Oh brother.

It’s official. “Flarf” has become a catch-all term for techniques LangPo was using 30 years ago, characteristics termed “postmodern” in any other art form, and critical thought, irony, and satire in general. Is it a way of reviving the anti-commercialist commercialism and anti-sexist sexism of The New Sentence? As ridiculous as flarf is, it seems abnormally ridiculous to defend its integrity as a term, but yeah, what happened to specificity in language?

I think Magee’s book sounds interesting, but characterizing it as flarf seems uninspired.

About these ads
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

95 Responses to Oh brother.

  1. kevin.thurston says:

    aren’t the majority of his reviews kinda uninspired? it seems pretty clear. take poet from ‘my generation’ compare them to ‘new poet’ discuss fundamental differences.

    all this is fine, of course, it just makes one more like oprah’s book club than intense criticism.

    then again, perhaps we’re all taking a blog too seriously.

  2. Dan Coffey says:

    I’d have to wait to read the book, but, for whatever the flarf label is worth, I don’t think Magee’s description of his methodology undercuts Silliman’s argument. It just shows that flarfitude can be arrived at with care and integrity as well as a sense of fun and irreverence.

    But all that is moot if you consider flarf to be a shallow attempt at a jump-start categorization, like lumping Joanna Newsom into the “New Weird America” or “Freak-folk” scenes – lame-ass non-contingents.

  3. shanna says:

    well, Mike calls it flarf himself. tt was a blog about three or four years ago, as it was being written. might still be cached somewheres.

  4. Jessica Smith says:

    k: hey, i like oprah’s book club.

    d: i thought the whole point was that if flarf could “be arrived at with care and integrity as well as a sense of fun and irreverence” it wasn’t flarf.

    s: i would need to know more about the work than what ron presents in order to know whether it is of the flarf species. just because an author says their work is something, doesn’t make it so.

  5. Gary says:

    Jessica,

    For what it’s worth, I am hard pressed to think of anyone in the 20th century who worked harder, or with more care or integrity, than the Marx Brothers.

    Gary

  6. Jessica Smith says:

    Exactly.

  7. shanna says:

    ha ok. point taken, but i think flarf is whatever the flarflisters say it is, & that’s a *great deal* of the fun. (take kasey’s recent fictional histories, with exaggerated timelines and random insertions of nonflarfies as prominent figs and founders, just for instance.) anyway, i read lots of M.A.D. as it was blogged, and it sure smells like flarf to me. there’s never been any def (which, again, are comically fluid and contradictory, by design i think) of flarf that omits care in arrangement, btw. if the googles were purely raw/unedited, mebbe, but they’re not by a long shot. & not even all flarf is googled or collaged, nor is it of a uniform tone. (curtis’s comment at ron’s about “sense of the person” is also void–the books are quite different so far and do give a sense of the obssessions and senses of humor of each writer, at very list, tho they’re not usu autobiographical since they are antilyrics, for the most part.) i’ve seen some very sweet flarf, and some with real pathos, as well as the High Ridiculousness or species of freakshow camp. i know it’s fun and sometimes irresistible to disagree with ron, but it continues to crack me up that flarf instantly provokes all kinds of noise, but that most of the noise has no basis at all in the actual poems. (speaking generally.) i guess that’s part of the fun i’m having with it too, really.

    my word verification is cowvag. definitley flarfy.

  8. Jessica Smith says:

    Clarification: I am not complaining about how flarf is made, or whether it’s made, or who does it, or what the result is. I am complaining about the recent Blob effect of flarf, in that it is taking over other useful terms we have. Soon Langpo will be flarf, Chuck Close will be flarf, etc. I feel a bit like an annoyed parent whose children say everything is “cool.” I would like it if the term meant something specific, if it’s going to take itself seriously as a movement/form. Flarf as The Blob is funny but also threatening. I, for instance, do not want to be associated with Flarf as I’ve seen it defined, and with Ron’s post it is encroaching upon my parental territory (ie Langpo).

  9. shanna says:

    that makes perfect sense, in a territorial way.
    i also don’t like to be labeled. it itches.
    but, i don’t think anybody could read your work and call it flarf, unless they were completely misapprehending both what flarfers do and what you do (or have done, at least, in what work of yours i’ve read). some of the other people so lumped but not officially part of flarflist make more sense, like linh dinh (some) and maybe tao lin (in a tonal sense, but not a formal sense, i don’t think).
    your stuff is more romantic, in various ways, and not antilyric tho it’s obviously not straight lyric work either. really, to defend against a flarf label you just say no! ;)

  10. mark wallace says:

    Hey Jessica:

    The term I’ve taken to using is “amorphous blob” and it usually has to do with particularly blob-like poems. But I can see how poetics thinking can get blob-like quickly too.

    But hey, I thought there was going to be champagne at the faculty party.

  11. Logan Ryan Smith says:

    FLARF IS COOL!

  12. Jim Behrle says:

    I think the ones who like to make noise about flarf are the flarflisters themselves. If they’d stop talking about it I bet everybody would lighten up considerably on it and them. People are tired of the hard sell.

    Why do all the flarf kids leave the New Year’s reading when all the flarf is over, etc? Aren’t they interested in *community*?

    It’s the overhyping of itself–and the fact that others now use the term flarf to mean neat-o cut-up methods. Barbara Jane, Shanna–they’re about as flarf as I am. And I READ at the last flarf festival. What a mistake that was. I can feel it spreading all over me. Soon I will be a 40 year old poet desparate to think that me and my friends are onto something extraordinary. And then my girlfriend will start writing flarf and reading at flarf festivals!! ARGH!!

  13. Jessica Smith says:

    Oh, right, I forgot about cut-up techniques. Does that make Burroughs the Inventor of Flarf?

  14. Jim Behrle says:

    Although I do like the Flarf Attack Machine: the almost-instantaneous response to any slightly perceivable chink against their armors. Republicans act that way online, too. Shouting down anyone who has anything critical to say about Dick Cheney. I’m glad poets have adapted to these tactics. It’s incredibly heartening.

    Now that my girlfriend has read at a Flarf Festival she’s not flarf anymore. Now she’s a Careerist Climber Type. Expect 6 spammails about her upcoming events this afternoon.

    xxxjimmy

  15. Jim Behrle says:

    It’s possible I’m just missing MORE cloying awfulness. Like the way they market and talk about their poems is also supposed to be cloying and awful.

    xxxjimmy

  16. CLAY BANES says:

    i think many people will be as turned off by the word postmodern as by flarf, yet i’m glad you introduced it.

    a lot of the deservedly celebrated work of today does and does not belong to an overdetermined geneology of high modernism — which is a pretentious way of saying i don’t know what, but keep reading.

