Monday, January 09, 2006

The Superior Amusement

For me flarf is primarily about absurdity in the service of elation and subversion. That’s the upper limit. Lower limit is making your friends laugh during their tedious day-job work hours.

Drew Gardner
April 16, 2003

This locates poetry almost exactly where I would like it to be. Somewhere between cultural politics and working life. I think, however, that the words "subversion" and "tedious" indicate a presumption that poetry offers an alternative or escape from more quotidian and less valuable pursuits. It would be sufficient for me that poetry offered us elation (in a culture that does not need to be, or is unlikely to be, subverted) and laughter (during working hours that are not tedious, or not unnecessarily tedious).

What I mean is, the thing that I appreciate about flarf is its ability to "leave everything as it is," as Wittgenstein said philosophy must, and yet find some pleasure in it. There is a good deal of poetry out there that can only imagine joy at the expense of leaving everything behind or turning it upside down.

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