“The English word ‘calculate’ has a double life: in standard English it means to ‘reckon’ or ‘intend’ and in dialect it means ‘to guess.’ These contrary, wayward, definitions—the first so full of certainty, the second so full of ironic doubt—shimmer and clash on every page of Charles Bernstein’s obsessive, brilliant new book of poems, Recalculating.”
|Publication date: April 1, 2013 ||Cloth $25.00/£16.00 |
|Foreign Publication Date: April 8, 2013 |
|ISBN: 978-0-226-92528-8 |
With poem titles like “The Truth in Pudding,” “The Importance of Being Bob,” and “Won’t You Give Up This Poem To Someone Who Needs It?” Recalculating is everything we’ve come to love and expect from Charles Bernstein. It is also his first full-length collection of new poems in seven years, and it surpasses his previous work in scope, scale, and stylistic variation. Together, these poemstake readers on a journey through the history and poetics of the decades since the end of the Cold War as seen through the lens of social turbulence and personal tragedy.
The collection’s title, the now-familiar GPS expression, suggests a change in direction due to a mistaken or unexpected turn. For Bernstein, formal invention is a necessary swerve in the midst of difficulty. In these poems, Bernstein makes good on his claim that “the poetry is not in speaking to the dead but listening to the dead.” In doing so, Recalculating incorporates translations and adaptations of Baudelaire, Cole Porter, Mandelstam, and Paul Celan, as well as several tributes to writers crucial to Bernstein’s work and a set of epigrammatic verse essays that combine poetics with wry observation, caustic satire, and aesthetic slapstick.
Charles Bernstein lives in New York and is the Donald T. Regan Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as coeditor of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, the Electronic Poetry Center, and PennSound and cofounder of the SUNY-Buffalo Poetics Program. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among his many publications are three books also published by the University of Chicago Press: Girly Man, With Strings, and My Way: Speeches and Poems.