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Notes on Post-Conceptual Poetry

from Insert Blanc Press


Notes on Post-Conceptual Poetry by Felix Bernstein is an aggravated survey of contemporary poetry, art, and criticism; compounded by compulsive archaeological digging in to the relics and ruins of Language poetry, Conceptual poetry, and Felix’s own familiar familial corpus. He shows how our Millennial artists (Lady Gaga to Dorothea Lasky), literary movements (Post-Conceptual Poetry to Alt Lit), and political philosophies (Speculative Materialism to Queer Theory), interface with 20th-century aesthetics by revising (through appeals to sincerity, affect, and the great outdoors) and reinforcing (through lingering appeals to irony and the presumed necessity of reductive meme-making and networking) the daunting trifecta of post-structuralism, critical theory, and postmodernism.




"Bernstein’s “anxiety of influence” seems to traverse the Oedipal and risk fratricide. In this way, it bears resemblance to Susan Sontag’s Notes on Camp — a disdainful yet informative and endearing analysis of coterie stylistics. He rushes through a canon that seems to have evolved and dissolved in the course of a few years. This makes for a high voltage read, avoiding the trappings of academic inertia and artworld valorizations. Ultimately, Bernstein’s first book clears the way for ensuing grotesque and complex portraits."


– Cassandra Seltman, Los Angeles Review of Books



“It seems unfair that Felix Bernstein should both be born into the position of heir to a famous poetry surname and be something of a genius—should such a slim boy be burdened with both? It’s enough to make one flap one’s humid veil like a frog-duenna. Yet this book is one of sheer pace and fitful pleasures, post-conceptualism’s ‘death of the work’ a reinvention of zero, as intrepid Felix nimbly parries with the spectre of Kenny Goldsmith, with various twentieth-century proper nouns, with family/literary history, and, always, with himself, a tail-chasing enterprise which traces another zero which is also an infinitesimal stage. If his subject, post-conceptualism, somehow keeps slipping over the horizon in this hectic romance, so much the better for the continuation of the chase.”


– Joyelle McSweeney (author Percussion Grenade from Fence and Salamandine: 8 Gothics from Tarpaulin Sky Press)



Notes on Post-conceptual Poetry is a list of ninety-three (93) notes, plus intro and endnotes, in which Bernstein attempts the most explicit and energetic deconstruction of prevailing avant-garde social minutiae I’ve yet encountered. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever read a text more intelligibly self-aware. Drawing on thinkers from Deleuze to Lacan to Love to Ngai to Badiou to Barthes to Perloff, and combining a Zizekian X-ray vision with the biting “you can’t scare me” of youth, Notes constitutes Bernstein’s irruption into / refusal of the institutional avant-garde.”


– Monroe Lawrence, The Capilano Review




“Felix Bernstein’s Notes on Post-Conceptual Poetry counter-canonically induces its subjects by way of negative generational reconnaissance and horrifically attritional complicity. It’s tough: sheaving a set of contemporaneous cultural productions, this work of maddened criticism plays privilege up the transplatformal compound it flexes to obscure a punctum. Insert Blanc Press didn’t get these Notes first, after all—Facebook and The Voltadid, as may others still. An insistent skepticism resonates intra-argumentatively, doubtlessly and hopelessly cauterized by the conceptual lineage it serves to chip away at, leakage inevitable—and in “longing (for an end to work),” against and by the predecessors that shaped it. This version of Notes on Post-Conceptual Poetry also did not receive the assistance of an NEA Art Works Grant; nevertheless, it successfully arranges its excesses along an advanced political-philosophical horizon while exhaustively antagonizing the assessments those arrangements produce. Frantic, tactical, and resistant to endogenic rumor, it stages a few of the troubling and provocational concerns that presently riddle Bernstein’s network of writers and artists, young and old alike—their nascence approaching a discontinuity of precedential adjudications to trend and fault.”


– J. Gordon Faylor, Gauss PDF




“This book pretty much gets the now. Like with a slam dunk. And it knows it is slam dunking too. But even tho he's that total know-it-all boy in high school you gotta love him cuz he's also totally twisty and dark too. As in somber. Like a Jewish intellectual Edward from Twilight. I think we all dig boys with good breeding who are a little smart and crazy and blood thirsty. So why not try him out? It'll be a fun ride, if nothing else.”


– Hilary Duff (author of Elixir, Simon & Schuster)



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