Dear Dispatches:

While surfing the fickle waves of the web today I landed on a couple of items that might interest you. One is a review of Heriberto Yepez’s new book, and the other is a report he wrote for a Mexican paper (links below) It seems someone let your old friend out of his cage and he is frothing at the mouth about Charles Olson again, this time attacking people around Olson. You probably won’t have realized this, but apparently Amiri Baraka was an Uncle Tom apologist for “imperial poetics.” Unlike, it turns out, Charles Bernstein of whom Heriberto is a huge stan. Bernstein, you might be surprised to learn, is one of the leading innovative poets in the United States.

Olson again, I asked myself? Really? My sense is that the first attack got Yepez a certain attention, he’s an attention hound & wants more, so he goes after Baraka. He’s a shrink (note: Surrealism was all about le point suprême in which Freud & Marx are synthesized); he knows he’s going to trigger a lot of people if he reduces Baraka to the figure of an Uncle Tom; and he knows that when people get triggered their neuroses play out. I’ve heard that he’s writing his diss on Benjamin at Berkeley (maybe it’s finished by now?). So at some level he (& CB) want to play Benjamin against Olson, the same way the LangPos esp. Bernstein wanted to play Zukofsky against Olson. It’s the art of lifemanship, not poetry. Confuse & disorient in order to gain authority over others (“greatest living innovative American poet”). It’s really a mirror image of Trump. Yepez’s blindness to the homeopathic like-against-like therapy of Olson’s anti-imperialist poetics replays his own blindness to the repressed figure of a similar poetics in his own Trumpist schitck. Call it the dysfunctional, attention-grabbing poetics proceeding from an anxiety of influence w/ a “father figure” who effectively felled Pound and had sex w/ Pound’s Muse. What’s Benjamin got to do w/ it?

With love as always,


The Resonant Resistances of Political Poetry

Bernstein y Rothenberg en México