featuresPoetry For Art
Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Before You Go: With Drawings by Susan Bee, Dedicated to Emma Bee Bernstein


Susan Bee writes: Charles wrote the poem in July and August of 2010, while we were traveling and on vacation. In August in Provincetown, I read the manuscript of the poem and decided to set excerpts from the poem. The pages published here are my settings of lines from the poem, with hand drawn and collaged elements and with lines that are also hand lettered. This differs from some of our other collaborations which have been typeset and published as books such as Little Orphan Anagram, (Granary Books, 1997), Log Rhythms (Granary Books, 1998), and The Nude Formalism (Sun and Moon, 1989). Altogether, we have collaborated on five books and several paintings. However, I was also thinking of our very first collaboration,Johnny June, with a poem by Charles, which I illustrated and hand lettered in 1971. At a recent reading of “Before You  Go” at the Maison de Poesie, in Paris,  France, which was accompanied by a projection of the collages, Charles dedicated the poem to Emma, our daughter who died in 2008.

Click the image of Emma to view the Bernstein/Bee collaboration and read Charles Bernstein’s poem in full

Emma Bee Bernstein, Self Portrait with Change Machine and Pearls, 2006. Courtesy of Janet Kurnatowski Gallery

Emma Bee Bernstein, Self Portrait with Change Machine and Pearls, 2006. Courtesy of Janet Kurnatowski Gallery

Charles Bernstein is author of All the Whiskey in Heaven: Selected Poems (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2010), Blind Witness: Three American Operas (Factory School, 2008); Girly Man (Chicago Press, 2006), and My Way: Speeches and Poems (Chicago, 1999). He teaches at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is co-director of PennSound. There will be a party for his new book Attack of the Difficult Poems: Essays and Inventions (University of Chicago: 2011) on Saturday, June 11, 4-6 pm, at A.I.R. Gallery, 111 Front St., #228, Dumbo, Brooklyn. More info at epc.buffalo.edu.

Susan Bee is a painter, editor, and book artist who lives in New York City. Her latest solo show, Recalculating: New Paintings, will be at A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn from May 25th to June 19, 2011. Her work has been included in numerous group shows and has been reviewed in Art in America, Art News, The Forward, The New York Times, Art Papers, and The Brooklyn Rail. Her 13 artist’s books include collaborations with Susan Howe, Johanna Drucker, Charles Bernstein, Regis Bonvicino, and Jerome Rothenberg. Bee is the co-editor with Mira Schor of M/E/A/N/I/N/G: An Anthology of Artist’s Writings, Theory, and Criticism (Duke University Press, 2000) and M/E/A/N/I/N/G Online. She has had fellowships and grants from Yaddo, the Virginia Center for the Arts, the NEA, and NYSCA. Bee teaches in the School of Visual Arts MFA in Art Criticism and Writing program. Her website is: http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/bee


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