English 788
Charles Bernstein <charles.bernstein@english.upenn.edu>
Tuesdays at 9am, Rm. 111, CPCW (3808 Walnut)

office hours by appointment

Whose Ordinary?: Modernism and Its Others

between walls

the back wings
of the

hospital where

will grow lie

in which shine
the broken

pieces of a green

Requirements: Weekly response papers and writing projects to be posted to the listserv. These responses papers should form the basis of a more extended final writing project. For writing assignments, consider doing one or more of the Wreading Experiments.

Poetry in Philadelphia: KWH Schedule / Ron Silliman's Philadelphia Progressive Poetry Calendar

Books Required at the Penn Book Center
David Antin, A Conversation with Charles Bernstein
David Antin,Talking
Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life
Peter Nicholls, Modernisms: A Literary Guide
Jackson Mac Low, Representative Works: 1938-1985
Also, I am recommending the Library of America: American Poetry -- The 20th Century, Vols. 1 and 2, but not requiring it; a number of poems to be discussed will be from these volumes. These books are on library reserve. In the syllabus below, I refer to these books as LOA1 and LOA2.
Also on reserve:
Basil Bernstein, Class, Codes, and Control
Crowley, Standard English and the Politics of Language

Philippe Aries, et al, A History of Private Life
Gaston Bachelard, Poetics of Space
Ferdinand Braudel, The Structures of Everyday Life
Elias Canetti, Crowds and Power
Stanley Cavell, In Search of the Ordinary
Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle
Sigmund Freud, The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, tr. James Strachey
Erving Goffman, Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience
Alvin W. Gouldner, The Future of Intellectuals and the Rise of the New Class : a Frame of Reference, Theses, Conjectures, Arguments, and an Historical Perspective on the Role of Intellectuals and Intelligentsia in the International Class Contest of the Modern Era
Agnes Helller, Everyday Life: excerpt
Henri Lefebvre, Critique of Everyday Life: excerpt
Jean-Luc Nancy, The Inoperative Community
E. P. Thompson, The Long Revolution,
Raymond Williams, Culture and Society: "Culture is Ordinary"
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations

1. (Jan. 13): Introduction
Baudelaire, "À une Mendiante Rousse" (1845-6) (see also "La petite mendiante rousse" by Emile Roy)
Williams, "The Young Housewife", "Pastoral" "Between Walls" (LOA1) (WCW audio of "Between Walls")
±Peter Nicholls, Modernisms. Nichols discusses "À une Mendiante Rousse" in the introduction; see also Nicholl's chapters 1 to 3.
Walter Benjamin, Charles Bauelaire: Lyric Poet in the Age of High Capitalism
The Everyday Life Reader, ed. Ben Highmore (Routledge)

2. (Jan. 20). Modernisms and the Everyday
Maurice Blanchot, "Everyday Speech" (handout)
Henri Lefebvre, "Everydayness" (handout)
Gertrude Stein: "If I Told Him: A Complete Portrait of Picasso" (1923): text, audio; "Identity: A Poem" (NOTE: different passwords needed for audio and for text, which will be supplied) Compare: Picasso's portrait of Stein from 1906
Wallace Stevens: "Plain Sense of Things," (LOA/LION) "Ordinary Evening in New Haven" (LION)
Stein, Melanctha, Stanzas in Meditation
Laurie Langbauer, "Cultural Studies and the Politics of the Everyday" diacritics 22 (1992): 47-65

Wed., Jan. 21, 4:30pm: Susan Bee and Charles Bernstein: Painting/Poetry/Collaboration at KWH
See also -- links to poetry calendars at the top of this page.

