Thursday, November 08, 2007

Charles Bernstein, "Taches Blanches"

Charles Bernstein
University of Pennsylvania

Great Moments in Taches Blanches

“Freedom is never free”

[One July, it was 1997, a small group, convened by Emmanuel Hoquard, met at the Centre de Poésie & Traductions at Fondation Royaumont, near Paris, to play the “blank spots” game (le gam taches blanches). If the game of blank spots were a betting game it would go like this: “I'll see your nothing and raise you nothing.” Parent figure: “I didn’t raise you to say things like that.” Parent figure: “Leave them alone & they’ll come home, wagging their tales behind them.” I present here one of my contributions to the Royaumont meeting.]

1. Jimmy Stewart is Tache Blanc in Blank Check, un film de Jean-Jacques Lecercle.

2. “I have lost my notes but maybe I will find them during my nap.”

3. Staedtler “Mars Plastic” Eraser (Cf.: Rauschenberg¹s erased DeKooning, c. 1954).

4. Lascaux sans image.

5. THE GLARE OF THE BLANK (the tear of the ... )

6. Don’t blink.

7. Blink.

8. She shot me point blank.

She shot me at point blank range.

I got shot at point blank range.

9. Johnny must have slipped me a Mickey because the next thing I knew everything started to go blank and I found myself on the floor next to the coach and she was saying to me: “[Quote removed by Tom Raworth for further study]”

10. ( )

11. (

12. ).

13. There’s no blank like the present.

14. .



15. Blank Stare.

16. The anoriginal space between versions (translation & source, text & performance, cup & lip) is the grace of blankness.

17. This section intentionally left blank.

18. “Never give a sucker an even blank.”

19. “Don’t blank on it.”

20. “Don’t blank out on me. Not now.”

20a. Her glance pierced me like blanks firing on an icy precipice.

21. Goffmann¹s “disattend track” (Frame Analysis).

22. In the blank of an eye.

23. Drawing a blank (II):

24. “The gap I mean.”


26. The gap in agape.

27. “Rob sees red when Laura goes blond.”

28. The savage wilderness of the desert.

29. All problems of language are problems of translation.

30. “Running on empty.”

31. Arakawa/Gins: “Forming Blank”
(tube / twisted tube / . . . . . . . ).

31. Fill in the blank: ______, ________, _______.

31. Blanched but not bowed.

31. Waldrop’s paradox : The only one who can judge the translation knows both languages and so can¹t judge it.

31. “DU CALME:

Poetry makes nothing happen”

(Rogélio Lopez Cuenca).

31. Poetry fakes nothing actually.



Charles Bernstein’s recent books include Girly Man, With Strings, and My Way: Speeches and Poems, from the University of Chicago Press, Shadowtime from Green Integer, and Republics of Reality: Poems 1975-1995 from Sun & Moon Press. He is codirector of PennSound (
writing.upenn.edu/pennsound) and is Regan Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. More info at epc.buffalo.edu.

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