Poetry News

Brit + Co Learns More About Poetry About the Kardashians

By Harriet Staff
Sam Riviere

Megan Parry, of Brit + Co, spends a moment with Sam Riviere, author of the poetry collection, Kim Kardashian's Marriage, which gleans inspiration from Kardashian's brief marriage to Kris Humphries. But first, Parry asks the question that's perhaps already on your mind, "Why did you write this book"? Let's pick up with Riviere's response there: 

Sam Riviere: The book is not “about” the marriage in the traditional sense — it’s a collection of poems that are composites of internet searches carried out according to an algorithm, using 18 keywords. The poems were constructed using only the text that resulted from the searches. There was an epiphanic moment, though — the idea of attaching this title to the collection, which was actually the last thing I did. A search of the number “72” (the number of poems in the collection) returned the number of days of Kim Kardashian’s marriage to Kris Humphries as the top result, so that became the title of the book. Kim Kardashian’s Marriage made sense of the poems in a way that felt pretty irresistible at the time. As the method hopefully makes clear, they are concerned with the borders between public and private expression. Kim’s expertise is in the way she controls that threshold, transgresses it, reinforces it, and distorts it.

As it’s made entirely of text found online, the book is a kind of surveillance of a particular moment, and perhaps this seems more relevant than ever in light of the current news stories about how social media platforms have been collecting and selling the language of their users — the value and application of the masses of linguistic data we produce every day is not something we can always anticipate, evidently. It’s funny to me that poetry could be one of those applications.

Read more at Brit + Co.

Originally Published: May 16th, 2018