Some experimental poets pried open their spamfolders, spied inside some chatrooms, and discovered raw material for Burroughsian cutups therein. The idea isn't new, but the name of the resulting genre will be to many: "Flarf." Snip from a Flarfifesto:
The initial aesthetics of Flarf went largely unarticulated, but they can probably be approximated by the following recipe: deliberate shapelessness of content, form, spelling, and thought in general, with liberal borrowing from internet chat-room drivel and spam scripts, often with the intention of achieving a studied blend of the offensive, the sentimental, and the infantile.
Here's the origin myth:
Flarf came about a couple of years ago when Gary Sullivan submitted a deliberately bad poem to Poetry.com, one of those vanity companies that lures the unsuspecting with lavish praise of their poetry and then offers to "publish" it for an exorbitant fee. Theorizing that no submission, no matter how heinous, would ever be treated with anything other than solicitous fawning, he sent in a poem titled "Mm-hmm":
Yeah, mm-hmm, it's true
big birds make
big doo! I got fire inside
gonna be agreessive, greasy aw yeah god
wanna DOOT! DOOT!
oooh yeah baby gonna shake & bake then take
AWWWWWL your monee, honee (tee hee)
uggah duggah buggah biggah buggah muggah
hey! hey! you stoopid Mick! get
off the paddy field and git
me some chocolate Quik
put a Q-tip in it and stir it up sick
fuck! shit! piss! oh it's so sad that
syndrome what's it called tourette's
make me HAI-EE! shout out loud
Cuz I love thee. Thank you God, for listening!
Link to post on Bruce Sterling's blog, and here's the epicenter: The Flarf Files.
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