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Girly Man

Girly Man

by Charles Bernstein


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Heir to the democratic and poetic sensibilities of Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg, Charles Bernstein has always crafted verse that responds to its historical moment, but no previous collection of his poems so specifically addresses the events of its time as Girly Man, whichfeatures works written on the evening of September 11, 2001, and in response to the war in Iraq. Here, Bernstein speaks out, combining self-deprecating humor with incisive philosophical and political thinking.
     Composed of works of very different forms and moods—etchings from moments of acute crisis, comic excursions, formal excavations, confrontations with the cultural illogics of contemporary political consciousness—the poems work as an ensemble, each part contributing something necessary to an unrealizable and unrepresentable whole.  
      A passionate defense of contingency, resistance, and multiplicity, Girly Man is a provocative and aesthetically challenging collection of radical verse from one of America’s most controversial poets.
      “A major achievement. . . . Anyone interested in contemporary poetry should seek out the collection, if only to read one of our most provocative poet-critics writing his most engaging poems to date.”—Thomas Devaney, PhiladelphiaInquirer

      “Charles Bernstein writes both prose and poetry about poetry, sometimes brilliantly, in ways calculated to upset the middlebrow and thwart the bland. The more you like the poetic equivalent of a nice tune, easy to hum, the more Bernstein means to disrupt your complacency.”—Robert Pinsky, Washington Post

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226044293
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 03/15/2008
Pages: 188
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Charles Bernstein is the Donald T. Regan Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of more than twenty books, including My Way: Speeches and Poems and With Strings, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

Table of Contents

Let’s Just Say

In Particular

Thank You for Saying Thank You

Let’s Just Say

“every lake . . .”

Some of These Daze

It’s 8:23 in New York

Today is the next day of the rest of your life


Report from Liberty Street

Letter from New York

World on Fire

Didn’t We

The Folks Who Live on the Hill

One More for the Road

In a Restless World Like This Is

Ghost of a Chance

Choo Choo Ch’Boogie

Stranger in Paradise

Broken English

Lost in Drowned Bliss

Sunset at Quaquaversal Point

A Flame in Your Heart



Fantasy on Nightmare on Elm Street Theme

“Cum ipse . . .”

He’s So Heavy, He’s My Sokal

Why I Don’t Meditate


Language, Truth, and Logic

from Canti Antichi

Slap Me Five, Cleo, Mark’s History

In Parts

Reading Red


In Parts


Photo Opportunity


Castor Oil


Jacobs’s Ladder

Don’t Get Me Wrong

Interim Standoff

Should We Let Patients Write Down Their Own Dreams?

Bridges Freeze Before Roads

Pocket in the Hole

Evening Sail with Prawns

Secrets of a Clear Hand

Rain Is Local

Set Free (Knot)

If You Lived Here You’d Be Home Now

The Warble of the Ammonia-Bellied Barkeep

“And if then . . .”

Comforting Thoughts

Further Color Notes


Girly Man

War Stories

There’s Beauty in the Sound of the Rushing Brook as It Forks & Bends in the Moonlight

Sign Under Test

A Poem Is Not a Weapon

Emma’s Nursery Rimes

Wherever Angels Go

Death Fugue (Echo)

The Beauty of Useless Things: A Kantian Tale


The Bricklayer’s Arms

The Ballad of the Girly Man

Notes and Acknowledgments

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