The present essay contextualizes the poet, scholar, editor, and translator Charles Bernstein (b. 1950), as an artist and practitioner working within a speculative translingual (language-crossing) field and tradition of expanded Yiddish. Reading Bernstein in relation to other expanded-Yiddish figures, such as his elders, Hannah Weiner (1928–77) and Jerome Rothenberg (b. 1931), and ancestor, Walter Benjamin (1892–1940), among others, this essay makes a case for Bernstein as a writer who works from a position of antinomian Jewish translational originlessness, and a diasporic poetics of “need” (à la Charles Reznikoff), in which every source can be understood as a translation and every translation might be treated as a potential source. The coda of the essay addresses the stakes of Bernstein's praxes from the perspective of widespread modern and contemporary anti-Semitism and Jewish self-hatred and concludes with the first ever translation of Bernstein's poetry into Yiddish proper.

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