The final chapter on Bernstein brings us back to emphasizing the irreconcilability in the dialectic that Edmond points to: Bernstein’s ‘frame switching’ (165) will not be held to one side or the other of the transnational debates that interest him: Bernstein will insist on being, as one of his book titles indicates, a Girly Man. Bernstein’s is the sole example in this book of a writer whose transcultural interests do not extend to any sustained particular translingual or translation work, and to an extent this chapter seems least relevant to the particular dialectics that Edmond focuses on most strongly. To be sure, Bernstein is an influential and academically situated writer whose concerns about the global and the local, about refiguring poetic Englishes, are in the zone that Edmond is writing about. But there is little opportunity here for Edmond to perform his critical strengths regarding transnationalism and translation. Reading the commentary on Bei Dao and verbal conjugation in Chinese, for example, illuminates the special strengths that Edmond brings to the academic table: it is rare to be able to consider English rhyme, Chinese syntax, and Russian pronouns. However it is less rare to hear as in the Bernstein chapter, New York described as ‘the heart of the world’s geopolitical, economic, and cultural system’, a lapse into hegemonic rhetoric not characteristic of this book’s simultaneously widened and particularized scope.
LISA SAMUELS is an American teaching literature and creative writing at The University of Auckland. She publishes on poetry and critical practice and is also the author of eleven poetry collections including Gender City (2011) and Wild Dialectics (2012). A creative non-fiction book, Anti M, is forthcoming from Chax Press.