  17. Jessica Smith says:

    “postmodern” could be a kind of model for how such labelling goes bad when applied to too many different things.

  18. Simon says:

    Man, flarf. I kind of steered clear of talking about it when it really exploded (a few months before the Jacket issue.) It’s not like I don’t like the idea of “movements”, I think poets should be allowed to do whatever the fuck they want and if coming up with a name helps them write good stuff then go for it.

    I’m not being in the least bit snarky when I say that. I mean, seriously, do whatever you want. I don’t care.

    BUT, what really got my goat was this strange kind of “marketing” impulse (“meet flarf! The new movement that is not only anti-mainstream, but also accepted by the mainstream! Also, NPR said the word flarf!” etc. etc.) that some people took on themselves. In particular, I called out Gary Sullivan on it in a blog comment stream, and he pretty much flipped out.

    The best thing said about flarf, and I mean this both as “it is clever thing to say and probably correct” and “if it is correct, flarf is awesome and totally OK with me” was said in a later issue of Jacket:

    The New Pandemonium:

    Anne Boyer’s account of the activities at the three-day Flarf Festival, held in April 2006 at a Chelsea theater space, highlights the ways in which Flarf performances differ from both those of more mainstream poets and from those of the Language and post-Language poets who constitute the Flarfists’ most immediate avant-garde predecessors. Boyer’s specific reference to Andrews’ presence in the audience may cast him as a type of éminence grise, but her overall description resonates most strongly not with accounts of readings by Andrews, Charles Bernstein, or other well-known experimentalists, but with tales of Dada performances, such as Hans Arp’s portrayal of a night at the Cabaret Voltaire: “Total pandemonium. The people around us are shouting, laughing, and gesticulating. Our replies are sighs of love, volleys of hiccups, poems, moos, and miaowing of medieval Bruitists” (cited in Gale, 30).

  19. Gary says:

    Simon,

    If by “flipping out” you mean simply mentioning that your blog uses all of the very same marketing techniques (“… a major new voice”; “… one of the most important matriarchs of contemporary writing”), and then saying that your use of such marketing techniques didn’t bother me in the least … then, yes, I guess I did indeed “flip out.”

    My bad.

    Gary

  20. Simon says:

    No, Gary, I meant the bit when you accused me of saying that nobody should ever advertise a poetry reading, ever.

    This is cool, I haven’t had a blog fight for months!

  21. Jessica Smith says:

    Simon, I agree with you on this: “I think poets should be allowed to do whatever the fuck they want and if coming up with a name helps them write good stuff then go for it.”

    And I wonder, just for the sake of argument, whether we might name some really “good stuff” that flarf (as a term, designation, social group, comedy routine) has enabled. Stuff that you read and thought, “this was really worthwhile, I not only enjoyed reading this but I might enjoy rereading it later. i am glad that someone wrote this poem.” or hearing, as the case may be.

    I’ll start. I like Katie Degentesh’s The Anger Scale. It does have dada-esque moments, as you mention, Simon.

  22. Gary says:

    Ah, sarcasm = flipping out.

    Okay. Good to know. Thanks.

  23. Jessica Smith says:

    …If flarf is more than the Emperor’s New Clothes, I think it’s worth teasing out a) exactly what it is and b) what Flarf Can Do For You (If Anything).

  24. Jessica Smith says:

    To me it seems that labelling anything Flarf does as “good” undermines the point of flarf, which is at some level to undermine the idea of and values behind “good” poetry. So I get confused when flarf becomes a “real movement” or academized, and no one’s laughing.

  25. Simon says:

    There are some great poems that have been labelled as flarf (and I like a lot of the stuff that is arche-flarf, that appears in articles on flarf with regularity.)

    I mean, I’m torn, right. I guess I see blogging and the online poetry world (which is where I do most of my poetry-existing) as a place to just put things out there and have fun. There is a fine line between doing that and sort of gaming the system.

    To put it another way, stuff on the internet is subject to quasi-evolutionary forces. Dawkins calls them memes. But there’s a bit of intelligent design going on as well: people also attempt to create things with an eye towards internet evolutionary fitness.

    The thing is that I like a lot of flarf stuff, and I like a lot of people who do flarf (I don’t really hate Gary and actually I feel kind of bad resurrecting that argument because it’s not major.) I think they are cool people and are doing shit in good faith.

    OK, here’s one thing I unequivocably don’t like, which is arguments about terminology. This kind of stuff reminds me of comp lit seminar in college. It’s a classic “gotcha” thing, and I don’t like it.

  26. Jessica Smith says:

    Simon, we’re not debating whether we *like* people who write flarf. This is not a personal argument. For me, at least, the debate is over where the joke is and at what point it stopped being funny.

  27. Jessica Smith says:

    … and deciding what to name things is part of the decision of when I should be laughing.

  28. Steven Fama says:

    If cut-up is a part of “it” (and I don’t even know what “it” is, to be honest, then Burroughs ain’t the progenitor so much as Tzara.

    Further random comment: Bill Kennedy and Darren Wershler-Henry’s Apostrophe is a search-engined circa 270 page series of poems, each pitched in the second person. All based on Kennedy’s original Apostrophe, done in 1994.

    And even before search-engined poems, Mac Low and others were generating random text poems.

    So maybe “it” isn’t that new. That doesn’t mean particular poems or poets using these techniques can’t come up with something exciting.

    By the way, I’m enjoying Apostrophe, I’m a bit more than a third of the way through it. I think the its second person technique puts all that random generated stuff right into me, the reader.

    There’s an on-line, infitintely expandable version of Apostrophe too, which generates via real-time serach engine-ing new prose poem after prose poem. So you can really go off the deep end with it. It’s one hell of a way to derange one’s mental sense, I do believe.

  29. Simon says:

    When I say I like a lot of the people doing this flarf thing, what I mean is that I think they are acting in good faith. i.e., that the massive success flarf has had in attracting attention both good and bad is not something they have deviously planned out.

    Was the flarf joke ever meant to be funny? What I mean is that I don’t think that calling flarf “flarf” and having a movement and so forth — I don’t think that was actually meant to be a joke?

  30. mark wallace says:

    I’ve got an article coming out in a magazine edited by Stan Apps on Kasey’s Deer Head Nation which describes what I see as worthwhile about that book. I think Jessica’s right to be wary about generalizations here. “flarf” is not equal to “processual texts” and etc.

    Remember Derrida and the “endless divisability of the trait”; no two texts are ever the same and all texts share some features in common. That’s worth talking about, but afterwards, when the fur stops flying, although that’s left will be the specifics.

