2.27.2006

some 'call backs' to silliman's blog re: flarf -- haven't read the commentary there yet -- vis a vis SECRET KITTY


One set of questions has to do with systematization, the use of computers, games, any sort of gimmickry in the construction of the poem

well, gimmickry is certainly an unfriendly word in this context; SK is "all about the tOy" in a foregrounded way, but the reason it isn't flarf is that I used search engines where I would normally start using my head, thinking, making associations -- I had started to write the hello kitty poem in my usual way for this sort of poem (there are some chapbooks of this, and PALM ANTHOLOGY is "this sort of poem") (and I left what I had of that early stuff in), but I decided that if it was going to be like that it wouldn't mean as much as I wanted it to, because I was starting with a mouthless toy, a figure with no speech, etc. I was also STARTING with text and ideas from Use your Imagination! a HK coloring book, and I was using the search results in a very specific way -- like much flarf, the result is rewritten, but unlike flarf, the text was not purely generated by search results AND I was very fast and loose with the queries as I would be when writing my own poem "out of my head" -- the part where imagination generally enters in, I tried to put the search engine there; I "pre"wrote & rewrote as usual -- well, a little faster and looser than usual on the Mimmy part, because there was a deadline (I THOUGHT -- the book was expected in December)

I didn't use google excusively and this is part of my critique of flarf -- although in response to criticism, flarfeurs have researched the algorhythm and are very conscious of their queries & how they are written and what everyone calls "junk characters" -- I used Alta Vista because it remains mostly an engineering-centric engine, and I used dictionary.com's web search because it is faux news and prose - centric, lovely sentences there -- some ask jeeves and whatnot put in as seemed appropriate -- the poem titles allude to the major engine used, ex. View is Alta Vista

Uncreative Writing utilizes systems ruthlessly to achieve its goal,...

The translation of the first "node", the hello phantasm section, into Japanese and back in the third section, Mime/Mimesis (named after HK's twin sis, Mimmy) would most closely resemble uncreative writing if it wasn't translation. I mean, it did have that sort of ruthlessness to it, in the execution.

I will say, tho, that this ruthlessness -- not rigor, exactly, but energetic determination -- is what makes this sort of conceputalization in poetry not a minimalism, but a modernist maximalism.

Neo-Oulipo employs systems, but where uncreative writing does so with the eye of an historicist, focusing on the origin of the content, Neo-Oulipo tends to focus on the system itself.

I think this is something of a false distinction here. Bad neo-oulipo work never transcends the algorhythms or constraints which were devised to arrive at a work; conceptual poems & history? I dunno

rest of this still unedited from silliman

A second set of questions has to do with the anti-aesthetic, the deliberately awful, the troubling.

Flarf is interested in the idea of poetry as kitsch, as well as poetry as linguistic disaster – it’s desire to reach the “so bad it’s good” stage

part of the reason I'M not interested in this so much is that I am acquainted -- as I mentioned here -- with a lot of very mainstream poets who use the deliberately bad as a teching method, etc. -- this aspect of flarf is not innovative, and it is where the ideation of flarf touches the "writing workshop"

now, of course I love junk culture more than a little and a new kitty's epic for tomorrow's market today... obviously my attempt was to discover the point in all this kitch and glitter... and my interest in reviving modernist female poets, say, has something to do with the debate about what is good and what is popular / marketed as does a HK poem which is available free, albeit comparatively intangibly, but also for purchase

A third set has to do with the appropriation of non-literary materials.

Uncreative Writing is interested in the non-literary as social documentation. Again, this is the poetics of New Historicism.

Flarf is interested in the non-literary as language – these poets mostly deploy anti-literary discourses, but do so with an aesthetic frame that is fine-tuned to the level of word and phrase. Uncreative Writing might see that as a residual form of creativity and as something to be stamped out.

Neo-Oulipo seems neutral on the issue of social language as a source for its work, but fascinated in identifying new ways of using language that are not necessarily within the traditional frame of literature.

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