Cy wrote me a nice comment about the poem two posts down from here, “SPLENDOR”:
I confess I’m curious as to whether it’s a Flarf generated poem or not (not that it matters!).
Let’s discuss this, shall we? Or rather, deconstruct it. Firstly, Flarf is not (in the robotic sense of the term) “generated.” Flarf poems are written. Their materials are, in Kasey’s term, sought. I almost prefer the word rescued. Some poems may be “generated,” like that wonderful “Random Poem Generator” that was hanging around the internet for a while, but Flarf poems are very much willed and constructed.
In a larger sense of the term, I suppose you could say this poem was generated if that is how you think of the mechanism of creation: I do often think of poems as almost biological extrusions, like skin tags or fibroids or, as I posted recently on facebook, reflux.
At any rate, if this poem or any has a generator it is me and not “Flarf.” I’m curious, though, as to whether any of you read it as a “Flarf poem” and if so, why?
Let’s look at the second part of the statement: the good-natured “not that it matters!” Well, hmm, let’s think about that for a minute. Are you sure it doesn’t matter? I am tempted of course to say, right, it doesn’t matter a bit, but that’s the lazy way out. I think we do assign value differently to poems we think of as being constructed from rescued materials than we do to poems that we imagine might have been “inspired.” The assignment of value depends very much on who is doing the assignment and what their “valor sets” are for poetry. I like to keep my valor set somewhat uncodified, although I will swear up and down that I know what poetry is and what it is not, and that when I feel it to be good, I can argue for why I believe so and how it fits into my model of poetry.
My guess is that you, Cy, would like to test your cognitive reaction to the poem against your valor set. That’s perfectly understandable. We all do that.
I’m also wondering whether anyone rather dislikes the poem, maybe finds it too closed or too “poetic,” or too confrontational, or lacking in innovation, perhaps. Or maybe you find something a little naggy about it, or a little neurotic, or just dully unconceptual.
I’m super-tired. I would like to be at the Poetry Project tonight listening to Chris Nealon and Catherine Wagner, I would like that very much, but I’m just too tired. I really thought I was going to lose it on the train to work this morning: the door closing bell made me want to let loose a big guttural scream.
Which reminds me, how come women get maternity leaves for THREE MONTHS per baby when women who choose to be artists instead of having babies don’t ever get TIME OFF to make their ART or write their POEMS? I suppose this unfairness could count for men, too. I want THREE MONTHS OFF RIGHT NOW. Do all those BABIES really “contribute more to society” than all this potential unmade art and poetry would? Or do they just DRAIN it with all their NEEDS? I’m almost ready to fake a pregnancy.