Mostly wondering what comes next

by jhon baker

Listening to Rachmaninov (there are too many fucking variations on how his name is spelled for spell check to keep up thought it offers nightwatchman as an alternative) and thinking about this kind of poetry I’ve just read about called flarf. The example I saw was from a Google’s search prediction – someone put in half a phrase and then took what was there and called it a poem. Here is the Wikipedia definition of this avant garde nonsense. And it is nonsense in my not so humble opinion. In the article it compares it to so called “cut up” – which really is the Tristan Tzara method where you cut the words out of something else and rearrange them like either a ransom note or magnetic poetry. The Tzara method takes authorship as where flarf takes an audience to simply recognize it to be something and react to it. I don’t call it poetry but accidental art and it would more belong in a museum then in a serious journal. As accidental art I think it’s interesting and engaging. Like typing in an innocuous phrase and searching images until you manage to find porn – normally about ten pages for any keywords.
another way to look at flarf would be closer to photography – taking what is already there and manipulating it or pulling it into focus. Forcing a viewer to read beyond the goal.
So, I am not saying it’s bad art – just incorrectly categorized.

edit: I use the word authorship – I think it is the wrong word – what I mean is that to come up with this flarf a writer is unnecessary – a poet would only get in the way, I mean that there is no single creator but an audience to recognize it for it’s writerly quality but without the writer it is avant garde art, that should be on the walls, not on broadsides.

5 Comments to “Mostly wondering what comes next”

  1. Hell, just the name flarf clues me in to mass-ass-confusion..
    It's all I can do to write a normal poem, don't go telling me about

    you always post the most interesting thoughts..

  2. Hi Jhon,

    Your reading of flarf isn't quite accurate. It is highly “authorial” and manipulated, not just re-presentations of writing. It's not about “taking what is there and [calling] it a poem.” I suggest maybe a little more research? have you actually read any flarf poetry?

  3. Lynne, thank you.
    Nada, your defense of flarf isn't quite accurate and you are better off copy and pasting your statements as you do on your blog (you should cite your sources) then trying to invent a defense where there is none. Show me the poetic authorship – Avant garde is about a response to a perceived boredom and creates it's own simplification. In addition – are you offended that I call it art and not poetry? I do not strip it of it's inventiveness only it's classification.
    flarf is no different from reading the bus stops or ingredient lists and calling it poetry.

  4. I love angry teenagers!

  5. Ding-Ding!! Round 1-10-Jhon, Nada-0 a good banter..

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