutely crucial to clothes and to poems – more crucial, it would often seem, than content.

He is not evading style, he is just trying out more than absorpion style in his critique of “frame lock. Bernstein has long been interested the way in which language participates in the larger economy of “value,” in its two senses. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Bernstein does indeed mix and match his styles in this piece absorprion writing, but instead of mixing styles together, he “frames” an essay in professional discourse with the kind of rhetoric usually reserved for his poems.

Earlier in the interview he had emphasized the conjunctions of poetry and business:.

This vicious process ends, rather predictably, with the garment becoming “a signifier of something which is yet nothing other than this very constitution” Charles Bernstein, whose relationship with his father was apparently [sic] ambivalent, finds himself performing the same kind of work as his father, though within a different frame, and he hopes without the lock.

According to Stuart Ewen, the nineteenth-century became the originary site of a paradox fundamental to “style” – that the mass production of clothing and other items made possible a greater democratization and, at the same time, undermined the democracy it helped to spread: Christoffer Lundkvist added it May 15, Empty spaces, the absence of ruffles and curtains, and beautifully polished surfaces of wood and metal were masculine” His “Defence of Poetry,” written exclusively in “typos,” barely conceals a plea for comprehensible, honest talk by politicians George Bush the Elder being the representative inarticulate man here.

Yet Bernstein recognizes the subtle lacunae of his own argument, which situates him with and against the fashion industries of contemporary writing. As he writes in “Frame Lock,” mimicking Whitman: And so, the man who conforms both in his clothing and in his language, goes on, “Those were my values.


Bernstein finds the answer in dissent, not merely in argument but in form—a poetic language that resists being easily absorbed into the conventions of our culture.

Business training turned out to be just what I most needed. Or, if not, that Bernstein himself becomes the “model,” striding down the literary runway time after time, never repeating himself, as Stein cautioned, but always insisting on a new manner, a new cloak, a new divestiture of meaning. Bernstein seeks “an alternative to the drab conformist fashion-minded thinking that blights our mental landscape full as much as the nineteenth-century mills poxed the English countryside” Poetics Refresh and try again.

Catherine rated it really liked it Mar 13, Impermeability suggests artifice, boredom, exaggeration, attention scattering, distraction, digression, interruptive, transgressive, undecorous, anticonventional, unintegrated, fractured, etc.

Shriram Sivaramakrishnan marked it as to-read Feb 03, Another vehicle would make another meaning, an idea that is anathema to writers who aim at absolute “organicism” of form and vocabulary. His critiques of poetry strangely become defenses of its importance, as he exposes the ironies of discussing art as if it were merchandise.

Style, then, is a facade that becomes content – a content intended to sell.

Artifice Of Absorption

In arguing against ready-mades, of course, Bernstein is also setting himself against the model of his father and of Pound, for whom the allusion was a kind of ready-made to be slipped into the piggy-bank of poetry.

The humor of the piece comes at the expense of the profession, but does not open the way to a genuinely new idea about it. This is perhaps appropriate, since Bernstein ultimately comes down on the side of style – if not over substance, then as substance. Join Our Mailing List: My mother was more chxrles with her hemline. After the Death of Poetry. This book is not yet featured on Listopia.