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Charles Bernstein

Charles Bernstein is a poet. Charles Bernstein’s most recent contribution to the Rail was an interview with Etel Adnan (February 2021). His most recent book is Topsy-Turvy from the University of Chicago Press.

Guest Critic

Reviews of relatively recent works of poetry and poetics, mostly by poets.

Illustrations by Drea Cofield.

In Conversation

ETEL ADNAN with Charles Bernstein

Distinguished poet Charles Bernstein speaks with Etel Adnan about her poetry, the creation of language, and the thickness imparted upon oneself by time.

Daniil Kharms, Russian Absurd: Selected Writings

Kharms’s obliquely allegorical dark comedies are at once mystical and mythic, Daoist and Dadaist, daring and deranging, surrealist and satiric, metaphysical and metafictional.

Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door: Bob Dylan and the Adolescent Sublime

Bob Dylan and his Chronicles came to mind this past season at two unexpected places—the retrospective of the sculptor Eva Hesse at the Jewish Museum and Richard Foreman’s most recent show, Zomboid!


Jerome Rothenberg was born in America in 1931. That year, 1931, also marks the beginning of the poet’s parallel, imaginative, investment in the Central European world of his parents, a world that had ceased to exist by the time Rothenberg had moved from babe to boy.

In Conversation

CHARLES BERNSTEIN with Adam Fitzgerald

Charles Bernstein is the author of Attack of the Difficult Poems: Essays and Inventions (University of Chicago Press, 2011); All the Whiskey in Heaven: Selected Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010); Blind Witness: Three American Operas (Factory School, 2008); and Girly Man (Chicago Press, 2006).

Brooklyn Boy Makes Good: Charles Reznikoff, the Poet of New York

The Poems of Charles Reznikoff is necessary reading for anyone interested in 20th-century American poetry. Reznikoff’s astonishingly engaging and quietly powerful work has been steadily gaining a passionate following.

Poetry: The Weatherwomen’s Terror

The Weather Undergound’s 1974 Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism was a poetic manifesto on community and justice. Although self-conscious and moralistic, a recently-reissued collection of the group’s poetry is a sweet alternative to US coup hounds.


While Greg Ames’s novel, Buffalo Lockjaw, contains all the elements of a classic Buffalo story—snow, sports, drinking, despair—Ames has created a narrator, James Fitzroy, who rises above caricature.

George Kuchar’s Otherworldly Humanity

George Kuchar (1942–2011) was one of the most creative, original, and influential filmmakers of our time, straddling two generations of North American iconoclasts, from Stan Brakhage, Ken Jacobs, Rudy Burckhardt, Kenneth Anger, and Michael Snow to Warren Sonbert, Ernie Gehr, Abigail Child, and Henry Hills.

Truth Be Told


Home team suffers string of losses. –- Time to change loyalties…

The Ballad of the Girly Man

For Felix The truth is hidden in a veil of tears/The scabs of the mourners grow thick with fear…

Hero of the Local: Robert Creeley and the Persistence of American Poetry

Creeley, who was born in 1926, was active right up to his last weeks, both writing poems and giving readings.

A Tribute to Steve Dalachinsky

Steve was a force of Nature, driven by compassion & curiosity. He was opened to everything & everyone. He was naked inside & outside with no boundary between.


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2021

All Issues