Thanks to help from those connoisseurs of often obscure but always excellent wordsmithing at Rain Taxi Review of Books, we’re welcoming a quartet of flarf poets at the Walker this Thursday night. Flarf, as you may have heard, exploits search engines, chat rooms, and other Internet nooks and crannies to create poetry that can be gloriously tacky, strikingly modern, uncannily touching, or any other number of adverb/adjective combinations (do your own Internet search!).
The four poets include Gary Sullivan, who, according to this wikipedia entry probably coined the term “flarf.” Or at the very least he plays a key role in the flarf “origin myth” posted on boingboing, by having submitted this jubilant bit of badness to the vanity enterprise known as Poetry.com (FREE POETRY CONTEST – YOUR POEM COULD WIN $10,000) :
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!
Then there’s Sharon Mesmer, whose flarf mines rich veins of Internet obscenity; you can preview her performance via clips from Flarf Festival 06 on YouTube.
And here’s an excellent overview of the genre from Buffalo, NY’s Artvoice , which covers both flarf’s controversial standing in the broader context of poetry genres, as well as the work of both Sullivan and poet #3, Nada Gordon.
Rounding out the quartet is K. Silem Mohammed. According to a blogger on |||AS/IS2|||, which is devoted to “poetics as practised in the 21st.C.,” he is the author of “possibly the first flarf masterpiece if I have any idea what flarf is about. It’s [Deer Head Nation] certainly a terrific book in any case.”
So hey! hey! you stoopid Mick! get off the paddy field and git here Quik!