  31. Jim Behrle says:

    I wish we heard more from the most interesting flarf poets: Mitch Highfill and Sharon Mesmer for example. The external conversations about flarf are all with people who obviously think all flarf is good because it’s flarf–who are so wrapped up in the flarf brand and are hoping for a flarf legacy that all attempts to talk about it must be crushed. I mean, who’s the bully? What about Kasey’s bullying post today? What about Gary trolling the internet for flarf mentions whereever they be? Isn’t flarf about *community*?

    Isn’t Flarf (and Gary) supposed to be *funny*?

    xxxjimmy

  32. Simon says:

    OK, I promise (again) that I’m not being snarky, but wasn’t Kasey post (“Post-flarf and its discontents”) meant to be a joke? A joke that I found funny in its parody of hyper-hedging and passive-aggressive academic-speak?

  33. Jessica Smith says:

    Well, that’s what I thought.

    This is beginning to feel less like the Marx Bros. and more like Abbott and Costello.

  34. Jim Behrle says:

    Well, doesn’t mocking people within minutes of them posting something skeptical represent bullying? People call me a bully when I do it. Why shouldn’t dudes like Kasey or Gary be held to the same high bar. I’ve been accused of cyberstalking, intimidating people. Just type flarf on your blog and you can pretty much count on hearing from either Itchy, Scratchy or Equanimity within the hour. Get a life, fortysomething poets!!

  35. Jim Behrle says:

    Wouldn’t Kasey have kept that post up if it wasn’t meant to bully and intimidate? What if your typical flarfer acted as bad online as bad old Jim Behrle? What would happen then?

    xxxjimmy

  36. Gary says:

    Simon,

    It’s complicated. Because it sort of was a joke, in that I just assumed calling something “flarf” would immediately render it impossible or at least difficult for people to take anything labled that seriously. It’s a funny-sounding word in English, although I think it means “wheel” or something very neutral like that in Danish.

    But, then, I also thought Google was a very funny-sounding thing when it first started up as a search engine.

    Nobody thought we were starting a movement, and I’m not sure we really did. Sometimes it feels like it; sometimes not. The hate mail, when it’s frequent and intense, makes me suspect that we might have, but that’s not a terribly scientific way of making any sort of conclusion about anything.

    I don’t mean that we’re not serious or just out to mess with people, or poetry, by using this funny word. I genuinely like what people are doing on the list, and mostly have, over the years.

    I can’t speak for others, but for me, I like the idea of this impossibly funny word becoming a thorn in so many people’s flesh–including, just as often, our own.

    I think that the fact that people have their opinions about it has much less to do with any of us, or the work, or even the word itself–which is empty, meaningless, as any word is prior to being invested with meaning–and more to do with how people in the poetry world feel about any number of things, including groupings, labels, movements, cliques, self-promotion, ambition, the Internet, a focus on one kind of language over others–you name it.

    The one grant you can get as a comic book artist is the Xeric, for self-publishing your own comic book. They pay you to publish your own comic. In the poetry world, and the writing world in general, you can get a grant to do just about anything *except* self-publish.

    To me, that speaks volumes about the two worlds, what the people involved in either of them value.

    Neither is right or wrong. But it may explain why Fort Thunder, the closest thing to Flarf in the comics world, has never had the kind of backlash that flarf has.

    In the comic book world, people would be *embarrassed* to write anything–let alone post after post–about something they haven’t ever read.

    That doesn’t seem to be the case in the poetry world. (No one in Ron’s comments field has read Michael’s book–but there they all are, weighing in.)

    If “flarf” has taught me anything, it may be that, poetry in our culture is at least as much of a social phenomenon as it is something that people actually read or listen to.

    Which in part explains why we don’t–can’t–allow anyone to publish (or write about, or explain) themselves.

    Gary

  37. Jim Behrle says:

    Yeah, totally boo-hoo, Gar. The new Flarf Model is to pose as Martyrs? The truth is there are a few good poets writing a few good poems and then a bunch of people trying to CONTROL the conversation about those poems. What a thrill. I thought that was called LANGUAGE POETRY? Don’t worry–LANGAUGE POETRY wasn’t funny either. You are funny, but too bad this isn’t…

    xxxjimmy

  38. Simon says:

    Gary,

    I guess one thing flarf did unequivocally was overwhelm the memepool for awhile there. That is pretty rare.

    I am interested in how social interactions happen on the internet. The word “trolling” comes to mind, not that I think flarf people have trolled, but there is something about the whole angry back-and-forth that reminds me of what happens after a troll visits.

    Like I said, it’s different here. It’s like everyone, flarfers and antiflarfers and bystanders like myself, are being trolled by the Big Other (as Zizek channelling Lacan calls it.)

    Kind of cool, actually.

    I like your account of the comic book world. See here’s the difference: comic books are not taught at university. (That Scott guy, who I really don’t like, seems to be trying to change all that, and I think he is acting in bad faith.) So there is no “outside”, there is just the fandom.

    I wish there was just the fandom in poetry, too. Sometimes. When I do it’s because of this sort of thing.

    PS: seeing flarf through the comic book lens is illuminating. I think I understand things better.

  39. Dan Coffey says:

    Jessica: “And I wonder, just for the sake of argument, whether we might name some really “good stuff” that flarf (as a term, designation, social group, comedy routine) has enabled.”

    Me: Dan Coffey’s Forthcoming: Collected Poems 1970-2009. I won’t leave this comment because I can’t make out the word verification.

  40. Gary says:

    Thanks, Simon. It doesn’t appear that anyone here is actually angry. I’m definitely not.

    Simon, why do you think Scott McLoud is acting in bad faith? I’ve heard lots of different opinions about him, from cartoonists and others, but that’s the first time I’ve heard that one. I’m not saying it isn’t true, but that it definitely has never occurred to me–I’ve personally learned a lot reading the first two books of his series. (I haven’t yet picked up Making Comics.)

    What is it about what he’s doing that makes you feel that?

    Jim, I’ve always wondered why some people say that the language poets had no sense of humor. I guess people haven’t read Tina Darragh, Nick Piombino, Charles Bernstein, Michael Gottlieb, Carla Harryman, Geoff Young, or Johanna Drucker, to name just the few that come immediately to mind–or maybe they are reading them or hearing them differently than I do. Even Ron can be funny in his poetry.

    The myth of the language poets controlling the conversation about experimental poetry is one that I suspect largely persists by virtue of the fact of its retelling. A reverse sort of emperor’s clothes.

    If lots of people keep pointing at something, it looks more prominent, and many people continue to wag their fingers disapprovingly at this group, which no doubt keeps this myth alive.

