Charles Bernstein was born in New York, New York, in 1950. He received his BA from Harvard College.
Among Bernstein’s more than twenty books of poetry are Girly Man (University of Chicago Press, 2006); With Strings (University of Chicago Press, 2001); Republics of Reality: 1975–1995 (Sun & Moon Press, 2000); Dark City (Sun & Moon Press, 1994); Rough Trades (Sun & Moon Press, 1991); The Nude Formalism (20 Pages, 1989), with illustrations by the artist Susan Bee; Legend, first published in 1980 by Bernstein’s L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E magazine with Bruce Andrews, Ray DiPalma, Steve McCaffery, and Ron Silliman as coauthors and rereleased as Legend: The Complete Facsimile in Context (University of New Mexico Press, 2020); Parsing (Asylum’s Press, 1976); and Asylums (Asylum’s Press).
Bernstein is also the author of three books of essays, My Way: Speeches and Poems (University of Chicago Press, 1999); A Poetics (Harvard University Press, 1992); and Content’s Dream: Essays 1975–1984 (Sun & Moon Press, 1986). Additionally, he has edited many anthologies of poetry and poetics including Close Listening: Poetry and the Performed Word (Oxford University Press, 1998) and The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Book (Southern Illinois University Press, 1984), with Bruce Andrews.
Among Bernstein’s translations from the French are Olivier Cadiot’s Red, Green, and Black (Potes and Poets Press, 1990) and Claude Royed-Journoud’s The Maternal Drape, or The Restitution (Awede, 1985). In the 1970s, Bernstein cofounded 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 Dean Drummond, Ben Yarmolinsky, and Brian Ferneyhough.
Bernstein’s 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.
Bernstein serves as the executive editor and cofounder of The Electronic Poetry Center at SUNY at Buffalo. He is the Donald T. Regan Professor Emeritus of English and comparative literature at the University of Pennsylvania.