Content’s Dream: Essays 1975-1984

Content's Dream: Essays 1975-1984 is the celebrated introduction to language poetry by one of its leading practitioners. First published in 1986 and now a classic study of poetry and poetics in late twentieth-century America, this collection offers thirty-seven of Bernstein's essays, including the influential works "Thought's Measure" and "Semblance." Bernstein ranges over poets and visual artists as diverse as William Carlos Williams, Louis Zukofsky, Charles Olson, and Robert Creeley. At once irreverent and deeply serious, as indebted to Groucho Marx as it is to Karl Marx, Content's Dream stakes out a clear cultural and aesthetic position for one extraordinary poet, for language poetry, and for our time.

"[Content's Dream] is the most exciting and challenging book of essays I have read in quite some time. The range of reference, style, and thought makes for stimulating reading, the kind that inevitably leads to other reading (as well as re-reading)." --Hank Lazer, Missouri Review

"A terrific manifestation of an exemplary contemporary intellectual forging what we might consider a conscience for his time." --Charles Altieri, University of Washington

"Certain works are recognized as defining an epoch. . . .Postmodernism is now a distinctly articulated cultural formation. Within it, Content's Dream has been without question one of its defining critical and aesthetic documents." --Jerome McGann, University of Virginia