    It also, ironically, invests them with more power. If the issue is that they’re hogging the attention, wouldn’t the logical way out of that scenario be to ignore them?

    Simon, my guess is that that’s a lot of the reason for the flarf-overwhelm. I don’t mean to suggest by that that we haven’t self-promoted or friend-promoted as much as anyone in, say, the Poetry Project Newsletter, or anywhere else in poetryland for that matter.

    It’s when people start responding that it begins to snowball. It becomes a kind of finger-trap.

    Speaking of which, I should probably shut up. Plus, I want to go to the Factory School reading.

    Have a great night,

    Gary

  41. Simon says:

    I guess what bothers me about Scott is the very totalizing way he goes about talking about the comic form. Now, OK, “bad faith” — well, I think the worst that can be said is that he is very canny.

    I guess with his books I just get this feeling that he is angling for something, and it makes me suspicious. It feels disconnected in some weird way.

  42. Ernesto says:

    “here’s the difference: comic books are not taught at university”.

    Not true. There are dozens of scholars all over the world teaching (about) comics at university level. I included graphic novels in my syllabus for my undergraduate course on critical approaches to literature for almost three years.

    I am writing my PhD dissertation on comics, which will be my third university degree dissertation about the topic.

  43. Simon says:

    Ernesto:

    (A) fuck.

    (B) at least we have a few more years before comic book artists come to rely on 90% of their funding from higher education.

  44. Jim Behrle says:

    You didn’t answer my question, Coach. Is it crucial to be a consumer of flarf rather than read it for free online? How revolutionary: like that bit from “The Critic” where he keeps the talking bookstore display: “Buy My Book! BUY MY BOOK!” IF FLARF HAS TAUGHT ME ANYTHING might be a good name for your book when the time is right, by the way.

    If Magee took down what was free for a while and now is going to sell it (instead of having books available and it being available online) I think that’s weak: it speaks to the apparent need to overemphasize physical books for a movement that relies upon online wells for inspiration. Shouldn’t flarf work be left online to beget more flarf work? When you eat a peach, do you not plant the pit? Or is flarf a take-take-take arrangement with the world?

    I think new leadership needs to come to flarf. Absolute power is absolutely bad, and too many of the better writers in your movement are overshadowed by the obvious careerist desires of the vocal crowd. When will you declare elections? Power to the other flarf people!

    xxxjimmy

  45. Jim Behrle says:

    I mean, LANGUAGE poets certainly do try to control conversations about LANGUAGE poetry, or have I been sleeping all this time? There’s no I in team, Coach.

    Most of us poets realize this is a solo sport.

    Does anyone outside of the clique really like everything you’re up to? Not really. Some flarf is not good flarf. I’ll await a Penguin imprint for Flarf Classics. Meanwhile, turn down the microwaves. A lot of people live in this building.

    xxxjimmy

  46. Ian Keenan says:

    I don’t like the Widget Movement, LLC, I think it’s theoretical basis is fundamentally flawed, but I would like to control the Widget Movement, LLC because I really have no ideas of my own and I want my finger on whatever the fashionable people think the pulse is so that I can bully people, so perhaps it can be publicly traded, and though federal courts may have convicted me for unlawful security transactions leading to the insolvency of the businesses I invested in, I have the best interests of the Widget Movement, LLC in mind.

    xxx

  47. Jessica Smith says:

    All this kissing is so nice.

  48. Gary says:

    Hi Simon,

    Despite the fact that Ernesto, and a number of others–people I know in comics and in “literature” or “pop culture” studies–do teach comics, it’s definitely true, as you suggest, that most of comics’ sales (and therefore audience) is outside of the academic world, and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. And, I agree, that makes for a healthier environment in many (if not all) ways.

    But, that is changing, at least somewhat.

    Yale just published a very large (and, in my opinion, really great) anthology of “graphic novels, stories, and essays,” edited by Ivan Brunetti (who is himself a teacher, as well as one of my favorite artists). Matt Madden and Jessica Abel are working now on a very long “textbook” for comics, but I don’t know too much about that, except that it’s in the making, and is intended in great part for an academic audience (as well as for people like me).

    Matt’s book, 99 Ways to Tell a Story, was actually originally called Exercises in Style, after the Raymond Queneau book of the same name. But his publisher thought (rightly so) that they would have more success in the academic market by using the other title. That, and their marketing strategy for the book, generally, has definitely paid off for them, and Matt’s book is not only being taught in clases, but it’s being translated into a number of other languages–I think Japanese and French may already be out?

    But, it’s true that all of this activity has been very recent, and so the older model of distributors and comic book stores is still in place and makes up most of what gets sold, and read, in comics, for the present.

    Gary

  49. Gary says:

    Jim,

    I don’t really see a problem with publishing books, even books with material culled from, or in conversation with, what’s going on online.

    If this is a real issue, then what about Scott McCloud’s Reinventing Comics, which is largely about comics online? Or Brian Kim Stefans’ Digital Poetics? Maybe you can make a case that those books shouldn’t exist as books, but I’m doubtful that you’ll be able to convince me. I’ll read any reasoned argument that you have, though.

    People read books and magazines somewhat differently than they do material online. There are theories about why this is, involving things ranging from light source, to physicality, to eye-strain. I like to read on the train. I can’t yet read anything online on the train–unless I print it out. I’m glad Mike published MAD as a book. I think it will help the level of concentration that I can bring to it, as it didn’t occur to me at the time to print out the 80-100 pages of it while it was online.

    I love Sharon and Mitch. I published a book by Mitch (The Blue Dahlia), wrote a review of another one, have had him read at Segue, and published an interview I conducted with him on Readme.

    I’ve also had Sharon read for Segue, and have published at least one review of one of her earlier books. Michael Magee will be publishing her book Annoying Diabetic Bitch.

    You mentioned community above. My sense of community involves going to bat for the writers you care about, not just in blog comments fields, but by writing about their work, giving them readings, publishing them, interviewing them.

    If Mitch and Sharon haven’t talked a lot in public, is that because I or Michael have been trying to squelch them? I can’t personally force them to talk if they don’t want to do that. I can trick them into talking about their work, occasionally, I suppose, which is sort of what that interview with Mitch was.

    It’s something that you, too, can do, if you have the time and want to. But you’d have to focus your energy on that, which may take time away from your other activities.

    Gary

    Gary

  50. Jim Behrle says:

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at exactly, Gary–I’ve curated lots of things, published lots of people in magazines: did flarf invent those things too, curating and editing?

