בקטגוריות: Uncategorized

2 May 2008

I am attending a lecture next week by Jennifer Ashton, and this got me reading about Flarf and Spoetry and various other modern and semi-random forms of poetry. Many would argue that these poems are meaningless – after all, how can there be meaning without intent? How can we take random text and presume to find in it meaning supplied by the poet?

I would postulate, however, that there is a real curatorial value in these works. The artist might not be physically scribing new words on his preferred medium, but there is real observational work here, sifting through our culture’s informational excretions to find the diamonds and pearls hiding in the grime and the shit. It doesn’t matter if they’re diamonds lovingly polished and faceted by a master craftsmen or naturally luminescent pearls, as long as they serve their purpose. Natural beauty is beauty. Found poetry is poetry.

An artist can never create anything completely from scratch. Verbal art such as poetry is dependent on the language it is written in and the culture it is written into. Taking existing words, idioms, metaphors and expressions and arranging them into forms that have meaning is the poet’s work. This is not inherently different than taking larger chunks – paragraphs, images – and arranging them to create a new work. One poet might take words that the reader knows and arrange them so they create something new. A different poet might take other forms of information – ad blurbs, commercial slogans, random spam-lit – and use them as the building blocks. These chunks are familiar to the reader, because they permeate our culture. They convey meaning, and these connotations are the tools of the poet’s trade. Sometimes even taking a bit out of context and shining a spotlight on it is all that’s needed for a new work to be created, because new meaning is created.

Anyway, enough with exposition. I just wanted to collect in this place several works I’ve made over the years that, in retrospect, can be seen as related to Flarf, Spoetry and similar genres. They were written with different intentions and levels of skill over the years, but I feel most have value, at least in terms of amusement:

1) Spam-inspired Haikus, June 2005.
2) Snippets of Spam, January 2005, October 2007.
3) My personal favorite, Beatles lyrics translated back and forth from English to German. June 2003.

4) Special Bonus: It appears that Clusterfamily, a randomly-generated blog taking random snippets from random blogs, has my name as part of its April 18th word-bombardment. I see no reason not to treat this as my own work. My name is in it, after all. I also seem to be surrounded by Bowie lyrics, so that’s an immediate plus.

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4 בMay, 2008 בשעה 03:12

First you go poetic, now you go avant!

The best spoetry derived work, I think, is the “daily treated spam” project.

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