Charles Bernstein was born in New York City in 1950. He received his B.A. from Harvard College. Among his more than twenty books of poetry are Girly Man (University of Chicago Press , 2006), With Strings (2001), Republics of Reality: 1975-1995 (2000), Dark City (1994), Rough Trades (1991), The Nude Formalism (1989), Stigma (1981), Legend (with Bruce Andrews, Steve McCaffery, Ron Silliman, Ray DiPalma, 1980), and Parsing (1976).
He is also the author of three books of essays, My Way: Speeches and Poems (1999), A Poetics (1992), and Content's Dream: Essays 1975-1984 (1986). He has edited many anthologies of poetry and poetics including Close Listening: Poetry and the Performed Word (1998) and The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Book (1984, with Bruce Andrews).
Among his translations from the French are Red, Green, and Black (1990, by Olivier Cadiot) and The Maternal Drape (1984, by Claude Royed-Journoud). In the 1970s, Bernstein co-founded the influential journal L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E. He has also written the librettos for a number of operas with composers such as Ben Yarmolinsky, Brian Ferneyhough, and Dean Drummond.
Bernstein serves as the Executive Editor, and co-founder, of The Electronic Poetry Center at SUNY-Buffalo. His honors and awards include Yale University's 2019 Bollingen Prize for American Poetry, the Roy Harvey Pearce/Archive for New Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Currently, he is Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania.