Thursday, February 26, 2009

Flarf Reading #4

Mohammad, K. Silem. 2003. "Mars Needs Terrorists". Deer Head Nation. Tougher Disguises Press. Pages 27-31.

Critics also need to fail. I can't think of anything to say about this poem. It challenges me a bit like Ben Lerner's "Twenty-One Gun Salute for Ronald Reagan". But only as a critic. I know how to enjoy Lerner's poem. I don't (yet) know how to enjoy "Mars Needs Terrorists". I know it is "the best American poetry" there is (2004) and I own the issue of Kiosk it appeared in (No. 2). I also like many of the other poems in Deer Head Nation. I will return to this one.

[Update: Jonathan Mayhew thinks it is both brilliant and seminal. That's reason enough to discover its virtues.]

1 comment:

Kirby Olson said...

now I've read a few titles, plus the one poem. Notice that all the titles sound like headlines in The National Enquirer, only pushed just a bit further.

It's a format.

The poems always fall into a set formula, just as the poems of the Cavalier poets do, just as the poems by the Romantics do, just as Beat poetry does, just as LANGUAGE does, etc.

It's a school, and the school has a template.

If you've read the Template, you've read all the works of the whole school, at least in terms of their structure.

I might grant that quality differs from poem to poem, but I would also argue that based on Magee's poem, quality is not not central to the poem's mission, it is all but impossible to ascertain, and that that is part of the schtick.