Letter from Poetry Magazine

Letter to the Editor

by Mary Ann Sullivan

Dear Editor,

Kenneth Goldsmith’s introduction to Flarf and Conceptual Writing [July/August 2009] reads more like a desperate, fast-paced sales pitch than a serious exploration of the breadth and excitement of digital poetry in the twenty-first century. The two specific fads that he mentions are just that: fads, something Language poets have named and labeled, with the hope that many poets will engage and follow. I would like to encourage poets to challenge themselves to go beyond the fads, because there is an open field ahead in the realm of digital poetry. Extremely creative poems are now emerging in Europe that utilize video.

The ideology from which Flarf and Conceptual Writing derive is tired and old. Language Poetry theories were exciting in the postmodern era. But simply translating those theories and forms of nonsensical verse into digital poetry is not at all creative.  

new durham, new hampshire

Originally Published: October 1, 2009

Poetry is looking for thought-provoking responses to work published in the magazine, as well as letters that raise new questions about the state of contemporary poetry. To send us your letter, please fill out all the fields below.

If we choose to use your letter, we will notify you by phone. If you have not heard from us within two weeks of sending your letter, you may assume we will not be using it. All letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may appear online, in print, or both.

Please do NOT send poetry submissions to this account. See Submission Guidelines for further information and policies regarding poetry submissions.


* All fields are required


This prose originally appeared in the October 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

October 2009
 Mary Ann Sullivan


Mary Ann Sullivan earned a BA from Framingham State College, an MFA from Norwich University, and a Doctor of Arts from Franklin Pierce University. Her poetry has been published online by the BBC Arts Online and BlazeVox, her literary commentaries with Jacket and The Poetry Library, Southbank Centre, London. While a cloistered Cistercian nun, Sullivan wrote traditional poetry, some of which appears online in the e-chap Mending . . .

Continue reading this biography

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.