Burn Book / Notes on Post-Conceptual Poetry /
from Nightbook Books
Artist and writer Felix Bernstein’s first book of poems mordantly stages his attempt to pick between family, lovers, coteries, and solitude. Drawing on the story of child muse Eva Ionesco, Bernstein troubles the melodramatic coming-of-age story with his neurotic self-critical ruminations. Does the pouty, post-digital, coquettish boy have recourse to transgression? To answer, Bernstein rummages through the closets of his queer and familial lineages and finds many skeletons in waiting. Awkward, fragile, imposing, parodic, and earnest, these poems push brooding indifference into elegy and seduction. Burn Book, full of correspondence and confession, is an irreverent and irresistible treat for those readers who dare to be burned.
"Felix Bernstein is a burn out, a mean girl, a silly fag, and an old hag. He is also burnt-out, for the rest of us have clearly sold out while fantasizing about punishment or transgression, victory or victimization. There isn’t even the smallest morsel of satisfaction on offer… at least not to Felix Bernstein. It's all masturbation. Maybe, exhausted, spent, a whisper can emerge. It is okay to be weary. We are all case studies in a zoo full of breakdown speech. We are all self-immolating in hipster rubble."
– Jamieson Webster
“It's not Burn *This* Book, a demand for self-consuming aesthetics, but Burn Book, a book performing burns: not suicidal fires but a stream of abrasions on what represents life rather than being it. Bernstein risks the presence that comes from flinging writing into many impossible and agitated scenes. A frottage aesthetics trying to bring life back to life.”
– Lauren Berlant
“To blurb Burn Book is to participate cheerfully in Felix Bernstein’s performance of willed stardom; to blurb is to enter his porn-phantasmagoria, his intellectual fugue-state, in a way that both disturbs and delights me. Burn Book— too incandescent for repose—is all genius, all chutzpah, all tragi-comedy, all theory, all affront, all career, all elegy, all gift. He lives up to Artaud’s exalted, punishing standard of flame. It’s impossible for me not to be troubled and mesmerized by this book’s poignant quest for authenticity via hyper-professionally embodied disembodiment.”
– Wayne Koestenbaum
Copyright © 2017 Felix Bernstein. All Rights Reserved.