Charles Bernstein

Ivor Griffiths, Poet, Novelist & Short Story Writer

:: Poet Home :: Poetry :: Short Stories :: Contact ::

Charles Bernstein (born April 4, 1950) is an American poet, critic, editor and teacher. He is one of the most prominent members of the Language poets.


  • 1 Early Life and Work
  • 2 Bernstein and Poetics
  • 3 Recent Life and Works
  • 4 Bibliography
    • 4.1 Full-length collections
    • 4.2 Essays
    • 4.3 Editor
    • 4.4 Translation
  • 5 Notes/References
  • 6 External links

Early Life and Work

Bernstein was born in New York City to a Jewish family and studied at the Bronx High School of Science and Harvard University, graduating in 1972. His first book, Asylums, was published in 1975. Together with Bruce Andrews he edited L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Magazine, which ran to 13 issues between 1978 and 1980. This was one of the most important outlets for Language poetry, and in 1984 he and Andrews published "selected" pieces from these 13 issues in The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Book. During this period, Bernstein also published three more books of his own poetry: Parsing (1976), Shade (1978) and Poetic Justice (1979), while earning a living as a freelance editor.

Bernstein and Poetics

Bernstein is one of the foremost poets associated with Language poetry, and his two collections of essays, Content's Dream: Essays 1975 (1986) and A Poetics (1992), as well as his My Way: Speeches and Poems(1999), expand a position on poetry based, in part, on his close reading of the philosophy of Karl Marx, and Ludwig Wittgenstein and the writings of Gertrude Stein, Louis Zukofsky, and William Carlos Williams.

Recent Life and Works

From 1989 to 2003, Bernstein was David Gray Professor of Poetry and Letters at the University at Buffalo, where he was co-founder and Director of the Poetics Program. He is also co-founder of The Electronic Poetry Center at Buffalo. He is currently the Donald T. Regan Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is co-founder of PennSound. Since 1980, he has published a further eighteen books of poetry, as well as editing a number of anthologies of prose and verse. Working with the composers Ben Yarmolinsky, Dean Drummond, and Brian Ferneyhough, he has written the libretti for five operas and has collaborated with a number of visual artists, including his wife, Susan Bee, Richard Tuttle, and Mimi Gross.

Bernstein appeared in the 2000 movie Finding Forrester, as Dr. Simon.


Full-length collections

  • Girly Man (University of Chicago Press, 2006)
  • Shadowtime (libretto for an opera with music by Brian Ferneyhough) (Los Angeles: Green Integer, 2005)[1]
  • With Strings (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001)
  • Republics of Reality: 1975-1995 (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 2000)
  • Dark City (Los Angles: Sun & Moon Press, 1994)
  • Rough Trades (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1991)
  • The Sophist (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1987; rpt. Cambridge, UK: Salt Publishing, 2004)
  • Islets/Irritations (New York: Jordan Davies, 1983; rpt. New York: Roof Books, 1992)
  • The Nude Formalism, with Susan Bee (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1989; rpt Charlottesville, VA: Outside Voices, 2006)
  • Controlling Interests (New York: Roof Books, 1980)
  • L E G E N D, with Bruce Andrews, Steve McCaffery, Ron Silliman, Ray DiPalma (New York: L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E/Segue, 1980)
  • Poetic Justice (Baltimore: Pod Books, 1979)
  • Shade (College Park, MD: Sun & Moon Press, 1978)
  • Parsing (New York: Asylum's Press, 1976)
  • Asylums (New York: Asylum's Press, 1975)


  • My Way: Speeches and Poems (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999)
  • A Poetics (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992)
  • Content's Dream: Essays 1975-1984 (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1986; rpt Northwestern University Press, 2001)

  • A Conversation with David Antin (New York: Granary Books, 2002)


  • Modern and Contemporary Poetics, Editor, with Hank Lazer, of a book series from the University of Alabama Press (1998 — )
  • Electronic Poetry Center, Editor, with Loss Pequeno Glazier (1995 — )
  • PENNSound, Director , with Al Filries (2003 — )
  • Poetry Plastique, ed. with Jay Sanders, exhibition catalog (New York: Granary Books / Marianne Boesky Gallery, 2001)
  • 99 Poets/1999: A Special Issue of boundary 2 (Vol.26, No.1: Duke University Press, 1999)
  • Close Listening: Poetry and the Performed Word (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998)
  • LINEbreak: poetry interviews, host/co-producer. Twenty-six 30-minute programs, dist. Public Radio Satellite Program and on the Internet at the EPC (1995-96)
  • Live at the Ear : A CD anthology of Ear Inn readings (Pittsburg: Elemenope Productions, 1994)
  • "13 North American Poets", with Susan Howe, in TXT #31 (Le Mans, France and Bussels: 1993)
  • The Politics of Poetic Form: Poetry and Public Policy (NY: Roof, 1990)
  • Patterns/Contexts/Time: A Forum: 1989, with Phillip Foss in Tyuonyi (Sante Fe, 1990).
  • "L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Lines" in The Line in Postmodern Poetry, ed. Frank/Sayre (Urbana:
    University of Illinois, 1988)
  • "43 Poets (1984)" in Boundary 2 (Binghamton, 1987)
  • The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Book, with Bruce Andrews (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1984)
  • "Language Sampler" in Paris Review, No. 86 (New York: 1982)
  • L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, with Bruce Andrews (New York: 1978-1981); Vol. 4 co-published as Open Letter 5:1 (Toronto: 1982)
  • Louis Zukofksy: Selected Poems, [American Poets Project], (Library of America; distributed by Penguin Putnam, Inc) (New York: 2006)


  • Red, Green, and Black by Olivier Cadiot (Hartford: Potes & Poets, 1990)
  • The Maternal Drape by Claude Royet-Journoud (Windsor, VT: Awede Press, 1984)


  1. ^ According to the publisher's website (here) : "Shadowtime is a thought opera based on the work and life of the German philosopher, essayist, and cultural critic, Walter Benjamin. The libretto was written by Charles Bernstein for composer Brian Ferneyhough and had its premiere in May 2004 at the Munich Biennale, with subsequent productions at the Festival d’Automne in Paris, and the Lincoln Center Festival in New York."
  • PennSound
  • Interview with The Argotist Online
  • POEMS: Asylums (e-reprint)
  • POEMS: Disfrutes (e-reprint)
  • POEMS: The Nude Formalism (e-reprint)
  • POEMS: Parsing (e-reprint)
  • POEMS: Rough Trades (e-reprint)
  • "Against National Poetry Month As Such" - a short essay by Charles Bernstein.
  • This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from a Wikipedia article. To access the original click here.
    Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
    under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
    or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
    with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.
    A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU
    Free Documentation License".