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Burn Book
Felix Bernstein

2016 • 126 pp. 6 x 9"

$16.95 Paperback, 978-1-937658-42-7

Bernstein's debut collection unfurls as an amalgamation of forms that . . . entrances with layered emotion.”—Publishers Weekly

An irreverent and irresistible debut collection by a young artist and writer

Artist and writer Felix Bernstein’s first book of poems mordantly stages his attempt to pick between family, lovers, coteries, and solitude. Drawing on the story of child muse Eva Ionesco, Bernstein troubles the melodramatic coming-of-age story with his neurotic self-critical ruminations. Does the pouty, post-digital, coquettish boy have recourse to transgression? To answer, Bernstein rummages through the closets of his queer and familial lineages and finds many skeletons in waiting. Awkward, fragile, imposing, parodic, and earnest, these poems push brooding indifference into elegy and seduction. Burn Book, full of correspondence and confession, is an irreverent and irresistible treat for those readers who dare to be burned.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“It's not Burn *This* Book, a demand for self-consuming aesthetics, but Burn Book, a book performing burns: not suicidal fires but a stream of abrasions on what represents life rather than being it. Bernstein risks the presence that comes from flinging writing into many impossible and agitated scenes. A frottage aesthetics trying to bring life back to life.” —Lauren Berlant

“Private thought, critique, and personal narrative reside within a hyper-fabricated structure that results in a drama felt burn by burn. Antonin Artaud once defined poetry as “a dissociating and anarchic force which through analogy, associations and imagery, thrives on the destruction of known relationships”. Burn Book comprises a series of burns that situate themselves in a realm of delighted destruction. More subtly, burning represents an intensity, an all consuming force that both brightens and annihilates. As much as Bernstein symbolically burns others, each with a dedicated section in the book, he also burns representations of himself, memory, representations of art and poetry, and representations of success.”—Kalliopi Mathios, Queen Mobs

“Felix Bernstein is a burn out, a mean girl, a silly fag, and an old hag. He is also burnt-out, for the rest of us have clearly sold out while fantasizing about punishment or transgression, victory or victimization. There isn't even the smallest morsel of satisfaction on offer . . . at least not to Felix Bernstein. It's all masturbation. Maybe, exhausted, spent, a whisper can emerge. It is okay to be weary. We are all case studies in a zoo full of breakdown speech. We are all self-immolating in hipster rubble.”—Jamieson Webster

“To blurb Burn Book is to participate cheerfully in Felix Bernstein's performance of willed stardom; to blurb is to enter his porn-phantasmagoria, his intellectual fugue-state, in a way that both disturbs and delights me. Burn Book—too incandescent for repose—is all genius, all chutzpah, all tragicomedy, all theory, all affront, all career, all elegy, all gift. He lives up to Artaud’s exalted, punishing standard of flame. It’s impossible for me not to be troubled and mesmerized by this book’s poignant quest for authenticity via hyper-professionally embodied disembodiment.”—Wayne Koestenbaum

From the Book:


Charles watches from the upper deck
Susan with her Popsicle stick
The peeping zap of desire
On the morning lawn

Middle school splashes
Tangy orange chewed up
Grizzle cakes and
Barney pees sticky

My hairlick catches the
Monstrous eye of the barber

We were free then, slurping Gogurt
Jacking off to our own nudity

We were the world's youngest pedophiles
But clitoral tails tore us apart
Ball sacks covered with marmite

Grandpa fell outside of Dean & DeLuca's

Baby lust concealed by
Central Park shrubbery

Look we're casting a shadow on grandpa's grave

His own Axe deodorant
Makes him horny for
Institutional boy culture

The friends forget 9/11 together

Jerry Springer and Tom Green
Show me their things

HDTV asphyxiates my grandmother

Freedom in corndog land
Catdog suckles down
Cinnamon Toast Crunch and
It's not rape if it happens in a lucid dream

FELIX BERNSTEIN debuted on YouTube with his satirical (yet real) high-school coming-out video in 2008; going on to play Amy Winehouse, Lamb Chop, and Leopold (Peter) Brant. Bernstein’s critical and uncritical writings have appeared in BOMB, the Believer, Hyperallergic, and the Boston Review. His book of essays, Notes on Post-Conceptual Poetry, was published in 2014. His solo performance Adonis or Bieber Bathos Elegy will premiere at the Whitney in the fall and he is currently the R & D Fellow at the New Museum.

Sat, 20 Oct 2018 15:47:32 -0500