flarf ado about nothing

My poet husband (shameless promotional plugs here and here) went to a reading at the Bowery Poetry Club this Saturday and came back bearing gifts in form of cultgear blogging material. Flarf is an avant-garde poetry movement in which poets mine the internet for random words and phrases which are pieced together into poems. Some technically savvy poets created their own Google poem generators. For example, at this site I typed in “why” and clicked on “generate poem.” Here’s what came back:


Google Poem generated on Wed Apr 30, 2008

do one
all in the


still for




disagree determine
….. the the

If we get that far, I can find out if we agree on why it’s good.

Hmmm, conceptually Flarf is an interesting reflection on the internet as our collective database for words and ideas. But artistic randomness, in my opinion, works well when the intent is controlled. Whereas in this case, both control and intent are missing…

Performances from last year’s Flarf Festival:



  1. Though I agree that Flarf seems conceptually more interesting than the actual poetry itself, I must admit I like the subversive and performative quality of the movement that seems a bit of a nod to DADA and Surrealism. . . a kind of techno-pop postmodern surrealism. It will be interesting to see how flarf changes and hopefully puts pressure on the current poetry scene. Anyway, I tried the Flarf “poem generator.” Here’s “my” contribution . . . I dig the last line:


    Google Poem generated on Fri May 02, 2008

    poem begins
    as “Footprints …In criticism
    a poem, Dial-A-Poem

    Next Better but, clips
    inspired I my called am

    Old War
    Casey alas, browse
    Poets /
    song a
    poem this
    Dial-A-Poem here the

    in poem of
    .. What is the highest point of the poem Casey at The Bat?

  2. didn’t like, many fuck’s, no fun…

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