Originally written as an afterword to a book-length translation of poems by Charles Bernstein, this piece was meant to introduce his recent poetry and poetics to a French audience. It does so by pondering the twin economic and nautical senses contained in the title Bernstein suggested for the collection: Poetry Bailout (in French, Renflouer la poésie). What is the value of poetry? What are its uses? These are questions which have underpinned Bernstein's work. In an early essay, adapting a statement by Simone Weil, Bernstein posited that poetry draws its social—or antisocial—power from the fact that “it is ceaselessly creating a scale of values ‘that is not of this world.’” One way it does that is by intensifying the experience of reading. Placing his recent poetics under the aegis of Poe, Bernstein has managed to balance poetry's social and aesthetic functions by cultivating the uses of aesthetics, reconciling pragmatism with unabashed aestheticism.

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