Tarzan. 2006. "Tarzan Workshop". Jacket 30.
I'm going to respect the pseudononymous publication of this poem. It is one example I have been able to find of a "mocking" or "satirical" piece of Flarf. Or rather, it is at least alleged to be Flarf, published as such in Jacket 30. But I don't really get anything distinctively "flarfy" out of it. I don't see how it accomplishes itself as a poem.
Yes, I do feel silly using the phrase "accomplishes itself as a poem"; it is so much like saying it does not "feel earned". But my enjoyment of Flarf lies in watching a poem just barely accomplish itself. This one seems to me to fail and its failure is not interesting. That's because it is also, I would argue, trying to do something else. Watch Tim Peterson perform it:
If poetry workshops were a more mainstream part of popular culture, this could be an SNL sketch (if done in costume and with a bit more rehearsal). Even if workshops were as straighforwardly ridiculous as this poem suggests (and I am not at all sure that they are, though I have never participated in one), making fun of them in this way is hardly poetry. I don't see this poem doing anything else.
This reading is important, at least to me, because there is the view that Flarf is intended to fail largely as this poem fails. On this view, I am as ridiculous as Tarzan and what he represents. I think a good poem is a real accomplishment and I think Flarf has produced many good poems. This is one of the few pieces I'm going to read in this series that I don't think is one of them.