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Bernstein, "The Klupzy Girl"


This crib is based on my lecture and seminar notes for teaching this poen to students who have little or no experience of experimental poetry

Like in Koch’s “A Time Zone” poem seems to take place on a bus as poet travels to Boston,probably from New York (3 hour journey)

Opening 20 or so lines are a series of statements to do with modes of expression: poetry, parables, deciphering, protest, alibis, telepathy, epistles, phrasemongering, evocation, explanations, glossing

Self-referentiality: regularly calls attention to the experience of reading the poem or poetry itself: poetry is like a swoon, his parables, not gymnastic: pyrotechnic, perfume scented, enacting, thoughtlessly, glossings of reality seemed like stretching it to cover ground

Techniques: lineation at odds with sentences, gaps between sentences result not in narrative or cohesion but confusion, cohesion instead comes from association, repetition, randomness and self-referentiality; good deal of caesura use or interruptions within the lines

Cohesion versus disjuncture, poetry and prose: Next long section juxtaposes a coherent narrative of someone leaving work with 20 or so profoundly fragmented, disjunctive phrases. Here incoherence now exists in the sentence not between them.

Materiality of the Signifier: next section deals with the material conditions of poetry production: to stroll on the beach is to be in the company of a wage-earner, to command a view of it from a vantage point, ruthlessness, when you stop acting in good faith. Here traditional poetic tropes (beaches and mountains) are inscribed in financial or power structures

Back to work: It seems the person leaving work may have been fired due to these mysterious calls!

Civilisation: towards the poem’s end the poet considers the relation between civilazation and barbarism.

Bus crash: Car smashed into; camera stolen; get off in Boston and everything seems to go crazy
Final 7 lines: inconclusive and suggestive, like only half of each line is present: “Fog commends in discourse” takes us back to the swoon or fog of consciousness
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