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Bruce Andrews Biography

(1948– ), L-A-N-G-U- A-G-E

American poet, born in Chicago, educated at Harvard. He settled in New York in 1975, where he became a professor of politics at Fordham. He was editor of L-A-N-G-U- A-G-E with Charles Bernstein (197981). He is a performance artist and poet whose texts are some of the most radical of the Language school (see Language Poetry); his poetry tries ‘to cast doubt on each and every “natural” construction of language’. Small linguistic units, idioms, phrases, and single words, taken from different, sometimes mutually exclusive registers, especially discourses which are socially sensitive and resonant to contemporary ears, enable the poetry to ‘suggest a social undecidability’. I Don't Have Any Paper So Shut Up (or, Social Romanticism) (1990) comes as close as any American poet to fulfilling Whitman's aim of allowing the ‘forbidden voices, voices of sexes and lusts’ to speak, a vast cacophony of urban self-presentational idioms, even when these are in violent opposition to one another. Other works include Getting Ready to Have Been Frightened (1978/1988), Love Songs (1982), Give Em Enough Rope (1987), Tizzy Boost (1993), and Moebius (1993). His influential essays have appeared in The L-A-N-G-U- A-G-E Book (1984) and The Politics of Poetic Form (1990).

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Agha Shahid Ali Biography to Ardoch Perth and Kinross