Harriet

Categories

Follow Harriet on Twitter

About Harriet

Blogroll

Poetry News

Performa Presents Two of the Best of the ‘Net

By Harriet Staff

Sophia Le Fraga

Second to final event of the new What if someone told u you were significant? reading series, sponsored by the epic performance art festival, Performa, featured readings by two of the internet’s most thought-provoking poets: Ben Fama and Sophia Le Fraga. At A&E Studios, Fama and Le Fraga read from their work, in the process sharing anecdotes about their relationships to the world wide web: Fama, “The Internet is my home / Where it’s easy to be beautiful / And seen and new,” Le Fraga, “guys i can hear all / yr thoughts / in my internet.” More, by way of Hyperallergic:

Poetry readings aren’t popular, or easy. I recently learned that in some European countries, poets and writers have actors read their work for them in public to make the experience more accessible and appealing. At A&E Studios, for the new Performa Poetry Series, titled What if someone told u you were significant?, there were beach chairs and free beer — and the added environment of an art installation by Heather Phillipson, whose videos channeling the experience of online shopping were apt for a reading dedicated to poets “whose works borrow the distinct and peculiar motifs of language online.”

Standing before an enormous print closing in on a man’s bulging boxers, Ben Fama and Sophia Le Fraga read poems about celebrity culture, broken relationships, email exchanges, and the mundane. Both New York–based poets find comfort in the internet — “The Internet is my home / Where it’s easy to be beautiful / And seen and new,” Fama writes — but also express a sense of unease and insecurity with it. Le Fraga started by reading her “throwback” poetry, a series of works in email or online comment form in which the speaker attacks the poet: “Dear Sophia … I find your poetry offensive”; “Do you understand what it means to be a poet, Ms. Le Fraga?”; “who tagged this as poetry?” Both poets write about the lonely, voyeuristic, and amusing nature of online relationships — Le Fraga: “guys i can hear all / yr thoughts / in my internet”; Fama: “I found you / on Gothtrash.com / and saved your picture / to my computer desktop” and “I look through all your pictures / I don’t really want to know you / but you have a cute cat.” Both poets are forward and personal — in introducing a poem, Fama cited a friend as an inspiration but added, “It’s not about her, but about me, because it’s poetry.”

Fama and Le Fraga also share a love of lists, as they seem dazed by the internet and its constant flow of information. Fama began his incantatory reading: “MIRANDA LAMBERT / KIM KARDASHIAN / CAITLYN JENNER / THE HAMPTONS / CELEBRITY BREAKUPS.” Le Fraga, whose poetry captures the moods and inflections of internet language and how it affects us subconsciously, read a series of alternative names for famous movies and books: “A Street Food Cart Named Desire / Tinder Buttons … The Old Man and the Siri.” Le Fraga’s work shows how online language sounds strange when spoken (“you have a hashtag contradiction”), whereas Fama’s poems jump back and forth between online and offline worlds, rendering them as one fluid experience. His language moves from ambiguous, internet lingo (“dash/cam/attack”) to the physical and concrete (“wet/coke/summer”). […]

Read more at Hyperallergic.

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Poetry News on Monday, November 16th, 2015 by Harriet Staff.