    It’s fine if you only want to go to bat for flarf poets now, want to leave marathon readings when all the flarfers are done. You seem to want flarf to define who and what you are, you seem to want to defend it in every internet comment field available. Revolutionaries make bad administrators. Maybe flarf needs a friendlier face attached to it. Or at least one who is trying less to define what everybody thinks about it. I don’t respond to reviews of my books online. Some guy said I was too Catholic. Another guys was distracted by the french fries in a mall food court. Good luck to them: what possible good you do trying to shape all conversations at what you guys are doing? Why don’t you just listen?

    Are people too stupid to see what you guys are up to?

    I got lots of energy, Gary. Way too much. Why are *you* wasting so much energy in places like this. The boy contingent has been amply heard from. If you want flarf to go beyond the “and our girlfriends too” perception, maybe it ought to become a matriarchy. A wise guy like yourself could not possibly be against this, letting the ladies of flarf do the talking, letting them drive the conversation for a while. The boys seem to have bruised it enough. I think the flarf brand has HURT not helped the reception of Katie Degentesh’s great ANGER SCALE. I think reviewers are turned off of confronting the work for fear they will have to have another pointless circular conversation with you somewhere. And the truth is, flarf has gotten away from being offensive (and often from being funny). Why the switch? Has it hit a wall? Are you guys unwilling to deal with the realities of trying to create work that offends people? I don’t remember anything remotely offensive in ANGIE DICKINSON, but I’ll wait til it comes out. When ASIAN GUYS got hammered, all I saw was a million apologies? Is that the flarf way? To apologize for its effects.

    Hey, books are great–but why take ANGIE down off the web? Why not continue to host both? I own HOUSE OF THE HOLY on 8 track, cassette, cd and mp3: why shouldn’t poetry work that way? If flarf is going to be sent to various print on demand venues, will it lose its roots? He didn’t take sections of ANGIE down from JACKET. And more people would have had the chance to read it online than would ever plop down $16 or whatever. I know in 50 years it will be required reading for all incoming freshmen and all. But when flarf stops living in its natural habitat, doesn’t it lose something?

    Aren’t you being a little too shrill? Shouldn’t you turn the keys over to someone else? Or is FLARF KING forever?

    xxxjimmy

  51. Gary says:

    Jim,

    Ah, so the issue is that you want to hear from women on the flarflist talking about flarf.

    That would explain why you came in to shout down by putting down Shanna Compton for doing just that.

    Thanks for your concern.

    Gary

  52. Gary says:

    And if you’re worried about the reception of Katie’s book, you might want to check SPD’s Poetry Bestseller list. Anger Scale is at #3.

    See:

    http://www.spdbooks.org/GENpoetrybestsellers.asp

  53. Jim Behrle says:

    Shanna’s on the flarf list? Shanna speaks for Flarf? Since when? Is Shanna a Flarfist now?

    My mere appearance here is an act of shouting down? Joining a conversation. You joined too. Who did you come in here to “shout down?” Who was Kasey trying to “shout down” with his disappeared post?

    Are you supposed to be a funny guy? What happened to the Marx Brothers?

    My statement was factual: flarf has become just about the opposite of what you wanted it to become. Non-flarflist people are now claiming to write flarf. How will you control freaks deal with that influence? Flarf now means googly cut-up nonsense text. Has *flarf* failed? Failed to offend and now is withering apart at the seems of its own foundations? The definition that you created for flarf simply no longer applies.

    I don’t accept that you’re concerned about my energies or what I read either. You don’t seem to even adequately manage yourself here in these fields anymore. A change of leadership might be just the ticket.

    I *am* worried that flarf has simply become a motorcycle gang: I think you guys are better than that and a few of your poets deserve better than being swallowed up in Gary Sullivan’s attempts to jump up and down and get more attention for himself. What responsibility do you have to let other people enjoy the spotlight in silence. Why has flarf become about YOU? I thought it was about poems.

    xxxjimmy

  54. Jim Behrle says:

    PS: I spoke about being worried about ANGER SCALE getting reviews. I’m glad it’s selling (I bought mine at St. Mark’s, it’s a beautiful book they have on display), but why aren’t people talking about it? Got a guilty conscience here? Why were other reviews of flarf books shouted down? Why are you the only one capable of understanding what you guys are up to? Why are *you* in the equation AT ALL?

    You’re really no good at this kind of confrontation. Unfortunately no flarlist people are. On the one hand you want to offend and provoke. When responded to, you act like martyrs. Or the only people who have ever written poems. Good luck with *that*. Poetic Power Couples and Group Power Political Dynamics will always fail. The reader sees the poem on the road and either says hi or not. You’ve made even your greatest defenders tired of the schtick.

  55. Gary says:

    Shanna has been on the list for several months now.

    She’s awesome.

  56. Jim Behrle says:

    Hey–

    Glad flarf is opening the books! Hopefully the list will someday include all poets everywhere. How democratic. You ought to send out mass announcements of who is accepted into your mafia’s fold. Flarf people seem somehow upset at my very presence on this earth–my every step or breath sends them scurrying. But you should, at some point, be able to deal with detractors effectively and not just go boo-hoo to Gary’s bussom, right? If you want the grand glories of internet fame, you might also have to step around the rotting grapes.

    Thanks for avoiding all of my other questions. All Hail Caesar!

    xxxjimmy

  57. Gary says:

    What questions do you want answered?

  58. Jim Behrle says:

    Here…I’ll repost one of my latest posts just in case you can’t find it, grandad. See, conversations on commentfields happen from top (earliest) to bottom (most recent):

    Shanna’s on the flarf list? Shanna speaks for Flarf? Since when? Is Shanna a Flarfist now?

    My mere appearance here is an act of shouting down? Joining a conversation. You joined too. Who did you come in here to “shout down?” Who was Kasey trying to “shout down” with his disappeared post?

    Are you supposed to be a funny guy? What happened to the Marx Brothers?

    My statement was factual: flarf has become just about the opposite of what you wanted it to become. Non-flarflist people are now claiming to write flarf. How will you control freaks deal with that influence? Flarf now means googly cut-up nonsense text. Has *flarf* failed? Failed to offend and now is withering apart at the seems of its own foundations? The definition that you created for flarf simply no longer applies.

    I don’t accept that you’re concerned about my energies or what I read either. You don’t seem to even adequately manage yourself here in these fields anymore. A change of leadership might be just the ticket.

    I *am* worried that flarf has simply become a motorcycle gang: I think you guys are better than that and a few of your poets deserve better than being swallowed up in Gary Sullivan’s attempts to jump up and down and get more attention for himself. What responsibility do you have to let other people enjoy the spotlight in silence. Why has flarf become about YOU? I thought it was about poems.

    xxxjimmy

  59. Jim Behrle says:

    On the local radio today the locals spoke of all the ways male animals are aggressive to each other to win attention.

