6. Charles Bernstein and Broken English

Through the writings of US poet Charles Bernstein, this chapter examines the tension between affective immediacy and distancing artifice in attempts to read and write our era of globalization. From his late–Cold War essays on Ezra Pound and his post–Cold War writing on the “Poetics of the Americas” to his post-9/11 response to the invasion of Iraq in Girly Man and World on Fire, Bernstein highlights the dichotomy between aesthetic and ideological approaches to contemporary literature and culture, inviting both ideologically suspicious and defen­sively theological readings of his work. He also exemplifies the related problem of the loss of affect in the distant reading prac­tices that a global perspective seems to entail. In the tension between ideology and theology, artifice and affect, the chapter locates the implicated position of poem, writer, and critic within the global circulation of capital and the uneven structures of modernity.

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