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Hoffberg, Judith—Umbrella Magazine
Judith Hoffberg, "Review of A Conversation with David Antin by David Antin and Charles Bernstein, with Album Notes by David Antin." Umbrella Magazine 25.1 (April 2002).

A Conversation with David Antin by David Antin and Charles Bernstein, with Album Notes by David Antin (New York, Granary Books, 2002) is a monument to catching David Antin talking about his life, rather than the events that create a "talking" and this is an important book to add to one's understanding of this poet, critic, performance artist and polymath. Now a Getty Scholar, Antin's poetry is spoken, transcribed and only then does it become a written poem. But conversations are rich, engrossing and full of ideas with Antin, and to pick Charles Bernstein to go at it with him was a perfect match.  The book is a great read, whether you know the protagonists or not, and is a result of an e-mail conversation back and forth lasting up to four months, which created not an article, but a book of uncut dialogue. And it is a history of the last half of the 20th century not only through poetry, but through culture, the culture of New York, the culture of the West Coast, the culture of two intelligent writers/ readers/ consumers of culture who coalesce into conversing as an art form.

The second text, Album Notes, is a kind of scrapbook of photographs from Antin's life with extended annotations, verbal elaborations of the pictures, which together, add further dimension to the work of a writer and thinker which Jerry Rothenberg has termed "as important a poet as we've got in America." Antin may think he is out of synch with what is going on, but he is much more prescient than most cultured people I know, and he offers us so much in this wonderful book which should be a treat for all! Buy two and give one as a gift.





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