Perelman, Bob 1947–

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Perelman, Bob 1947–

(Robert Perelman)

PERSONAL: Full name, Robert Perelman; Born December 2, 1947, in Youngstown, OH; married Francie Shaw, 1975; children: two sons. Education: University of Michigan, M.A., 1969; University of Iowa, M.F.A., 1970; University of California, Ph.D. (English), 1990.

ADDRESSES: Office—Department of English, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

CAREER: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, assistant professor, 1990–95, associate professor, 1995–.



Braille, Ithaca House Press (Ithaca, NY), 1975.

Seven Works, Figures (Berkeley, CA), 1978.

a.k.a, Tuumba Press (Berkeley, CA), 1979.

Primer, This Press (San Francisco, CA), 1981.

To the Reader, Tuumba Press (Berkeley, CA), 1984.

The First World, Figures (Great Barrington, MA), 1986.

Face Value, Roof Press (New York, NY), 1988.

Captive Audience, Figures (Great Barrington, MA), 1988.

Virtual Reality, Roof Press (New York, NY), 1993.

The Future of Memory, Segue Foundation (New York, NY), 1998.

Ten to One, Wesleyan University Press (Hanover, NH), 1999.

(With Francie Shaw) Playing Bodies, Granary Books (New York, NY), 2004.

IFlife, Roof Press (New York, NY), 2006.


(Editor) Writing/Talks (nonfiction), Southern Illinois University Press (Carbondale, IL), 1985.

The Trouble with Genius: Reading Pound, Joyce, Stein, and Zukovsky, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1994.

The Marginalization of Poetry: Language Writings and Literary History, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1996.

Author of play, The Alps (produced in San Francisco, CA, 1980), published in the magazine Hills, 1980. Editor, Hills, 1973–80.

SIDELIGHTS: Bob Perelman writes language poetry as an exploratory, political, socially conscious means of expression. Language poetry is characterized by skepticism regarding the effectiveness of language to represent anything beyond its own devices. Perelman believes that many readers find language poetry impersonal and academic, so he strives to reconstruct it in such a way that he can reveal what he perceives as America's lost sense of self and history. Derek Owens commented in Contemporary Poets that "Perelman's mind is a centrifuge with the hatch left open: To walk into his poems is to get stained and splattered. These are works that scathingly, sometimes abstrusely, but more often hilariously slice through the international headline Muzak we mistake for knowledge."

The Future of Memory was described by a Publishers Weekly reviewer as "a standout even in this exceptionally rich year of poetry publication." The reviewer continued: "What keeps the phantasmagoria in poetic focus is Perelman's trenchant comic timing and his virtuoso command of syntax, which he hones against various constraints, including strict word counts in a number of the poems … and, increasingly in the book's latter half, elaborate visual formatting."



Contemporary Poets, 6th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.


American Literature, September, 1995, Roger Gilbert, review of The Trouble with Genius: Reading Pound, Joyce, Stein, and Zukovsky, p. 600.

Canadian Literature, autumn, 1997, Christopher Brayshaw, review of The Trouble with Genius, p. 167.

Publishers Weekly, May 3, 1993, review of Virtual Reality, p. 299; November 2, 1998, review of The Future of Memory, p. 74.

Virginia Quarterly Review, spring, 1995, review of The Trouble with Genius, p. 48.

Voice Literary Supplement, November, 1993, review of To the Reader, p. 31.

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Perelman, Bob 1947–

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