I wish I’d written this, but I didn’t: Drew Gardner did.


Conceptualism asks what is Conceptualism?

Flarf turns poetry up to 11.

Conceptualism is never about anything other than Conceptualism itself.

Flarf is poetry. It is about everything that is not poetry.

Flarf is the court’s most feared group of space pirates. As such, it is still a member of Moby Grape.

Conceptualism courts jest, but is not Elvis’ dong.

Conceptualism is composed.

Flarf is compost.

Conceptualism employs a variety of techniques that compromise and complicate the question of blah blah blah blah….

Flarf is a tricked-out unicorn that rides another tricked-out unicorn into eternity.

Conceptualism says I want you to show me love but I don’t want to show you love.

Flarf gives you more love than you can deal with.

Flarf is a smutty, expressive swan-bear hybrid at a clam bake.

Conceptualism is a kink. The penis is Bilbo Baggins.

Flarf wants you.

Conceptualism wants to put you in a state where you want to be put out of your misery.

Flarf wants to be even fluffier.

Flarf maintains a super collider attitude towards the world-at-large.

Conceptualism wants you to know it has read Lacan.

Flarf has an anaphylactic shock for every situation. It involves the Spin Doctors or the schmear of interpretation on the bagel of social context, such as is favored by Ken Russell filming spontaneous human combustion as orc lactation. Thus, its sororal underpinnings lie primarily in the conical promise of a radioactively milk fed ethanol-fueled dinosaur, in the sense that the dinosaur as represented must contain a more or less stable relationship to Adderall, with a larger sense of relief at not having to write torturous prose in an attempt to ascribe institutionally reinforced intellectual authority to one’s self, equally stable, preferably central, in order to frame Conceptualism as a function both relevant to the fiduciary realities of the art world and the stock market of other Conceptualism readers who increase the value of the holdings by reading more at a higher price. Conceptualism repeats gestures that were vetted and digested forty years ago in the art world and displays them in the poetry world virtually unchanged: it is a remake. Poetry is too out of it to notice. And thus Conceptualism hits an intellectual pitch. The intellectual pitch, it could be noted, of the art history professor.

Conceptualism has one answer, and that is: being boring without being alienating. Through the deployment of multiple strategies that serve to present writers as destabilizing texts (extant or made) via reframed reiterations and multiple sites of rhetorical deployment, conceptualism is neo-Canadian, though it doesn’t seem to read enough Dan Farrell, epistemologically concerned with the ongoing subject and the instantiation of Sandy Duncan, in other words, the affirmative will to Sandy Duncan that manifests the fact of Sandy Duncan herself. In other words, the instantiation of that which is consciously contra-textual in the sense of all that has made text make contextual sense to Sandy Duncan, the rendering immaterial of every materiality of poetry. The contra-text being the new con-text, con-, as I have pointed out elsewhere, in the sense of Sandy Duncan.

Flarf is Fortran roid rage: leggo my ego.

Conceptualism is a can-can in the bathroom mirror, the discourse of the shave.

Flarf is gangster in the sense of the drive-by shooting during a virtual dérive. As such, it must be sans repression: Marie Osmond.

Conceptualism is Lacanian in the sense of desire by way of Jude Law by way of the petit dejeuner. As such: Donny Osmond.

Conceptualism, by emphasizing the notes on the gallery wall which spell out exactly how art is to be taken and how it was made, deactivates thought.

Flarf, by not providing a motherfucking note to tell you what it’s supposed to be, activates thought.

Flarf plays kissing cousin while playing a little too rough. It uses the language of the people when poets are supposed to seem smarter than the people. Flarf is always the first to see other poetry groups as opportunities for Mrs. Buttersworth Jell-O shot orgies, and it will stay up late and party party party. It might bleed out from the head injury later, but it’ll probably survive. Yes, it sells out — it sells out Madison Square Garden. It’s smurfs watching Point Break while reading Finnegans Wake. You can’t help but like it, can you? It wants to play even dirtier.

Flarf is the new style, center stage on the mic, And they’re puttin’ it on wax. Those who write flarf write poetry, or, to use their terminology: “You’re from Secaucus — we’re from Manhattan, you’re jealous of us because your girlfriend is cattin’. Poets with movements are the kind I like. I’ll steal your poets like I stole your bike.” Eventually all Conceptual poets will be Flarfists.

Flarf is nature. Conceptualism is denature. In this sense, Flarf is making Chuck Woolery watch them get it on. Conceptualism is a starve.

Marjorie Perloff likes Conceptualism.

Marjorie Perloff does not like Flarf.

The best conceptualism is readable and successful.

Flarf fails in doing what it sets its mind to, to be bad. Flarf is Goooooooooooood.

Poetry is Conceptualism.

Flarf is life.


  1. Drew's piece is brilliant, mostly, and includes a few morsels of silliness if only to distract attention from its necessary goal of nailing railroad spikes into Conceptual Poetry. Yet no one is willing to take it personally, which may be a bad thing if it is discovered that everyone is simply discoursing ironically. Thus will get very tired soon.

    But otherwise, Drew's rebuttal is just sublime.

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