You can’t hurt a poem, and other lessons from Charles Bernstein

Charles Bernstein is an inventive poet, writer of libretti, translator, archivist, and, since 2003, a member of Penn’s faculty. Bernstein is the Donald T. Regan Professor of English and Comparative Literature and co-director of PennSound. He retired from the Department of English at the end of the spring 2019 semester.

One image of Charles Bernstein presently and another of Charles Bernstein from the 1970s
Now and then: Charles Bernstein, Donald T. Regan Professor of English and Comparative Literature (Photo: Omnia Magazine)

In this podcast, Bernstein recounts his high school days as a theater buff and activist, how a poetry movement grew out of a trip to the Canadian rain forest, and the importance of audio archives. 

In 2019, Bernstein was awarded the Bollingen Prize for American Poetry. The Bollingen Prize is given biennially by the Yale University Library to an American poet for the best book published during the previous two years or for lifetime achievement in poetry.

This story, by Lauren Thacker, originally appeared in Omnia Magazine.