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‘Let’s Do a Gertrude Stein on It’: Caroline Bergvall and Iterative Poetics

Jacob Edmond


Caroline Bergvall’s practice addresses what I call the iterative turn in contemporary culture. This turn encompasses poets’ use of pre-existing material and theorists’ treatment of gender, culture, and text as constituted by repeated acts. Bergvall extends Stein’s iterative writing into other forms of iteration, including performance; translation; presentations in multiple media or versions; archival, serial and conceptual forms; and, the rewriting of historical texts. By placing bodily gesture at the intersection of multiple linguistic and technological mediations, Bergvall offers an alternative to existing iterative theories – one that recognizes not just the infinite possibilities of iteration but also each singularly embodied instantiation.


British poetry; contemporary art; embodiment; French poetry; multimedia; Norwegian poetry; performance; poetics; repetition; translation

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