Sunday, February 28, 2010

On The Road with Bob Holman: West Africa

All the Whiskey in Heaven: Selected Poems of Charles Bernstein

All the Whiskey in Heaven

Selected Poems of
Charles Bernstein

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
on sale March 2
300 pp.
ISBN 978-0-374-10344-6

new biographical note for the collection

    All the Whiskey in Heaven brings together some of Charles Bernstein’s best work from the past thirty years, an astonishing assortment of different types of poems. Yet, despite the distinctive differences from poem to poem, Bernstein’s characteristic explorations of how language both limits and liberates thought are present throughout. Modulating the comic and the dark, structural invention with buoyant sound play, these challenging works give way to poems of lyric excess and striking emotional range. This is poetry for poetry’s sake, as formally radical as it is socially engaged, providing equal measures of aesthetic pleasure, hilarity, and philosophical reflection. Long considered one of America’s most inventive and influential contemporary poets, Bernstein reveals himself to be both trickster and charmer.

    “Charles Bernstein’s poems resemble each other only in being unexpected. Simultaneously mad, tragic and hilarious, they seem written to illustrate the truth of his lines: ‘things are / solid; we stumble, unglue, recombine.’ All the Whiskey in Heaven is a vast department store of the imagination.”
    —John Ashbery

    “Charles Bernstein uses words as a surgeon uses a scalpel. He strips away the skin and cuts to the bone to reveal reality and—ultimately—to heal. This essential collection from 30 years of cutting edge work will confirm Bernstein as our true poet laureate—the voice of a new generation.”
    —John Zorn

    “For more than thirty years Charles Bernstein has been America’s most ardent literary provocateur. This long-needed selection of his poetry gives us a new perspective on his work, for it shows us that the many forms he has worked in over the years are in fact a single form, the Bernstein form, and it is unique, the product of an imagination unlike that of any other contemporary writer. His poems challenge you to think in unaccustomed ways. They address public matters, private matters, poetic matters—in other words, all that matters most. And, good Lord, can they ever make you laugh”
    —Paul Auster

    “Charles Bernstein is our ultimate connoisseur of chaos, the chronicler, in poems of devastating satire, chilling and complex irony, exuberant wit, and, above all, profound passion, of the contradictions and absurdities of everyday life in urban America at the turn of the twenty-first century. From such early underground classics as “The Klupzy Girl,” to the mordant verbal play of “The Lives of the Toll Takers,” to the great meditation on 9/11 called “Report from Liberty Street” and the deeply personal ballads and elegies of recent years, Bernstein’s much awaited Selected Poems displays a formal range, performative urgency, and verbal dexterity unmatched by other poets of his generation.”
    —Marjorie Perloff

    “A perfect introduction to the adventure that is Charles Bernstein’s work. But even for those of us who have known his irrepressible inventiveness and engaged humor from the individual books it is a boon to see here the full range of his exuberant ingenuity in battling sclerosis of word, mind—and poetry.”
    —Rosmarie Waldrop

    “This wonderful book confirms Charles Bernstein’s position as the pre-eminent American poet of mental activity—delineating not simply the mind as it registers stimuli, but the more radical commitment to mind as a machine that constantly invents totally new moves and strategies in the daily battles of perception. All the Whiskey in Heaven captures 30 years of ground breaking and revelatory work.”
    —Richard Foreman

    cover photo by Emma Bee Bernstein; cover design by Jeff Clark



    Feb./March 2010
    "... a rousing selection from thirty years of work ... Bernstein deftly shifts moods and tones, but a sense of urgency and a hard-won clarity are in eveidnce throught this volume."
    --David O'Neill

    Publisher's Weekly

    starred review
    This gathering of 30 years worth of work by the prominent L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poet and essayist offers a rigorous critique of the art of poetry itself, which means, among other things, a thorough investigation of language and the mind. Varied voices and genres are at play, from a colloquial letter of complaint to the manager of a Manhattan subway station to a fragmentary meditation on the forces that underlie the formation of knowledge. Bernstein's attention to the uncertainty surrounding the self as it purports to exist in poetry—“its virtual (or ventriloquized)/ anonymity—opens fresh pathways toward thinking through Rimbaud's dictum that “I is another.” In addition to philosophical depth—which somehow even lurks beneath statements like “There is nothing/ in this poem/ that is in any/ way difficult/ to understand”—a razor-sharp wit ties the book together: “You can't/ watch ice sports with the lights on!” These exhilarating, challenging poems raise countless essential questions about the form and function of poetry.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

One Fast Move or I'm Gone: Kerouac's Big Sur - TRAILER

He was called the vibrant new voice of his generation -- the avatar of the Beat movement. In 1957, on the heels of the triumphant debut of his groundbreaking novel, On The Road, Jack Kerouac was a literary rock star, lionized by his fans and devotees. But along with sudden fame and media hype came his unraveling, and, by 1960, Kerouac was a jaded cynic, disaffected from the Beat culture he helped create and tortured by self-doubt, addiction and depression.

