A companion to the critically acclaimed "My Way", his 1999 montage of essays, conversations and poems, "With Strings" catapults Charles Bernstein into the future of American poetry. A compilation of 69 poems in various forms and styles, dating mostly from the 1990s, "With Strings" is his most buoyant collection to date. With its fractured nursery rhymes, distressed mottoes, runcible riddles and inscrutable sayings, Bernstein takes us on a poetic trip that swerves from the comic to the political, from the whimsical to the elegaic. The whole presents a densely sounded echo chamber in which a range of themes, moods and perceptions extend and reverberate. Charles Bernstein is perhaps best known as one of the founders of the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry movement of the 1970s. He remains one of America's liveliest advocates and practitioners of radically inventive poetry. The title of his new collection, "With Strings", suggests the lush arrangement of a musical work as well as the unacknowledged implications of our everyday agreements. Just as language binds us together with its associated meanings, "With Strings" bounces against the ties that rend us apart as they fasten us together.
From his samplings of everyday life, to his demented yet sonorous iambic beats, Bernstein has once again created a poetry of our time, for our time, and by our time. Ill.