Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Ten Propositions on (What Was?) Flarf
Ten Propositions on (What Was?) Flarf (for a future essay) by Philip Metres
1. Genealogy: Dada was its Grand-Dada, Stein its Grand-Motha. Parentage may or may not include: collagists of all stripes, objectivists, New York School hijinx (Koch and Ashbery), stand-up in the mode of Richard Pryor to Sarah Silverman, LangPo funnyman Charles Bernstein, frothmouth Bruce Andrews, performance art, etc. Deep ancestors may include: 18th century insulters like Dryden and Swift, classic scatalogists from the ancient world.
2. Google as Muse.
3. If lyric is neurotic (superegoic), then flarf is psychotic (id).
4. Politics: variable. From comically fatalist to cosmic revolutionaries.
5. Demotic (i.e., re-reads Wordsworth et. al. and takes it to its logical end). Not purifying the language of the tribe, but amplifying it to eleven.
6. Favors Charlie Sheen over finish and sheen, Groucho over Karl, asses over Parnassus.
7. Apotheosis of Anti-Poetry as poetry. Daddy, what did you do during the poetry wars?
8. Tonally: diverse. From the melancholic machinery of loneliness to the hysterical hiccuping of the masses.
9. In its collective subjectivity, organs of sharing work and publication, festivals and publicity, demonstrates the power of poetic collectivity. It's MY poetic collectivity, get OFF!
10. Always (already?) in danger of (poetic) absorption. I.e. What was flarf?