Monday, May 23, 2016

Pitch of Poetry by Charles Bernstein

I love poetry, so I had to get the book. I started reading and although my english is really good, I couldn't quiet follow the reasoning of the author. The concepts were too strange, too far away from what I knew. But I finished the book, underlining large portions and after a day of rest I started rereading the book. And yes I am understanding more. I mark new thoughts. And I fell for the concepts about plagiarism, working on the basis of an older text, a preexisting text and taking away thoughts, words, and stealing from the source text... Charles Bernstein edited during 4 years with Bruce Andrews the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E magazine.
The main slant is on making meaning, not taking for granted anything from vocabulary to process, program, nor subject matter. The poetry of the magazine was in stark contrast to the poetry of the time. It included critical writing by the poets of the magazine. Some names of poets I knew because I have participated in the MODPO course by Al Filreis twice, fascinated as I was by it and will follow it again... I learned that process, mood and inconsistency is more important than stylistic uniformity. The book also addresses translation and it problematic aspects. I have translated quite a lot from English to Dutch, from Dutch to English (not as much).
It is clear from the text that the civil right's movement had a deep impact. I was also happy to find a reference to George Lakoff and his theory of frames and reframing and oppositional poetry. I know language is not neutral...
If you're interested in poetry and the politics, the evolving views the do read this book.

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