Born in St. Louis and raised in nearby Creve Coeur, conceptual poet Robert Fitterman earned a BA at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and an MA at Temple University.
Fitterman is the author of more than a dozen collections of poetry, including Nevermind (2016), now we are friends (2010), Rob the Plagiarist (2009), and Metropolis, a long poem of city life in four volumes. He often builds poems through appropriating and recontextualizing found text, ranging from photo captions in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (Holocaust Museum, 2013) to expressions of loneliness posted on online message boards (No, Wait. Yep. Definitely Still Hate Myself., 2014). As Nick Thurston notes in a 2014 review for Flux, “Robert Fitterman’s Holocaust Museum is a relentless re-presentation of how social histories are constructed, expressed and same-d through institutional techniques of deferral and forgetting. His poem is a linguistic memorial to the objectification of modern life. It is not about the Holocaust even though it is.”
In a 2014 conversation with Robert Torres for American Microreviews & Interviews following the publication of No, Wait. Yep. Definitely Still Hate Myself., Fitterman discusses the appropriative nature of his work as a political act, stating, “I’m all in favor of subjectivity, I just think it doesn’t have to be my own. I’m really interested in print collective subjectivity as a new way to think about these emotions, this affect. Does it have to be me—singular author—articulating my feelings to a reader? Those reimaginations, those reconfigurations between the reader and the author and this new inundation of text and language that is everywhere, to me, really speaks of a contemporary moment and, to me, speaking to a contemporary moment is a political act.”
Fitterman frequently works in collaboration, producing the study Notes on Conceptualisms (2009, coauthored with Vanessa Place) and organizing a working group of writers and artists whose collaborative projects are documented in the anthology Collective Task (2010).
A clinical assistant professor of liberal studies at New York University, Fitterman lives in New York City.