Letter from Poetry Magazine

Kenneth Goldsmith Responds

by Kenneth Goldsmith

The Flarf and Conceptual Writing portfolio was not meant as a survey of the whole field of digital poetry. Rather, it focused on two specific groups who ask what it means to be a poet in the Internet age. Certainly many others are asking the same question and hopefully coming up with equally provocative and challenging responses.

In regard to Mary Anne Sullivan’s accusation that these “fads” are “tired and old,” we say: if it all sounds familiar, it is. Conceptual Writing and Flarf obstinately make no claims on originality. On the contrary, we employ intentionally self- and ego-effacing tactics using uncreativity, unoriginality, illegibility, appropriation, plagiarism, fraud, theft, and falsification as our precepts; information management, word processing, databasing, and extreme process as our methodologies; and boredom, valuelessness, and nutritionlessness as our ethos. If we appear to you as fads, then we feel we’ve succeeded beyond our wildest expectations: we’ll be yesterday’s news by the time you read this.

Originally Published: October 1, 2009

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

October 2009

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Biography

Kenneth Goldsmith is a poet and conceptual artist who holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture. He served as a fellow of poetics and poetic practice at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing, where he taught an undergraduate class that included creative writing and poetics, and also was part of a series of workshops and readings at the university's Kelly Writers House and the Center for . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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