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Flarf is a one-trick pony that thinks a unicorn is another kind of horse

By Sina Queyras

Thanks to Vanessa Place for the following. Given that a few days ago we had the response to this piece offered recently at AWP here on Harriet, it seems important to post the original text for your consideration. I think this clears the matter doesn’t it?

1. Conceptualism asks what is poetry?
1. Flarf says sez you!
2. Flarf is never about anything other than poetry itself.
2. Conceptualism is allegorical. It is about things other than poetry itself.
3. Flarf is the court jester. As such, it is still a member of the court.
3. Conceptualism courts jest, but is not the king’s dog.
4. Flarf is composition.
4. Conceptualism is composed.
5. Conceptualism employs a variety of techniques that compromise and complicate the question of excess text, of unreadability, of extra-textual narrativity, of the need for and love of categories and the acategorical, of the false and adored divide between praxis and other praxis, addition and subtraction, theory and things with two types of teeth.
5. Flarf is a one-trick pony that thinks a unicorn is another kind of horse.

6. Flarf is sexual repression on a half-shell. It giggles at dildos.
6. Conceptualism is sexy. The penis is a dildo.
7. Flarf still loves poetry.
7. Conceptualism loves poetry enough to put it out of its misery.
8. Flarf wants to be funny.
8. Conceptualism wants.
9. Flarf maintains a superior attitude towards the world-at-large. Random.
9. Legit.
10. Flarf has one answer to every problem. It involves the spin or schema of interpretation, that is to say, the social construction of a social phenomenon, such as is favored by advertisers and politicians. Thus, its philosophical underpinnings lie primarily in a Platonic premise of a unified ethical and aesthetic field, in the sense that the frame as represented must contain a more or less stable relationship to a larger belief-system, equally stable, preferably central, in order for the frame to function as both relevant to the empirical realities of its potential participants and to the narrative fidelity of the frame itself. Cognitively, the framing-effect involves the amygdala, and thus flarf hits an emotional pitch. The emotional pitch, it could be noted, of the hysteric.
10. Conceptualism has no answers, but is, instead, interrogative. Through the deployment of multiple strategies that serve to destabilize text (extant or made) via reframed reiterations and multiple sites of rhetorical deployment, conceptualism is neo-Kantian, epistemologically concerned with the ongoing sobject and the instantiation of radical evil, in other words, the affirmative will to evil that manifests the fact of will itself. In other words, the instantiation of that which is consciously contra-textual in the sense of all that has made text make contextual sense, the rendering immaterial of every materiality of poetry. The contra-text being the new con-text, con-, as I have pointed out elsewhere, in the sense of being a cunt. Conceptualism is, as the term indicates, primarily a cortical engagement.
11. Flarf is funhouse Freud: the id tweaking the superego.
11. Conceptualism is Lacan in a mirror, the discourse of the slave.
12. Flarf is Freudian in the sense of the drive by way of the virtual dérive. As such, it must be sans satisfaction. Le donné
12. Conceptualism is Lacanian in the sense of desire by way of the Law by way of the petit objet a. As such. La donne
13. Flarf plays Cuzin while playing it off, it speaks to people in people-voice okay, it’s the first to suggest titty beer bong hits and butterscotch Jell-O shots, it wants to stay up late and bitch bitch bitch, it might bleed out but nothing’s permanently stained, it surfs like point break without leaving a wake, it goes Louey-Louey and blows O.C. pretty, it would like you to like it, really?, it wants to be kinda Dada but it’s not that fucking desperate, wants to play it black but mostly lays trick pussy.
13. Flarf plays Cuzin while playing it off, it speaks to people in people-voice okay, it’s the first to suggest titty beer bong hits and butterscotch Jell-O shots, it wants to stay up late and bitch bitch bitch, it might bleed out but nothing’s permanently stained, it surfs like point break without leaving a wake, it goes Louey-Louey and blows O.C. pretty, it would like you to like it, really?, it wants to be kinda Dada but it’s not that fucking desperate, wants to play it black but mostly lays trick pussy.
14. Flarf is a style, a mode as à la as sliced cheese on pie. Those who write flarf write flarf, or, to use their terminology, they write “flarfy” poetry, to be distinguished from regular poetry. Flarfy poetry makes hay where the sun don’t shine. Like baboons copulating in cages at the zoo, flarf fucks inside the glass walls, a show-stopping show, playing to the embarrassed (maybe) or bemused (could be) or the temporarily entertained (probably), it’s kind of natural but nature’s not in it (who me?). In this sense, flarf is a whoopie cushion in the world of the new & old lyric poem.
14. In this sense, conceptualism is a fart.
15. Ron Silliman likes flarf.
15. Ron Silliman does not like conceptualism.
16. Flarf succeeds in doing what it sets its mind to, to upend and offend, to play the hand all the way through. The best flarf is virtuosic.
16. The best conceptualism is failure.
17. Flarf looks like poetry.
17. Poetry looks like conceptualism.


Posted in Uncategorized on Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 by Sina Queyras.