    The best: the male bird who spends each day fighting his own reflection in the window.

    xxxjimmy

  60. Gary says:

    Thanks.

    Shanna’s on the flarf list?
    Yes.

    Shanna speaks for Flarf?
    Shanna speaks for her own experiences.

    Since when?
    Presumably since she was able to speak.

    Is Shanna a Flarfist now?
    If a flarfist means someone on the list posting flarf, I suppose so.

    My mere appearance here is an act of shouting down?
    No, the way you appear here is. Especially given your history with Shanna–public and private harrassment and bad-mouthing of her.

    Who did you come in here to “shout down?”
    I came in initially to complicate the idea that one cannot be simultaneously playful and serious.

    Who was Kasey trying to “shout down” with his disappeared post?
    I don’t know what that post was, so I have no idea why he took it down.

    Are you supposed to be a funny guy?
    I don’t think anyone can tell me what I am supposed to be or not be.

    What happened to the Marx Brothers?
    They all died.

    Non-flarflist people are now claiming to write flarf. How will you control freaks deal with that influence?
    If people want to claim they are writing flarf, bully for them.

    Flarf now means googly cut-up nonsense text. Has *flarf* failed?
    It depends on what one wanted flarf to do. Personally, I just wanted to read poetry that interested me.

    Failed to offend and now is withering apart at the seems of its own foundations?
    If people weren’t offended by it, we would probably not be having this conversation. That said, it was not intended to offend. It was intended to explore a certain set of limits. It seems to do that often enough.

    Why has flarf become about YOU?
    It isn’t about me. It’s about you.

    Gary

  61. Jim Behrle says:

    Hey man, lots of people are publicly and privately bad-mouthed. Surely I’m not responsible for all that kind of stuff. Flarf list people can be pretty vicious, too. I know it’s all very utopian and all, you guys having finally chosen the true path through poems. I simply stated that when people like Shanna and Barbara Jean Reyes (is she on the flarf list, too? ) start calling their work flarfy it essentially changes what it means to write flarf. Seems pretty straightforward. Do you mean people close to you don’t badmouth me?

    xxxjimmy

  62. Jim Behrle says:

    Why are you acting so holier-than-thou all the time? Why do you feel the need to control conversations about flarf? I’m only offended that flarf isn’t offensive at all–it’s a huge disappointment to me. Are you hoping flarf will give your poems more weight? I like your cartoons more than your poems, are you counting on some kind of flarf legacy to propel you to superpoet status? Why is it not ok for me to complicate conversations? Why is a change in leadership of flarf out of the question?

    xxxjimmy

  63. Jim Behrle says:

    I guess you should give me a list of people it is ok to appear in a comments field after and who it’s not ok to appear after. Is it ok for me to test people’s limits? Or is that owed by flarfco, inc too?

    xxxjimmy

  64. Jim Behrle says:

    I mean is flarf *immune* by nature to criticism? You guys ought to write me a check: I seem like the only guy that even wants to deal with you sometimes. Is everyone that writes flarf somehow *above satire*? I should have taken your course, maybe.

    xxxjimmy

  65. Gary says:

    Jim,

    Here’s the first thing you said when you came on:

    “I think the ones who like to make noise about flarf are the flarflisters themselves. If they’d stop talking about it I bet everybody would lighten up considerably on it and them. People are tired of the hard sell.”

    Considering that Shanna was the only one from the flarflist here actually talking about flarf at that point, there may be a direct causal relationship between your having said that, and her shutting up here. Perhaps she was simply taking your advice.

    Later, you say you want to hear from the women. But when one of them was actually speaking, you didn’t seem to want to listen.

    I think the first thing you said was probably the truest. You don’t want to hear anything from any of us, because you’re sick of it.

    But, you ask a lot of questions of someone who you don’t seem to want to hear from.

    It’s fine with me either way.

  66. Jim Behrle says:

    Maybe flarflisters should identify themselves immediately when appearing in comment fields. Actually you appeared first in these fields. Flarf Caesar, ho! TRUMPETNOISE! I didn’t find out Shanna was a flarflister until you told me an hour ago. Do try to keep up.

    I am sick of your evasive bullshit. Yessir! Maybe flarf cannot be defended. Maybe it ought to be you that finally drives it into the muck. Beats me. I would like to hear from the better flarf poets: not you or Shanna for that matter. There must be other voices that would like to take their campaigns from the whisper to the streets. Everyone could write an essay called WHAT FLARF MEANS TO ME. And we could post it. And then everyone could decide themselves just how tired of it they are.

    xxxjimmy

  67. Gary says:

    Why are you acting so holier-than-thou all the time?
    I apologise if that’s the case. I don’t think I’m holy at all. I’m an atheist.

    Why do you feel the need to control conversations about flarf?
    I don’t, and can’t, control them. I’m responding to what you are saying, much of which is in question form.

    I’m only offended that flarf isn’t offensive at all–it’s a huge disappointment to me.
    Everyone’s limits are different. Some people have higher social filters than others.

    Are you hoping flarf will give your poems more weight?
    Poems weigh nothing.

    I like your cartoons more than your poems, are you counting on some kind of flarf legacy to propel you to superpoet status?
    I don’t believe in superpoets.

    Why is it not ok for me to complicate conversations?
    I never said that it was.

    Why is a change in leadership of flarf out of the question?
    Because there is no leadership to begin with.

  68. Gary says:

    “I am sick of your evasive bullshit.”

    What, exactly, do you feel I’m evading?

  69. Jim Behrle says:

    You do seem to think that I am pressing up against some form of limit. I cannot comment anywhere where Shanna Compton comments. Why is that? That my very appearance makes her shut up–well, that’s *her* problem. Why should anyone shut anyone else up? I would not let anyone shut me up. Ever. As we know. What gives Shanna the right to feel so bullied by my implications? People are responsible for their own silence. People ought to be brave enough to stand up for themselves (particularly online and about poetry, where nothing is at stake).

    I used to stand up for Shanna all the time at foetry. I’m glad that’s your job now.

    xxxjimmy

  70. Jim Behrle says:

    Oh, Gary. You evade everything! No one is in charge of Flarf?! Then why are my hands shaking I should know better.

