Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Gary Sullivan's "My Problems with Flarf"/A Poetics of Discomfiture

Gary Sullivan, showing his google chops, spotted my un-factchecked namedrop of him on the last post, and rectified where the quote came from:

That quote from me is actually from an entirely Googled piece called "My Problems with Flarf."

It is made up of things that other people have said about flarf. Most of what is in that paragraph was actually originally written by Allyssa Wolf on the now underground LuciPo list. To be very clear, I not only completely disagree with her--and thus the passage you quoted--but I find her argument laughable.

Shanna has it part right: "My Problems with Flarf" was inspired by a similar piece called "My Poetry" by David Bromige, which was "written" by David in the 1980s by taking things that critics & others had said about his work.


It makes sense, since Gary is part of the Flarf Collective, that he wouldn't be forwarding such a reading as proposed by Allyssa Wolf (sp.?). Nada's comment, as well, seems particularly salient, that the poem is uncomfortable because it speaks to some truisms therein. Mike Magee, another Flarfist who has drawn a firestorm for what was perceived as anti-Asian representations, first began by replying with measured and thoughtful defenses of his poems, and then, he related to me, he found that it was better just to let the poems speak for themselves. In a sense, the Flarf tactic now appears to be to let go of the language school reflex of explaining everything and just letting the poems speak, sing, and sting.

4 comments:

Allyssa Wolf said...
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Allyssa Wolf said...
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Allyssa Wolf said...

Not worth my breath.

Philip Metres said...

Allyssa, I've been there. You know, you're right, "Chicks Dig War" is no "Howl." But it's not trying to be. Yet, perhaps it would be better if we aimed for the "brick shithouse" of "Howl", even in experimental techniques, poetry would be the better for it!