Finders Keepers: The Artist, The Audience and The Internet


This post is part of a weekly column highlighting found poetry related news and resources. If you know of found poetry related news, resources or events that should be featured here, please email News & Resources Editor Martin Elwell.

Found poetry news and resources

Conceptualism Explained

ConceptMatter, a monthly journal of political poetry and commentary, recently featured an essay by Ian Darda titled “Common Genius: Conceptualism and the Language of Discourse.” At its core, the article suggests methods for critically engaging with Conceptualism while dissecting Kenneth Goldsmith’s book Traffic. More importantly, Darda outlines the building blocks of Conceptualism and how they are employed to reveal what he calls “extra or paratextual” sources of meaning that are often ignored by those engaging traditional texts. Darda’s essay is an interesting read for anyone looking to create, appreciate or criticize Conceptual Poetry.

Accessibility (GASP!)

NYTWhat better way to follow up a discussion of Conceptualism than a chat about accessibility? David Orr’s New York Times piece, “Points of Entry,” serves as, among other things, a review of Robert Pinsky’s book Singing School. Although Orr doesn’t mention Conceptualism, his review and thoughts on how readers engage poetry is an interesting juxtaposition to Darda’s “Common Genius.” Conceptualism, according to Darda, goes to great lengths to ensure the reader notices the “paratextual” meaning. It goes as far as excluding other sources of meaning to make the paratextual meaning even more obvious to the reader (if that word applies). Meanwhile, in his analysis, Orr concludes that poems “are the sum of thousands of impressions, some weightier than others, but none weightless.” He recognizes the ability of readers, from expert to novice, to make intelligent discoveries about a piece. In my experience, the best Conceptual poems have been those intended to be read. Perhaps I prefer to blend my paratextual meaning with other flavors, rather than drink it straight up. How about you?

Life Without the Internet

CatIn his free e-book, Can I Have Your Attention Please: Poetry in the Age of Social Media, Oscar Schwartz discusses  the poetry and writing of a generation that discovered the internet “like a UFO that landed one day in [their] garden” and instinctively moved their life inside. This quick read about Alt Lit sheds light on topics such as meeting people online, “the explicit expression of self to establish a distinctive and intimate connection between author and reader,” the formation of memes and the consequences of going viral. Schwartz outlines a mixing of roles between author and audience in the formation of art and the embrace of both the artist and the audience as important components of the art itself. He describes this phenomenon as “an un-ironic desire for direct communication…[an attempt] to draw the reader closer, to make them friends, to feel comforted and less alone.” Dive in! It might just change your perspective.

Erasing Karl Marx

MarxSociopoetic, a journal that fuses poetry and sociology, is inviting submissions of erasure poetry created from Chapter 33 of the Karl Marx text Capital: The Modern Theory of Colonization. The deadline for submissions is Saturday, November 30, 2013, and submission guidelines can be found here. A “small (yet delightful) prize” will be awarded to the winner.

Found Poetry in the Classroom

ClassroomNothing says “out of this world” like a creative writing class involving both Jack Spicer and Found Poetry. In a blog post for the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, author Midori shares her experiences with creating found poetry from Spicer’s Vancouver Lectures. Her post includes the poem “After Spicer’s Vancouver Lectures,” which builds upon Spicer’s own cosmic ideas on the origins of poetry. And to close out her post, Midori gives a plug to none other than The Found Poetry Review…and for that, we thank you.

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