3. (Jan. 27) Sincerity and Objectification
Charles Reznikoff (1894-1976) [respondent: Josh Schuster]
SF State Reading: MP3
a selection of poems (from LION)
also LOA2 and EPC selections and Collected Poems at LION:
Louis Zukofsky (1904-1978)
"Sincerity and Objectification with Special Reference to Charles Reznikoff" (handout)
"An Objective" (handout)
"Poem Beginning 'The' (LOA2) (MP3 sound file)
"Songs of Degrees" ; MP3 of "Songs of Degrees" (plus "Barely & Widely")
"The lines of / this new / song" and "Can mote / of sunliight" (from Anew)
±See Nichols chapters 8 and 9.
Mina Loy (LOA2)
Lorine Niedecker (LOA2)
Laura Riding (LOA2)
George Oppen (LOA2)
Discussed in class:
On Reznikoff: Bernstein, "Reznikoff's Nearness" in My Way; Steve Fredman, A Menorah for Athena
On Jewish secularism: Isaac Deutcher, The Non-Jewish Jew
On Jewish particularism vs Christian universalism, Marc Shell, "Marranos (Pigs), or from Coexistence to Toleration" , Critical Inquiry (Winter 1991, Volume 17, Number 2); see also related chapter in Shell's Children of the Earth : Literature, Politics, and Nationhood
(New York : Oxford University Press, 1993)
also: Sander Gilman, Jewish Self-Hatred

4. (Feb. 3) The Social View of Language
[respondent: Eric Ellingsen]
Bakhtin/Volosinov, "Discourse in Life and Discourse in Art (Concerning Sociological Poetics") (handout)
Volosinov, from Marxism and the Philosophy of Language (handout)
Ferruccio Ross-Landi, from Language as Work and Trade (handout)
Louis Althusser, from "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatus" (ISA) (handout)
Raymond Williams, "Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory" (handout)
Dell Hymes, "Studying the Interaction of Language and Social Life" from Foundations in Sociolinguistics: An Ethnograpnic Approach (handout)
Practice, Praxis, and Power
Kenneth Burke, "Literature as Equipment for Living" (handout)
Michel Foucault, "Truth and Power"
de Certeau, Practice of Everyday Life -- to pp.ix - 76.[respondent: Ian Cornelius]
Writing suggestion: Translate one of these artticles into a totally venacular style, then into the style of some "other" discourse.
RECOMMENDED: Donald Wessling, Bakhtin and the Social Moorings of Poetry (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2003). Wessling discussed dialect poetry (Linton Kwesi Johnson and Tom Leonard) as well as a chapter on Bunting and "inner voice".

5. (Feb. 10) Folk, Popular Culture, Poetry, Blues, and the Vernacular: Dialectic of dialects I
[respondent: Benjy Kahan]
"Unloading Rails" (MP3) called by Henry Truvillion at Wiergate, Texas, 1940
Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872–1906), "When de Co'n Pone's Hot"
W.C. Handy (1873-1958): Handy singing "St. Louis Blues" (realaudio) (alternate MP3 version);   text of Handy's lyric (1914) (as transcribed by Benjamin Robert Tubb, from Public Domain Music) (see also different version in LOA1); 15 minutes NPR feature on the song in RealAudio.
James Weldon Johnson (1874-1938), et al: Under the Bamboo Tree (mp3 from Virtual Grammaphone, which has additional information); the lyric; also: Johnson's "God's Trombone" in LOA1, or on the web: "The Creation" and "Sence You Went Away". (Both from James Weldon Johnson, ed., The Book of American Negro Poetry. 1922. [respodent: Kathy Lou Schultz]
See also T.S. Eliot: "Sweeney Agoniste" -- "Song by Wauchope and Horesfall ..." (LOA1/ LION)
Vachel Lindsay (1879-191), "The Congo" (LOA1 and also LION, but be sure to look at the paratext, give in note in the LION version); MP3 sound files
Charley Patton (1887 [poss.1891?]-1934) , "High Water Everywhere": text transcription in LOA1; MP3 AUDIO. (Make you own transcription of the song and compare to published version.)
Oscar Hammerstein, II (1895-1960), Ol' Man River (text in word file, but: also in LOA); Robeson singing two versions of the song
T.S. Eliot, "The Waste Land", section II, "The Game of Chess", last 35 lines, from "When Lil's husband got demobbed, I said--" (LOA1, p. 748)

