Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Flarfers like to insult folks I guess

Well it seems I've pissed off Christian Bok. He called me a troll on his twitter page. Tee hee.

What he choses to ignore, of course (in a lovely tu quoque sort of way), is that Kenneth Goldsmith said "Conceptual Poetry" (his caps) was child's play.

Perhaps that Kinsey Gaffe wasn't so intentional after all, eh Ken?

Can ya ken wha I mean, Ken?

Update (7/17):
I've also cheesed off Silliman. He refers to my post below as being "so pained it's almost flarf"; in the comments section, Many Zeros says that the point of my post seems to be "get your ass down to K-mart and see what [the troglodytes] want in their poetry." Close, but no cigar, Zero Mostel. Those folks at K-mart with their trans-fat biscuits don't generally read (remember, only 1/3 of Americans read on a regular basis).

It would be useful to say, go to a Barnes&Noble or mine Amazon (or just look at best-seller lists) to try to figure out what readers like. . . at the very least we need to stop writing to please ourselves or to please other poets -- no more masturbation and incest, folks!

Keep it clean! Seriously you guys, the whole idea of exogenous creativity is that we get infusions of new blood and new ideas -- we aren't getting that from inside the realm of poetry, we've got to go outside our camp, beyond the land of the backslappers and grantgivers.


Patrick said...

Hey G.M., looks like you've really thrown yourself into the scree. Good for you.

I bought the issue of Poetry just to see what the kerfuffle was all about. I'll be writing up my own thoughts, but nothing like yours.

I didn't read anything among the flarf or conceptual poems that I found emotionally compelling.

If you have to "define" a poem or poetic genre in order to understand or appreciate it, then it's not really poetry. It's a different sort of genre with its own aesthetic rules.

The question is whether flarf or conceptual poems will ever compel the general public to read more. It hasn't happened yet. In the last 60 years only a handful of poets have successfully engaged the general public, if minimally.

If Flarf or conceptual poetry is ever going to be anything more than "fun and games" it will be for the same reason that all poetry succeeds or fails - it can engage the general public.

Ironically, the very aspects that have drawn the general public to poetry are the very things that Flarf and conceptual poetry flout. Linear narrative, coherent narrative and thought. In short, accessibility.

Just looked at Silliman's book, the Alphabet. I don't see anything that would compel a reader to prefer the book over any other more coherent work of prose fiction. He made the effort though... remains to be seen whether it will quickly fade into obscurity. I suspect it will.

G. M. Palmer said...

Thanks, Patrick!

Can't wait to read your own take on things.

Mark said...

If you're pissing people off, at least they are paying attention to you.

I read some of the work in the mention issue of 'Poetry' and went, "Huh?" I tend to blame myself as being fairly new to reading poetry and certainly to writing it.

I have seen in many areas of The Arts that some have an attitude that if the masses like it, it can't be good. Whatever.

Anonymous said...

Is that 1/3 just books though? I don't read a great deal of books but I read blogs, newspapers and magazines for hours and hours every single day.

I think the internet has been the greatest thing for the written word since Gutenberg

Lloyd Mintern said...

Does Ron Silliman even know you exist? That comment was by some anonymous reader; it is desperate that you try to parley that to your own ignorant readers as "pissing him off."

G. M. Palmer said...

Aug 14,

I would like to say that the # is higher but I don't really know that it is. From my teaching experience I can tell you that the folks who read online are not much different from the folks who read off-line.

I don't know what the periodical readership rate is, though. I wonder who keeps track of that?

Lloyd, as Ron has linked to me and he and I follow each other on twitter (and have recommended bars to each other) I think the answer is at least "yes, a bit."

We've got obvious chasms over the way we think about poetry, though.

And it was Christian Bok I pissed off, not Ron (though RS referred to my "rant" as "pained and almost flarf"), Bok is the one who called me a troll.