June 13, 2012

Bruce Andrews

Bruce Andrews [USA]

Born in Chicago on April 1, 1948, Bruce Andrews received his B.A. and M.A. from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and a PhD from Harvard University. In 1975 he moved to New York and there, with poet Charles Bernstein, Andrews edited the magazine, L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E  from 1978 to 1981. The magazine and many of the poets associated with it gave rise to a significant development in American poetics that became known as being language-centered.

     For that journal Andrews wrote several provocative essays on poetics, and over the years has written numerous other works on both poetry  and politics.

  Author of numerous books of poetry, both published and online, Andrews' work is loaded with politically and sexually loaded words that he collages to create strong connotations for his readers. As Andrews notes, from an interview in the Argoist: "I think that writing, to get any social change, needs to shake things up, needs to stir the beehive." In many cases, Andrews created words and word clusters on small cards, rearranging them and positioning them over months and years to create his works.

     From 1975 until recently, Andrews taught politics at Fordham University, where he was sometimes publically challenged by his students for his leftist views.      

     For the last several years he was worked with choreographer and dancer Sally Silvers as a composer and writer, some collaborations which we published by Roof Books as Ex Why Zee: Performance Texts, Collaborations with Sally Silvers, Word Maps, Bricolage & Improvisation in 1995.


Edge (Washington, D.C.: Some Of Us Press, 1973); Acappella (Ghost Dance no. 17, Fall 1973); Corona (Providence: Burnng Deck, 1974); Vowels (Washington, D.C.: O Press, 1976); Film Noir (Providence: Burning Deck, 1978); Praxis (Berkeley: Tuumba Press, 1978); Joint Words (with John M. Bennett) (Columbus, Ohio: Luna Bisonte Prods. 1979); Jeopardy (Windsor: Awede, 1980); Sonnets (momento mori) (Oakland, California: This Press, 1980); Legend (with Charles Bernstein, Ray DiPalma, Steve McCaffery and Ron Silliman) (New York: L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E/Segue, 1980); Wobbling (New York: Roof Books, 1981); R + B (New York: Segue Books, 1981); Excommunicate (Elmwood, Connecticut: Potes & Poets, 1982); Love Songs (Baltimore: Pod Books, 1982); 9 sections from I Don't Have Any Paper So Shut Up (or, Social Romanticism) (Elmwood, Connecticut: Abacus, 1986); Fractura (Madison, Wisconsin: Xexoxial Editions, 1987); Give 'Em Enough Rope (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1987); Both, Both, (London: Writer's Forum, 1988); Getting Ready to Have Been Frightened (New York: Roof Books, 1988); Executive Summary (Elmwood, Connecticut: Potes & Poets, 1991); Voodoo for Anti-communist Tourists (London: Writer's Forum, 1991); Standpoint (Oakland: Score Publications, 1991); Stet, Sic & Sp. (Salisbury, Connecticut: Case Books, 1992); I Don't Have Any Paper So Shut Up (Or, Social Romanticism (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon press, 1992); Excla (with Maggie O'Sullivan) (London: Writer's Forum, 1993); Divesture--E (Buffalo: Leave Books, 1993); Moebius (Mentor, Ohio: Generator Press, 1993); Tizzy Boost (Great Barrington, Massachusetts: The Figures, 1993); Blue Horizon (Hartford, Connecticut: Abacus, 1994); Strictly Confidential (Canary Islands: Zasterle, 1994); Divesture--A (New York: Drogue Press, 1994);  Ex Why Zee: Performance Texts, Collaborations with Sally Silvers, Word Maps, Bricolage & Improvisation (New York: Roof Books, 1995); Peril (online: TextThirtyOne: Potes & Poets, 1999); Danger (online: TextThirtyOne: Potes & Poets, 1999);
Only (Calgary: housepress, 2000); Prime Cuts (Calgary: housepress, 2000); Plans Carry Weight (Calgary: housepress, 2001); Lip Service (Toronto and online: Coach House Press, 2001); The Millennium Project (online: Eclipse, Princeton, 2002); Born in Chicago, Language poet and political scientist Bruce Andrews earned a BA and MA from the Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD from Harvard University. He moved to New York in 1975, where with Charles Bernstein he co-edited L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E magazine from 1978 to 1981.

Andrews’ language-centered writing (a term he coined with Ron Sillimanin 1971) takes a modular approach to composition, shaking words and phrases free of their syntactical or narrative shells. As Andrews describes it, his process of composing poems was revolutionized with his acquisition of a paper-cutter, which he uses to create the small cards on which he continually records the “raw material” of words or clusters of words. He then stores these cards in boxes for months or years until, under the direction of a new project, he sifts and arranges the cards to create a new work. Through this process, Andrews sheds the original context of his words and is able to see them and arrange them as objects.

Andrews has published dozens of poetry collections including I Don’t Have Any Paper So Shut Up (Or, Social Romanticism) (1992) and Designated Heartbeat (2006) as well as several essay collections. Since the 1980s he has collaborated with choreographer Sally Silvers. In an interview with Dan Thomas-Glass for the Argotist Online, Andrews stated, “I think that writing, to get any social charge, needs to volatilize, needs to shake things up, needs to stir the beehive. So if you want to have a lullaby-like experience, and that’s your measure of pleasure, then the work I’m doing will seem off-puttingly difficult, but it is trying to be provocative and challenging, because that’s a) what I like as a reader and b) what I feel politically is required for readers to be in motion.” Speaking to the connection between Andrews’ approaches to poetry and to politics, Boston Review critic Brian Kim Stefans notes in a 2001 review of Paradise & Method: Poetics & Praxis, “Using the very language at hand—the words and rhythms of the poem itself—Andrews hopes to reveal, in as harsh a light as possible […] the complex social vectors underlying even our most mundane activities and assumptions.”

Since 1975 Andrews has taught political science at Fordham University.
Mistaken Identity (online: Faux Press, 2002)

For a selection of online works, click below:

For a large selection of taped and recorded readings, click below:

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