6. (Feb.17) Folk, Popular Culture, Poetry, Blues, and the Vernacular: Dialectic of Dialects II (Second Wave Modernists)
Melvin Tolson (1898-1906); from Harlem Gallery: "Alpha" and "Mu" (LOA2)
Sterling Brown (1901-1989) :Collected Poems via Muse: "Break of Day", "Sharecroppers", "Old Lem", "Old King Cotton". "New St. Louis Blues" -- text of these five poems in word file;     MP3 Sound files. [respondent Lianggong Luo]
Langston Hughes (1902-1907). "The Weary Blues"(LOA2, also: Collected Poems at LION); "Weary Blues" audio
(Compare "Weary Blues" (text) -- 1915 -- Words by Mort Greene and George Cates, Music by Artie Matthews.)
Hughes on "The Weary Blues" from The Big Sea. [respondent Lianggong Luo].
Fanny Brice  (1891-1951) (MP3s): "Song of the Sewing-Machine" (1921; lyrics by Billy Rose and Ballard MacDonald, music by Jesse Greer or some combination) , "Cooking Breakfast For the One I Love", "Mrs Cohen at the Beach", "Second Hand Rose"; the two Baby Snooks segments. BIO.
Cole Porter
(1891-1964); see also Virtual Cole Porter: "A Picture of Me Without You", "When Love Comes Your Way", "Ev'rybo-ee Who's Anybod-ee", "You're the Top", "I Get a Kick out of You" "Anything Goes", "Night and Day" (lyrics in word file    plus handout); Sound files of these songs. In class, we will portably focus on "You're the Top" and "Night and Day".[respodent: Joyce Sim]
George and Ira Gershwin and DuBoise Heywood, Porgy and Bess
Woody Guthrie, "Man Talking Blues", "1903 Massacre"
Claude McKay
Jean Tooomer

7. (Feb. 24 )The Major and the Minor
[respodent: Scott Enderle (Irigeray or Deleuuze/Guatari)]
Standards, Standardization, and Normality
Basil Bernstein, Class, Codes, and Control (handout) (note: book is on reserve)
Pierre Bourdieu, "The Production and Reproduction of Legitimate Language" (handout)
Luce Irigary, "Linguistic Sexes and Genders" (from je, tue nous: Toward a Culture of Difference) (handout)
Jan Mukarovsky, "Standard Language and Poetic Language"
How Strange the Change from Major to Minor
Deleuze/Guattari, "What Is Minor Literature" (handout)
Geoff O'Brien-Bernstein interview on LOA (from boundary 2)
Bernstein, "Poetics of the Americas" (from My Way); available on line at Project Muse (modernism/modernity 3:3, 1996)
Michael Berube, Marginal Forces/Cultural Centers: Tolson, Pynchon, and the Politics of the Canon (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992).
Notes on "What is a Minor Literature?"
Houston Baker, Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance
Michael North, The Dialect of Modernism: Race, Language, and Twentieth Century Literature (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994)
Kamu Brathwaite, "History of the Voice" in Roots
Henry Louis Gates, Signifying Monkey
Aldon Neilsen, Reading Race
The Treaty of Waitangi; D.F.McKenzie, Oral Culture, Literacy and Print: Early New Zealand: The
Treaty of Waitangi, Victoria University Press/Turnbull Library. 1985.
N.B. The Major and the Minor (1942), directed by Billy Wilder, with Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland was remade as You're Never Too Young (1955) with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

