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University of Chicago Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.1 X 1.0 inches | 1.0 pounds
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About the Author
Charles Bernstein lives in New York and is the Donald T. Regan Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as coeditor of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, the Electronic Poetry Center, and PennSound and cofounder of the SUNY-Buffalo Poetics Program. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among his many publications are three books also published by the University of Chicago Press: Girly Man, With Strings, and My Way: Speeches and Poems.
"I was wrong, I apologize, I recant. Originality may be the only course when loss is the mother of invention. These are not my words but I mean them."--Kenneth Goldsmith
"The English word 'calculate' has a double life: in standard English it means to 'reckon' or 'intend' and in dialect it means 'to guess.' These contrary, wayward, definitions--the first so full of certainty, the second so full of ironic doubt--shimmer and clash on every page of Charles Bernstein's obsessive, brilliant new book of poems, Recalculating. Through responses, translations, adaptations, and occasional pieces, through little hymns and tragic litanies, Bernstein measures and dreams a circle: a community of readers and writers who spin within a world built from the living history of words."--Susan Stewart
"Recalculating gathers a substantial selection of (mostly) new poems--a few go as far back as the 80s and 90s--in a remarkably coherent and enlightening collection--though I'm certain Bernstein would abjure both of those adjectives. He has always rejected the idea of the poem as honed and polished object, and the poems in this book are as open as life itself. One thing that Recalculating makes clear is that, though Bernstein can deliver some 'killer' aphorisms, he is primarily a poet of abjection. He has always been drawn, as he puts it here, to the 'painfully clumsy, clumpsy.' Slapstick is bunkmates with failure and even heartbreak. This is especially evident in recent poems such as "Recalculating" and "Before You Go" which directly or indirectly reference the sudden death of the poet's daughter. It is breathtaking--disturbing and admirable--that grief appears in these poems, as it does in life, alongside--well, alongside everything."--Rae Armantrout
"Charles Bernstein is writing in the simplest of forms--so simple they become radical. I love reading his work because he's writing on the cusp of what poetry is."
--Eileen Myles
"The ethos and critique are of poetry, which becomes a rich dark with a phosphorescence of lyric as witness."
--Mei-mei Berssenbrugge
"For Charles Bernstein, historical works, interpretation, and adaptation all contribute to the cacophony of contemporary life. This collection contains a characteristically wide range of innovative verse, including formal stanzas with predictable end rhymes, columns of replicated phrases, essays in verse, axiomatic maxims, zen koans, and translations of Baudelaire, Apollinaire, and Catullus. Throughout, Bernstein usurps expectations and even anticipates, jokingly, how skeptical readers might receive his work: 'I try to get them to see it as formal, structural historical, collaborative, and ideological. What a downer!'"
--Kenneth Goldsmith "Booklist"
"All the defiance and revolution, all the polemics and pontifications, all the shouting and laughter, come from the same core source; Charles Bernstein's profound love of poetry. All the wrong turns, all the deviations, all the explorations, all the escapes, they all return to one fundamental idea; poetry is beautiful and poetry is important. And so is Recalculating."
--Kenneth Goldsmith "Bookslut"
"The range of invention in Recalculating is impressive: translations and adaptations (Baudelaire, Cole Porter, Mandelstam, Celan, Wordsworth, Plath, and Nerval, just to name a few), aphoristic poem-essays (including the title poem), doggerel, list poems, joke-poems ("The Twelve Tribes of Doctor Lacan," for example), elegies, hay(na)ku, and more. The collection has a richness which will not be exhausted by multiple readings. It demands to be read over and over again--not for reasons of exegesis, but for pure pleasure. "
--Kenneth Goldsmith "Galatea Resurrects"
"Recalculating is an immense book, hitting the extremes -- of slapstick and tragedy, wisdom and buffoonery. The book's accomplishment, ultimately, is its constant attempt to expand what it is in us that is affected by poetry."
--Kenneth Goldsmith "Forward"
"Charles Bernstein's ars poetica is courageously resistant to the blandishments of what he calls 'personification' in its easy embrace of the unimaginable. This insistence makes all the more poignant and arresting, then, the abject misery of personal misfortune obliquely sheltered, honored, and given voice in Recalculating, a resounding collection by one of the true originals of the art."
--Jed Rasula "Provincetown Arts"
"Ignore those who "don't read Charles Bernstein" because of tired and tedious attitudes about L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets. Bernstein's Recalculating is one of the most fascinating books of the year. Recalculating shows a wider range of tones, modes, forms, and political engagement than the anti-L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E folks would have you believe. It uses slapstick, prose, fragment, aphorism, lyric invention, and artifice to do something fantastic."--Jed Rasula "Rumpus"
"For all his earnestness of purpose, there has often been a Groucho as well as a Karl Marx element to Bernstein's poetics, a belief that humor is as likely to open the doors of perception as polemic."--Jed Rasula "Times Literary Supplement"
"A long tradition credits comedy as a force that distances us from the maladies of experience. . . Bernstein's most recent volume of poems, Recalculating, brings us up against the 'black sun' of comedy, whose formal turbulence is shadowed on nearly all of its pages by the death (in 2008) of his daughter, Emma."
--Jed Rasula "boundary 2"