Paper $25.00 ISBN: 9780226570693 Published October 2018
Cloth $90.00 ISBN: 9780226570723 Published October 2018
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Charles Bernstein


Charles Bernstein

192 pages | 6 color plates | 6 x 9 | © 2018 
Paper $25.00 ISBN: 9780226570693 Published October 2018
Cloth $90.00 ISBN: 9780226570723 Published October 2018
E-book $10.00 to $25.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226571195 Published October 2018
Downloadable Audio $25.00 ISBN: 9780226927855 Published October 2018

Praised in recent years as a “calculating, improvisatory, essential poet” by Daisy Fried in the New York Times, and as “the foremost poet-critic of our time” by Craig Dworkin, Charles Bernstein is a leading voice in American poetry. Near/Miss, Bernstein’s first poetry collection  in five years, is the apotheosis of his late style, thick with off-center rhythms, hilarious riffs, and verbal extravagance.

This collection’s title highlights poetry’s ability to graze reality without killing it, and at the same time implies that the poems themselves are wounded by the grief of loss. The book opens with a rollicking satire of difficult poetry—proudly declaring itself “a totally inaccessible poem”—and moves on to the stuff of contrarian pop culture and political cynicism—full of malaprops, mondegreens, nonsequiturs, translations of translations, sardonically vandalized signs, and a hilarious yet sinister feed of blog comments. At the same time, political protest also rubs up against epic collage, through poems exploring the unexpected intimacies and continuities of “our united fates.” These poems engage with works by contemporary painters—including Amy Sillman, Rackstraw Downes, and Etel Adnan—and echo translations of poets ranging from Catullus and Virgil to Goethe, Cruz e Souza, and Kandinsky.

Grounded in a politics of multiplicity and dissent, and replete with both sharp edges and subtle intimacies, Near/Miss is full of close encounters of every kind. 

The audio version of the book is read by the author.


Thank You for Saying You’re Welcome
In Utopia
High Tide at Race Point
Don’t Tell Me about the Tide . . .
Grief Haunts the Spoken
Nowhere Is Just around the Corner
S’i’ fosse
The Bluebird of Happiness
Catachresis My Love
Otherwise He’d Be Dead
This Poem Is a Hostage
The Lie of Art
Why I Am Not a Hippie
Apoplexy / Apoplexie
Truly Unexceptional
All Poetry Is Loco
I Used to Be a Plastic Bottle
Why I Am Not an Atheist
The Island of Lost Song
Confederate Battle Flag
Sacred Hate
Me and My Pharaoh . . .
Catullus 70
Where My Bread Is Buttered
He Said He Was a Professor
Autobiography of an Ex-
Why I Am Not a Buddhist
Ballad Laid Bare by Its Devices (Even)
Also Rises the Sun
Concentration (An Elegy)
How I Became Prehuman
Pinky’s Rule
My Mommy Is Lost
Better Off Dead
Water Under the Bridge . . .
Unconstrained Writing
Ugly Duckling
Beyond Compare
The Pond Off Pamet Road
The Nun’s Story
Our United Fates
To Gonzalo Rojas
I Don’t Remember
Contact Western Union Very Urgent
Her Ecstasy Is Abstract
At Sunset, after the Plum Blossoms Begin to Fall . . .
Each Separate Dying Ember
Don’t Say I Passed When I Die
Ring Song
God’s Silence
Doggone Sane
Wild Turning
This Poem Is a Decoy
My Luck
Mystic Brokerage
Seldom Splendor
Song of the Wandering Poet
In the Meantime
Before Time
What Makes a Poem a Poem?
There’s a Hole in My Pocket
Song Dynasty
Lacrimae Rerum
Fare Thee Well

Notes and Acknowledgments
Review Quotes
Claudia Rankine, author of Citizen: An American Lyric
"The term for two words in different languages that appear the same but have completely disparate meanings is a ‘false friend.’ Flip to any page in Charles Bernstein’s mercilessly brilliant, no-holds-barred new collection and you will encounter a friend you thought you knew, but this phrase, quotation, proverb, equation, cameo, bit of received language will have been evacuated and filled again by the poet’s constructions and reorientations. Bernstein puts words and their groupings, associations, and connotations ‘through the wringer,’ submitting them to a kind of durability test, so that when we emerge from the theater of one of his poems, rubbing our eyes to adjust to the light, our ossified relationship to the language we use has been pleasantly, productively obliterated. In the genius of Bernstein, a word is a whirl is a world."
Samuel R. Delany, author of Times Square Red, Times Square Blue
“‘Nothing can be truly interesting except the exhaustive,’ Thomas Mann wrote a long time ago. Many of these poems suggest a return to that spirit, in a poetry of wit, ideas, and exploration, with both ease and elegance. These are poems you want to put down and pick up again. And when you do, you find something you hadn’t seen last time. It’s a book I’m glad to have. You’ll be glad you have it, too.”
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