8. (March 2) Dialectic of dialects III: Bunting and MacDiarmid
[respondent: Matt Hart]
Hugh MacDiarmid (1892- 1978)
A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle: MP3 sound file; full text of poem at LION
MacDiarmid selection (from LION): "First Hymn to Lenin", "Second Hymn to Lenin", "On the Oxford Book of Victorian Poetry", "Why I Choose Red", "What Have Scotsmen to Fight For?", "Poetry and Science", "British Leftish Poetry" (MP3 sound file), "The Kind of Poetry I Want" (MP3 correlates with text extract), A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle (first 100 lines, correlate with first sound file). Plus:
"The Revolutionary Art of the Future"
Basil Bunting (1900-1985)
Brigglflats: MP3 sound file; full text of poem at LION; text to bring to class (lines 1-156)
Writing Suggestion: Present your response in a local dialect.

9. (March 12): David Antin
Note: David Antin talk at 5pm. Antin will also be meeting with my undergraduate class at 3pm and you are welcome to attend, but please let me know. Antin will also be doing a talk on Thursday evening in the Temple series.
From Antin EPC page: listen to "The Principal of Fit": Try to transcribe a bit of "The Principal of Fit" before going on with this week's assignment, Also: transcribe a "talk" of your own for this weeks' response.
Intro: Ken Sherwood on Antin from DLB (password protected)
Marjorie Perloff intro to Talking
Talking: "Talking at Pomona"
Talking: "The November Exercises"
"talking at blerancour"t via EPC page
A Conversation with David Antin / Charles Bernstein

"War" via EPC page (sound files)
Finish Talking

Writing Suggestion: Tape your reponse to this week's reading and trancribe the "talk"

Lyn Hejinian will be reading on Monday, 3/22 at 6:30 pm at the KWH and giving a talk on Tues., 3/23 at 10 at KWH. In addition, she will be doing a "Studio 111" recording at 3-4 and then tape class discussion 4:15-5:45, in Rm. 111. Contact me for more information.
10. (March 23) Ideolectal Modernism
Mallarmé (1842-1898): Un Coup de Dés (alternate: pdf file of the 1914 French edn); "Crisis in Poetry" (excerpt, tr. Caws: this is the last short except at the bottom of the file, following other material by Mallarmé), "Salut" -- in four versions English); English tr. of "Coup" (via Ubu) [respodent Jane Malcolm]
Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948), "Ur Sonota" at Ubu: both sound file and score
Hugo Ball (1886-1927), "Karawane" (1916) text and sound file at Ubu (along with other Ball sound files)
Abraham Lincoln Gillespie (1895-1950) in LOA 2; supplemental: three essays at UBU and also The Syntactic Revolution
(New York: Out of London Press, 1980)
Velimir Khlebnikov (1885-1922): "Incantation by Laughter" and "We chant and enchant" (password required); handout: "The Word as Such", :"The Letter as Such", "!Futurian!","The Trumpet of the Martians", "Proposals", "Artists of the World!: a written language for Planet Earth: a common system of hyeroglyphics for the people of our planet", "Our Poetry", "Our Fundamentals". See also UBU and "The Word as Such" (with Kruchonykh, 1913) & other essays.
Kruchonykh -- from "Pomade" (handout); Kruchonyk's visual and zaum poems; see also Gerlad Janecek's essay on Kruchonykh's zaum poetry
Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (1874-1927): "A Dozen Cocktails--Please" (via Eng. 88/Filries site) and ""Narin--Tzarissamanili" in LOA; "Mineself-Minesoul--and--Mine--Cast-Iron Lover" (handout), from The Little Review 6.5 (September 1919): 3-11 and included in Rotheberg's Revolution of the Word: 1914-1945. Supplemental: Good web site with excerpts and bio from other works. 1915 photo.
Cab Calloway (1907-1994): "Minnie the Moucher", "Scat Song" (1931-32) (password required)
±See Nicholl's, chapters 5, 6,and 10, esp. discussion of zaum,, pp. 128ff.
Steve McCaffery and Jed /Raula, Imagining Language
Writing Suggestion: Try a homophonic translation of Mallarmé (see Wreading Experiments)

