baseball, poetry, and kim chi

Monday, March 06, 2006

why not flarf?

I like flarf. It relinquishes the reins just a bit. It lets the poet know that this poem is not entirely hers. That there is chance, and in poetry, there is always chance, but flarf puts it out there, admits it from the beginning. Flarf allows the poet to deal with more important things than story telling because that story is, from the beginning, busted up. Flarf is funny and dead serious. Spicer said something about if you write a love poem you have to allow that your love’s ear might fall off.

I haven’t written any of my flarf yet, and it is my flarf, and when it comes it will be mine and I will have invented it. The idea of ownership or lineage in flarf seems to me to be the opposite of my flarf. This is for everyone. I am just glad it is out there.

when I see a poet claim that Flarf is not actual poetry, it makes me question that poet. I would imagine this same thing has been said at every step by people who don’t get what is new, or are frightened by what is new, or a bit of both. I see more of Silliman’s SOQ in this reaction than I have seen in most places.

"Those of you who write actual poetry will probably not be familiar with the term "flarf," and will undoubtedly not find it rewarding to be enlightened on the subject. "

Fuck, that is some stupid shit to say. Amazed that it came out of an otherwise, it would seem, intelligent person’s mouth. And what else came out, well, it seemed to me, a calling out of the Flarf practitioners and people who give (what a dumb ass thing to say) "cocaine-fuelled internet rants". And when they came, mostly Jimmy, there was this tone of well, here are the rabid dogs we warned you about

Thank you gatekeepers.


Blogger Pirooz M. Kalayeh said...

I don't get the end of this. What do you mean? "And when they came, mostly Jimmy..."

Sorry I am not up on the latest gossip. Seems to me like it's all a bunch of hens fighting over a rope.

5:26 AM

Blogger Pirooz M. Kalayeh said...

You know I got excited when I heard you talking about 'Flarf' cause I thought you were making fun of poetry, and I thought, 'Dear, God, finally someone is speaking my language.'

Then I read about 'Flarf' and I'm like, 'Man, I might as well talk about poetry in gibberish from now on and use words like shtinksty and melocopathankerous. I want my poetic terms to sound like dinosaur names.

Anyway, I understand where you're coming from. All poetry is viable. Don't take a dump on one thing and not another?

Maybe, I'm wrong.

Enlighten me on my melocopathankerous.

5:32 AM

Blogger JWG said...

It looks that way sometimes. thing is there are so many ropes, and when one group says there is only one, it bothers me more than it should.

5:33 AM

Blogger JWG said...


i dont know exactly what melocop is or where it came from.
check this out
ideal village

there are some which are much more obvious flarfs, but this one is good. I am very intereseted in the poet letting a bit of controll go, even if it invovles only a few spent words.

I like laughing P. I dont like being lead around by the nose. I think flarf alows us to move, and i think as flarf grows, so will the possibilities. right now it is only a baby

5:43 AM

Blogger Pirooz M. Kalayeh said...

Are all the poems on that link flarfs?

And if I understand correctly, a flarf is a poem that uses lines from other things, right?

Well, why can't someone do that? That's not a new thing is it?

6:53 AM

Blogger JWG said...

one place to look is Lime tree on
feb 26

there is a post named Artificial?

It explains some of what flarf is.

7:06 AM

Blogger JWG said...

I am no expert on Flarf, and am just watching what I can. there seem to be a few strains of flarf. Writing bad or unacceptable poems, Writing poems with poetic language “Thy”, and found text. You can google something, find some writing about something, and through deft shifts of language, inserting and cutting words, create something else. Burroughs used the cut up technique, but one of the things he believed was that you need to have good text to begin with, flarf believes that any text can be used. I believe that in every poetry it is the result that matters. I believe flarf is something (though can’t nail it down yet and maybe I wont ever be able to and maybe that is part of the fun?), but even if it was a placebo that allowed poets more freedom and out of that freedom came good poetry, I’d be all for it. You can’t expect every flarf poem to be good, if 15 of the 800 or so out there are good, then flarf is doing just fine.

5:48 PM

Blogger JWG said...

from Drew Gardner's blog
I'm amazed that there are some people capable of taking my this-one-goes-to-eleven-grade sarcasm in "Chicks Dig War" at face value.

The process of writing the poem started with gathering source material with a set of google search on "chicks dig" and "chicks really dig," and then improvising search and replaced Iraq war stuff into resulting items and then heavily re-editing and re-sequencing it. It's obvious if you read the poem in the context of the book that it's an absurd anti-war poem using an appropriated vocabulary of male insecurity, and pitching a confident logic that doesn't make any sense. It was written to match the media absurdities we were inundated with at the time it was written at the height of the war (and still are), where the thinking and opinions being bandied around on the TV, from the administration, and in the New York Times seemed often to have about as much actual rationality as this poem. I wanted to go with absurdity in approaching political material when we seemed to be in an area of the cultural landscape where rationally suddenly wasn't allowed at all.

The poem is so packed with self-cancellations and reversals and is so flagged as sarcastic that ... but I guess there must be people who are angry and bewildered at the right wing Stephen Colbert too right? so... let em think that!

6:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

but why would you call your flarf flarf?

4:25 PM

Blogger JWG said...


dont know that i would, but i suspect there would be enough similarities that the flarf might be evident. But who knows. That was kind of a dumb part of the post anyway. Who are you?

4:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

someone bored with people coopting tagwords that mean little outside of their own original environment. someone who thinks methodology is only that - that it is a means, not an end.

11:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the flarf might be evident"? I'd like to know how that is possible. If I drew or painted like Picasso does that make me a Cubist? Hell no.

11:30 AM

Blogger JWG said...

but what if you painted like yrself and yr paintings had learned plenty from cubism. What would make you a cubist?

4:19 PM

Blogger JWG said...

I would like to know what it takes to be a cubist (not sure you can be one now), aside from that question, I dont disagree with you, I think i oversteped on that part of the post

4:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

cubism is no more. to be influenced by Cubism, sure. synthesis is what we do as artists.

11:50 AM


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