This post is partly what it's like being one of Harriet's ventriloquists. It splices text from Harriet bloggers, commenters, and anonymous robots who deposit semi-truck loads of SPAM for us to delete. Bloggers and commenters from whom I've pilfered include Kenneth Goldsmith, Reginald Shepherd, A.E. Stallings, Ange Mlinko, Javier Huerta, and Bill Knott. (By citing them, this is definitely flarf and not conceptual poetics.) I "composed" it for this year's MLA offsite poetry reading, which was held Sunday night in San Francisco where more than 60 (usually) masked poets read for two minutes each.
Our task is to mind the machine.
Hi Guys! Today I was surfing the Internet
just as everyday. I checked my Facebook profile,
bought some music on iTunes, Googled here
and there, and found this blog:
I think it is fair to say that most of us spend hours each day shifting content into different containers. Some of us call this writing.
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The avant-garde community, drawing from anti-bourgeois, anti-individualist theory, disparages the reward system of the mainstream and replaces it with something far more nebulous and neurotic: Are people talking about you?
More and more I am convinced that what we need now is a revival of bad poetry.
The more you know, the more building blocks Martians will have to play with.
The non-economics of poetry create a perfectly valueless space in which the valueless works can flourish.
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What is working class poetry? It is when I used to teach poetry, and I would ask the students to imagine the speaker of Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" as a pizza or other delivery guy taking a toke-out to ease the drive . . . the landowner's "house is in the village" cozy and comfortable while the poor workslob can barely stop in the roadside to take a breather before his ass has to haul back to shlepping miles and miles…
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Seuss encapsulates the occasionally paranoid streak in American politics that seems to be the flip side of our inalienable rights, in the voice of some sinister hear-no-evil see-no-evil Darwinian apes. "Pretending to talk to who's who are not," they announce:
"A plot, plot, plot plot".
Luckily they are
"Hot-shot spotters of rotters and plotters
And we're going to save our sons and our daughters
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The Blog clicks behind me now as it walks—tick, talk, tick, talk. Its nails need clipping. It needs its shots. It’s easy to forget it isn’t really a domestic animal, though. Sure, it shared the house for a while. But it was feral once. It can fend for itself. It’s a social animal—it runs in packs. It doesn’t need a master.
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Emily Warn was born in San Francisco and grew up in California and Detroit. She earned degrees from Kalamazoo College and the University of Washington. Her full-length collections of poetry include The Leaf Path (1982), The Novice Insomniac (1996), and Shadow Architect (2008). She has published two chapbooks: The Book...