    Who’s badmouthing who? Why does the flarflist function as a Behrle-bash list? Shouldn’t I have my own listserv for that? Why do you wither under scrutiny? Why is Bugs Bunny funnier than Daffy? Wasn’t Bugs kind of a dick? Then why do we love him?

    xxxjimmy

  71. Jim Behrle says:

    What’s flarf’s relationship with desperation? They seem to go hand in hand. Explain why it’s better that flarf function as a cloistered community that’s not open to new members. Do you take inspiration from the Amish? If anyone who says they’re writing flarf is writing flarf, shouldn’t *they* be on the flarflist too? Shouldn’t you want to keep in touch with all your ships at sea?

    xxxjimmy

  72. Jim Behrle says:

    Kasey’s post was called “Is Flarf Flarf?” Maybe you could ask him for a copy. He is on the flarf list. Do you need his e-mail? It started:

    The sudden explosion of interest in flarf over the past few decades has led to an increasingly alarming tendency among many readers to refer quite recklessly to any work of known flarf as “flarf.” Why is this? Should a poem’s status as …

    Was this post meant to mock criticism here at looktouch? Do tell. Or let him. Wouldn’t that be a kind of shouting down? What happened to RUSTBUCKLE’s initial review of Anne Boyer’s chap. Did you respond to Dustin? Claim he was cheapshotting?

    xxxjimmy

  73. Gary says:

    “You evade everything!”
    It would be nice to evade death. But highly unlikely.

    “Kasey’s post was called ‘Is Flarf Flarf?'”
    Oh, right–I saw that one. He posted it about a week or two ago. It was very funny.

    “Was this post meant to mock criticism here at looktouch?”
    I doubt it. It was up long before this post, here.

    “What happened to RUSTBUCKLE’s initial review of Anne Boyer’s chap.”
    Dustin apparently rewrote the review.

    “Did you respond to Dustin? Claim he was cheapshotting?”
    I posted a link to the review and said something like “People are still foaming at the mouth about flarf. That’s nice.”

    “What’s flarf’s relationship with desperation?”
    We are all desperate. I like poetry that does not pretend that this aspect of experience exists and motivates us. What is breathing? Eating? Our bodies’ ddesperate attempt to avoid the inevitable (death).

    “Explain why it’s better that flarf function as a cloistered community that’s not open to new members.”
    We do add new members. We all have to agree to them, though.

    “Do you take inspiration from the Amish?”
    I probably do not know enough about the Amish to take inspiration from them.

    “If anyone who says they’re writing flarf is writing flarf, shouldn’t *they* be on the flarflist too?”
    See above for rules and regulations.

    “Shouldn’t you want to keep in touch with all your ships at sea?” It’s a lovely thought. But not practical.

  74. Jim Behrle says:

    Mr. Flarf President, blogsearch google has a Is Flarf Flarf listed as being posted 2/12/07 and now no longer being available. Can you comment on that?

    Is Flarf Flarf?
    12 Feb 2007 by K. Silem Mohammad
    The sudden explosion of interest in flarf over the past few decades has led to
    an increasingly alarming tendency among many readers to refer quite recklessly
    to any work of known flarf as “flarf.” Why is this? Should a poem’s status as …
    {lime tree} – http://lime-tree.blogspot.com/index.html

    Was this a direct response to this very post on looktouch? In what ways was that meant to squash flarf conversation here. In what ways, Mr. President, do you and Kasey work in coordination to squash flarf desent? Mr. President, does everyone on the flarf list carefully monitor conversattions about flarf online and comment on whatever is happening? Is that a function of the community?

    And what about people like this?

    http://outsidetena.blogspot.com/2007/01/flarf-poetry.html

    Are they misguided to think that by writing google cut-ups they’re writing flarf? Does everyone in the flarf “collective” agree as to who responds to things online and how?

    xxxjimmy

  75. Jim Behrle says:

    Can you collect statements of flarf from everyone? I’d be happy to feature them on a website or webspace, what flarf means to Mitch, Katie, Xtina, whatever. The way flarf history is laid out online right now makes it seems kinda Moses set-in-stone. It’s you and Kasey, you and Kasey. What about everyone else? Has flarf, for them, evolved beyond your early, very limited notion? Why is the flarf list not archived online. I assume the holy history of flarf will someday come leatherbound and blessed by a pope or popess. Why do you gather in secret, snark in private and ice out opposition?

    xxxjimmy

  76. Gary says:

    Ah, I was thinking of an earlier post. It may have been in response to this one. I don’t know why he took it down. Maybe he thought it was funny at first, and then not.

    It is heartening to see younger poets such as yourself challenging older poets such as myself. For I believe that it is this spirit, above all else, that may potentially lead to the exciting and engaging poetry and poetics of tomorrow.

    I appreciate your questions and your candor, and wish the best for you in all of your future endeavors.

  77. Gary says:

    “Can you collect statements of flarf from everyone?”

    You saw Mitch and Sharon last night. Presumably you will see them in the future, and no doubt have all of their e-mails.

    Feel free to write to them, or talk with them, and ask; I’m sure if they’re interested, they’ll send you something.

  78. Jim Behrle says:

    I am 10 years younger than you, thanks. I only hope I can learn from the shining example of your cloying awfulness. Does that mean you’re finished being challenged here?

    xxxjimmy

  79. Jim Behrle says:

    I was kind of hoping a few more funny flarf people (such as yourself) would show up for the Mesmer Roast last night. She’s an incredible sport (as is Mitch), really able to give and take it, let shit roll off their back. A fine example for all elderly cranky members of the flarf clique.

    xxxjimmy

  80. Steven Fama says:

    Excuse the interruption.

    I can’t figure out why it was to any one’s “amazement” — at the apparent start of flarf or phlarf — that an “awful poem” was published or acknowledged by a site or company which was known to the submitting poet as a scam because it would publish anything.

    It ain’t so amazing, it seems to me, when the sendee knew exactly that the scammy publisher would publish, or acknowledge, whatever was sent.

    The great artist Bruce Conner played this game decades ago with the “Who’s Who in America” publisher. He told them he was born in Pyramid Lake, stuff like that, and they published it, soliciting him to buy copies of the book.

    After a couple years of that, Conner wrote the publisher and declared that he was dead. They moved his entry over to the “Who Was Who” book. And kept him in “Who’s Who” too!

    If anybody other than Jimmy and Gary reads this, please post something. I’m curious if anyone other than me waded down to the bottom of the dozens of posts here…

  81. Gary says:

    I was out sick yesterday. Mitch gave me the full roast report today.

    I would happily post your request for statements to the list, btw, but if there is no or poor response, I worry that you wouldn’t believe me. It’s better for you to ask so you know you’re getting what everyone said.

    I should probably stop before Jessica’s counter gets to 100. (Not that 82 isn’t bad enough.)