He secretly retreats to Lawrence Ferlinghetti's rustic cabin in the Big Sur woods. But his plan is foiled by his own inner demons, and what ensues that summer becomes the basis for Kerouac's gritty, yet lyrically told, semi-autobiographical novel, Big Sur.

The story unfolds through the narrative arc of Kerouac's prose, told in voice-over by actor and Kerouac interpreter, John Ventimiglia (of HBO's The Sopranos); through first-hand accounts and recollections of Kerouac's contemporaries, whom many of the characters in the book are based on such as Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Carolyn Cassady and Michael McClure; by the interpretations and reflections of writers, poets, actors and musicians who have been deeply influenced by Kerouac's unique gifts like Tom Waits, Sam Shepard, Patti Smith, Aram Saroyan and Donal Logue. Kerouac Films

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Reading list: John Ashbery, Ambrose Bye, Marcella Durand, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Thurston Moore, Anne Waldman, Devin Waldman

Devin Waldman and Ambrose Bye - photo by GP

Monday, February 22

Monday Night Poetry Series at KGB Bar Spring 2010 Season Opener Featuring: Mei-mei Berssenbrugge & Anne Waldman 85 East 4th Street, 2nd Floor, NYC - 7:30 pm

Anne Waldman, is the co-founder, with Allen Ginsberg, of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute in Colorado. She was director of the St. Mark¹s Poetry project from 1968-1978. She is author of more than 40 books of poetry, most recently Manatee/Humanity. Read poems at:

Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, is the author of 12 books of poetry, most recently I Love Artists, New and Selected Poems from The University of California Press and Concordance, a collaboration with artist Kiki Smith from Kelsey Street Press. Fog, another collaboration with Smith was produced as an artist's book in 2009 at the Brodsky Center. She lives in New York City and northern New Mexico. Read poems at

The Tenth Muse with John Ashbery

92nd Street Y, NYC 8:00pm to 11:00pm

Readings by Marcella Durand, Robert Elstein and John Gallaher

Living legend John Ashbery carries on a long-standing Poetry Center tradition by curating and introducing an evening of readings by three less-established poets. Marcella Durand's
Traffic & Weather"presents the city as an organism, often breaking down and always vibrant," wrote Cole Swensen. Robert Elstein's chapbook is The Hollandaise. John Gallaher's books of poetry include The Little Book of Guesses, winner of the Levis Poetry Prize and Map of the Folded World.

Tuesday, February 23

Riggio Forum: Anne Waldman with Ambrose Bye Wollman Hall, 65 West 11th Street, 5th Floor, NYC - 6:30 pm

The well-known New York poet, activist and co-founder of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa Institute, reads from Manatee/Humanity (Penguin, 2009) and her ongoing project Iovis: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment. She will be accompanied by her son, musician Ambrose Bye. Moderated by Robert Polito, Director of The New School Writing Program.

Riggio Forum events are presented by the Len and Louise Riggio Writing and Democracy Initiative at The New School.

Ambrose Bye, musician (keyboard, guitar, voice) and composer, grew up in the environment of The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, counting Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs as "poetic" godfathers. He graduated from The University of California, Santa Cruz and is has studied at the music /production program at the Pyramind Institute in San Francisco. His most recent CD is Matching Half with Anne Waldman and Akilah Oliver, produced by Farfalla,McMillen, Parrish.

Thursday, February 25,

White Columns 320 West 13th Street 212-924-4212 7-9 PM go to with Anne Waldman, Beat Poet. Thurston Moore, renowned & celebrated guitarist, songwriter, poet and composer musicians: Ambrose Bye, Devin Waldman (sax) musician and jazz composer, has his own band Brahja Waldman Quartet and has performed recently at the Bowery Electric, The Bowery Poetry Club and in many venues around the east coast. He makes his home in Montreal.

Anne Waldman's play RED NOIR Produced by the Living Theatre 21 Clinton Street Directed by Judith Malina With Sheila Dabney, Vinnie Burroughs & a superb cast & choral ensemble: Extended until Sat February 27th!!!! Shows Wed-Sat, 8 pm / Wednesdays: pay what you can