Recalculating, Charles Bernstein, 2013

Bernstein’s poetry is funny, disturbing, complex, straightforward, repetitive, unfathomable, and often delightful.  One of the leading Language School poets, he teaches at Penn after a long career at SUNY Buffalo and has received many of the poetry honors available to the living.  Word play characterizes most of his poems:  long columns of single words, repetitive phrases followed or preceded by the main thought.  He is also a translator of Mandelstam and Baudelaire and comments incisively on the challenges of translating poetry.  Some very good lines:  “Redemption comes and redemption goes but transience is here forever”. This poem is displayed in a column of 14 lines with many of the words split–a fine example of his technique.  Enjoyed much of the work but had to work too hard to make him a regular read for me in the future.