  82. Jim Behrle says:

    Why wouldn’t I believe you? I fear not your deceptions. Onward, Caesar!

    xxxjimmy

  83. Jessica Smith says:

    Hm… Could someone summarize the arguments for me? I don’t want to read through all this. Preferably someone not Gary or Jim.

  84. Ryan W. says:

    to my great amazement I have read almost all of this thread and will not summarize it but will review it. thanks lorraine for linking to this. it is incredibly funny. my summary, then… I can’t figure out what’s more absurd, the persistence with which “jim behrle” is trying to invent some seriousness here, invent a conflict, OR the (really inexplicable and seemingly infinite, maybe even pathological) generosity and earnestness of “gary” in responding to “jim berhle”. this is the most absurd thing I’ve ever read online. meanwhile I am putting their names in quotes in an effort to insulate myself against the absurdity of their respective efforts in this thread. in conclusion, there is actually no (ZERO) content to this particular thread, but it is full of fascinating stylistic flourishes, poignant miscommunications, boundless personal futility and hostility exquisitely mated to pathological generosity. it is, in fact, the greatest work of postmodern blob flarf that I’ve ever witnessed, and its key collaborators, “jim behrle” and “gary”, ought to be congratu… etc

  85. François says:

    Here’s my summary. Shanna tries to make a point, Jim Behrle comes into the conversation, Gary Sullivan calls Jim on his BS, Jim blows a fuse and starts attacking Gary, Gary kinda dismisses Jim, Jim turns his blown fuse into a verbal diarrhea, Gary keeps blowing off Jim and so on, until you asked for a recap.

    I don’t know Gary or Jim, although I kinda dig Gary’s comic book work. On the other hand, Shanna has always been nice in our correspondence, which tends to turn me against Jim.

    Someone had also mentioned how the craft of comic books was not taught in university. I think it’s untrue. There are now MFAs in comic book illustration. Nikki Cook and Rami Efal (of the Act-I-Vate collective) both have one. And David Mazzucheli (of Daredevil: Born Again, Batman Year One and Paul Auster’s City of Glass) teaches at the School of Visual Arts, while the Joe Kubert’s School is an accredited school where many well-known “mainstream” artists have been educated (Jan Duursema, the younger Kuberts, and more)

  86. Jessica Smith says:

    I think one point that was made was that Flarf has changed since its inception. But I have now lost interest in exploring this topic any further.

    But comic books, insofar as graphic novels are comic books, are definitely taught at schools. i wonder if you can even take a course in pomo lit without reading Maus anymore. There were many graphic novels on syllabi at Buffalo, although Buffalo is not necessarily the standard by which one should judge wther certain kinds of texts are being taught in academia.

    Simon went to Princeton and Harvard, so it’s no wonder he didn’t come across comix in the classroom.

  87. Pirooz M. Kalayeh says:

    fqvqsGary,

    You and another member choose who are Flarfists? That seems a bit strange. I mean, you’re welcome to do it, but why would one person’s word be more than another? Why would you need to do such an action? Isn’t that the job of critics or historians? How can you be a Flarfist and choose who will also be one?

    Best,

    Pirooz

  88. François says:

    WEll, I wasn’t really talking about reading graphic novels in class, but rather honing your skills at creating a comic book in a workshop-like environment.

  89. Jessica Smith says:

    pirooz– Breton did that with the Surrealists. Whoever he said was a Surrealist was a surrealist. And maybe, like Surrealism, some good poetry will come out of Flarf. It is interesting to see what kind of control poets have of their movements–what they think will make them “last”–I don’t mean that as a snarky comment either, I do think it’s interesting. B/c it’s not just marketing– it’s marketing for the unpredictable audience of the future. Scary and romantic.

    françois, yes, of course i realized that only after i had gone off on my own little spiel and posted it. :) but it looks like comix have entered The Academy, if they had ever been Outside it (that seems debatable), in both positions: artistic and analytic.

  90. shanna says:

    jeez, i just didn’t have anything else to say. i was talking to j about her post (um, i do that lots over here) and then she said she was no longer interested in the subject, which put a plain old natural end to the conversation (between me & j).

  91. François says:

    OH, I think comic books have long been in the Academy, at least in Europe. I mean, when I wanted to become a comic book illustrator, my hope was to enter L’Ecole des Gobelins (the Iowa of comic books in France).

  92. Jim Behrle says:

    I do hope to turn *everyone* against me, naturally. Through any means nezessary.

    xxxjimmy

  93. Ernesto says:

    “Simon went to Princeton and Harvard, so it’s no wonder he didn’t come across comix in the classroom.”

    I’m glad Jessica said that; maybe that explains why I was rejected from both schools! ;)

    I’m glad the relationship between comics and poetry is being discussed. Jessica is right in saying that Maus, for instance, has become an essential text (whatever that means) in courses about postmodernism, representation, memory, et cetera.

    Maybe it should be clarified that graphic novels are, indeed, comics (lengthy comic books), insofar as they use the same lexicopictographic discourse.

    I agree with Gary that comic books’ place on academia or scholarly circles (in the case of readers, teachers and comic book creators) is till very limited in comparison to that of, say, poets. But this is likely to change. When I started writing about comics in the early nineties there wasn’t the same consciousness about comics there is now. People who took comics “seriously” knew they deserved to be read and taught about in universities long before Maus was published or granted the Pultizer. (Something else that would have to be discussed is how comics in Europe have been taken seriously for a longer time, and that the false dichotomy between “childish” superheroes and “serious” graphic novels is something somehow alien or just banale across the pond, especially in France).

    Maybe something similar happens in flarf or any other kind of poetry. There is so much stuff being written all over the world, and then suddenly, globalisation and telecommunications and all, America keeps staring at its own navel, most of the time.

  94. Ernesto says:

    What I meant to say in my last paragraph is that the whole discussion between Gary and Jim offers a special insight about the situation of contemporary American poetry, whether they want it -i.e., do it on purpose- or not. Readers of poetry outside the US or the online poetry reading circles couldn’t care less about “leadership” in flarf, for instance.

    What are the relevant questions here? Can we try to distance ourselves a little from our most immediate passions – drives, pathos – and attempt a discussion of what is relevant about flarf, about the term or what the term has come to represent, without necessarily falling into a strife of individuals or groups, without falling all the time in the expression of feelings of exclusion or inclusion within said groups?

    What is flarf and why is it relevant; and why is it a problem if the term gets used – therefore authorised – by an invidividual as Ron Silliman?

    This are the questions that a reader outside of the most immediate circles surrounding those who write flarf poetry would like to see answered.

    (Sorry about the lengthy comments, and thanks to Jessica for her hospitality).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s