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Pitch of Poetry

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


Praised in recent years as a “calculating, improvisatory, essential poet” by Daisy Fried in the New York Times, Charles Bernstein is a leading voice in American literary theory. Pitch of Poetry is his irreverent guide to modernist and contemporary poetics.

Subjects range across Holocaust representation, Occupy Wall Street, and the figurative nature of abstract art. Detailed overviews of formally inventive work include essays on—or “pitches” for—a set of key poets, from Gertrude Stein and Robert Creeley to John Ashbery, Barbara Guest, Larry Eigner, and Leslie Scalapino. Bernstein also reveals the formative ideas behind the magazine L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E. The final section, published here for the first time, is a sweeping work on the poetics of stigma, perversity, and disability that is rooted in the thinking of Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and William Blake.

Pitch of Poetry makes an exhilarating case for what Bernstein calls echopoetics: a poetry of call and response, reason and imagination, disfiguration and refiguration.

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 04, 2016 – At the center of this collection from Bernstein (Recalculating), poet, translator, librettist, and guiding spirit of the Language school of poetry, is the question, "What does it mean to be a poet in our time in the North American society?" The first section, titled Language, after the magazine Bernstein co-edited, delves right into the link between politics and poetry, with reflections on Occupy Wall Street, Holocaust memorials, and Chinese poetry. The next section, the Pitch, assays the work of 17 poets, including Gertrude Stein, Paul Celan, and John Ashbery. The third, Echopoetics, consists of interviews and conversations with Bernstein, focused largely upon Language's 1978 81 run and the associated movement in poetry. Bernstein concludes with a brand new work: "The Pataquerical Imagination: Midrashic Antinomianism and the Promise of Bent Studies," a fantastical drama with walk-on roles for the likes of William Blake, Emily Dickinson, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. In the opening essay, Bernstein describes a climb up China's Wudang Mountains, before which a sign reads "Curve continuously" a statement that could be taken as the epigraph for this book's circuitous intellectual journey. "Language poetry does not exist, and that may be its greatest virtue," he writes at one point. Often elliptical, argumentative, and personal, this is a radical work about the nature of poetry and of language itself.
Pitch of Poetry
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  • $25.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary Criticism
  • Published: Mar 28, 2016
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Seller: Chicago Distribution Center
  • Print Length: 352 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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