This essay argues that “language poetry,” usually taken to be a North American invention, with debts to the objectivists, the Black Mountain school, and New York poetry, also carries on the tradition of two seemingly unrelated non-U.S. movements: concretism and Oulipo. In Charles Bernstein's 2005 libretto for Brian Ferneyhough's opera “about” Walter Benjamin, Shadowtime, visual poetics, Oulipo constraint, and citation from Benjamin's own writings come together to produce a playful but also profound “poem including history” (Pound 1954: 86) for our current moment. At once homage and critique, documentary and fantasy, Shadowtime points the way for a digital poetics—a poetics that takes into account the information glut and déjà dit of the twenty-first century and demonstrates what appropriation, framing, and recycling can accomplish.

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