11. (March 30) Ideolectical Extensions: Translation, Transduction, and the Vernacular Sublime
Jerome Rothenberg, "Horse Songs for Frank Mitchell": text/essay on the work and MP3 Audio of Solo/1975 version; MP3 of 1978 Multi-Voice (start with first cut of 1975 recording; the rest is recommendedl only).
Louis Zukofsky, Catallus translation (full text in Complete Short Poems); sound file of Catallus 70
Zukofsky, "A foin lass bodders me". -- compare:
"Donna Mi Prega" / Cavalcanti (the original) and
Pound, translation of "Donna mi Prega" and another tranlation -- Canto XXXVI.
Further reading: Pound's Cavalcanti (with comparative translatios by D. G. Rossetti)
[resondent: Anna Foy]
Steve McCaffery, "The Kommunist Manifesto": MP3 Audio; text (handout)
Clark Coolidge, The Maintains (Eclpise_
Melnick, Men in Aida (Eclipse)
Peter Inman, Platin (Eclipse)

12. (April 6)Mac Low [respondent: Tod Carmody]
Mac Low, Representative Work; EPC home page; LINEbreak interview
"Black Tarantula Gatha" -- MP3, password required

13. (April 13) Late ordinary: Weiner, Creeley
Robert Creeley [respondent: Rachel Nichols]
NOTE: on Thurs, Arpil 15 at 7:30 PM Robert Creeley reads at the De Leon Room, 300 St. Augustine Center, Villanova

a Creeley selection
MP3 of early reading
EPC Creeley page -- LINEbreak program
Creeley on the commplace
(note Collected Poems at LION)
Hannah Weiner
EPC home page (line above): Clairvoyant Journal: MP3 of March and April, together with text
LINEbreak interview
Radio Reading Project and other sound files

James Schuyler, "The Morning of the Poem"
Frank O'Hara
Larry Eigner

14. (April 20) Last Class

Course Announcement
The seminar will weave itself in, around, and through a select group of modernist and contemporary works to explore the pursuit of, and aversion to, the ordinary in relation to the dialectical, dialogical, ideological, and ideolectical, with special reference to the vernacular, assimilation / anti-assimilation, second-language speakers, schtick, vaudeville, the comedic, the emergence of popular music in the context of folk music, and the blues. A key theme will be the project, among the poets, to avoid reification either of the poem or the poem's subject. The philosophical context for this will include De Certeau's Practice of Everyday Life, Peter Nicholls' Modernisms: A Literary Guide, Deleuze & Guattari's Toward a Minor Literature, and Basil Bernsten's Class Codes and Control, along with excerpts from variuos social theories of language by Wittengenstein, Hines, Raymond Williams, Althusser, Burke, Volisinov, Gramsci, Bourdieu, and Foucault. The readings and "listening" (there will be much recorded material) will consist primarily of short selections of poems (and sometimes essays) organized around several core topics: The Everyday (Baudelaire, Williams, Stevens, Creeley, Hannah Weiner, Schuyler); Dialectic of Dialect (Dunbar, Stein, McKay, J.W. Johnson, Tolson, Brown, Hughes, Vachel Lindsay, Fanny Brice, W.C. Handy, Charley Patton, Toomer, Oscar Hammerstein II, Gershwin/Heywood, Paul Robeson, Cole Porter, Eliot, McCaffery's tr. of Marx, Rothenberg's "Horse Songs", Harryette Mullen, David Antin); MacDiarmid and Bunting; Second Wave/Objectivists Plus (Reznikoff, Oppen, Zukofsky, Loy, Neidecker, Riding); Ideolect (Mallarmé, Khlebnikov, Schwitters, Abraham Lincoln Gillespie, Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, Cab Calloway's scat, Coolidge, Melnick, Inman, Mac Low).