Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Weekend Read: Nada Gordon

BURST

To come open or fly
apart suddenly or
violently, especially
from internal pressure.
The sky erupts. Cities
darken, food spoils
and homes fall silent.
Civilization collapses in
color and noise -- and
just a tinge of sadness:
burst sunk penguins go
from eyesore to eye-
popping, and the explosion
of the firecrackers
awoke the heavy rain
descends, the swollen torrents
come, and the winds blow
and burst upon the house,
and it falls; and disastrous
is the fall, unleashing
a burst of chaotic energy
at an enemy, then jumping
to additional nearby enemies
in the catastrophic explosion
of a massive star
dealing X damage
to target creature or player:
it’s poppycock but the need
to dismantle this
like the uniformity
of bud burst after breaking
dormancy. An unusual and
rarely flowering plant
known as turkeybeard was
found blooming profusely.
How made a homemade chastity belt?
Irish multi coloured glass vases.
Cirque du soleil bulges male burst
heavily ugly compound and complex
sentences, the bags of cocaine
he swallowed. Can you burst
a breast cyst? What happens if
a cyst bursts in your mouth?
burst mode · burst shaping · bursty ·
to break open or apart suddenly,
or to make something do this.
The old participle bursten
is nearly obsolete... as,
to burst from a prison;
the heart bursts with grief.


The Womenflowers.

There are beautiful women, less
beautiful. They are seduced by the
poet and taken. From there
they either appear in the house
or they will be laid in secret.
There are sweet like the
younger pretend and animal-like
women like the menopausal wo-
men look. The woes belong just
to the deceived. And the gloaming just
to the woeful snowy gloaming.


The Fakery

The fakery is great, in it are
two women, one for white bread and
one for nonwhite bread. The pussy
will in each case be felched by the
male faker, for the rele-
vent masquerade with the local no.
from one to eleven. Masquerade one are
the two women, two and three are the
boy, four the boy and five
also boy. Six, seven the boy,
eight, nine, ten the boy and eleven
the boy, because it is all about the boy.
In the morning at half past nine
the blog is published then it comes
out and is laid out to bleed on the
floor.

Scruples


Not everyone has scruples
some scruples are dishonest
or inoperative. So it is with you.
The philosopher says everyone has
scruples. Your scruples are
especially for cheating. The scruples
consist of the upper self and the
lower self, the goat and the
thinker. Of the ethics in the upper self
and also in the lower self. Half of the
self also belongs to the crotch. As well as
both of the testicles and the index fin-
ger when one has stuck it into the ass of
one’s slut.

TWO QUESTIONS FOR NADA GORDON

SQ: You are one of the original flarfists, Nada, and as such have gone through the many arguments for, against, and in contrast, particularly to the concepualists. Are you still a flarf poet? Is there a post-flarf identity?

NG: Kasey had an interesting post on Limetree once about what exactly constitutes a Flarf poet. He posited a few possibilities: someone who is a member of the official Flarf listserv; someone who uses ostensibly “Flarf” techniques (such as “sought poetry” or “Google-sculpting”) ; someone who writes “Flarfily” (e.g. with joie de vivre and obnoxiousness). I suppose by any of these measures I am still a Flarfist, yes, although I don’t by donning that appellation mean to espouse any sort of poetic dogma whatsoever. I am certainly still a Flarfist in the way that Ringo Starr will always be a Beatle; it’s a historical category, in a way.

The Flarf group has primarily been marked by vigorous conviviality and the unbridled joy of a hootenanny. This makes it unique, I believe, among contemporary poetry movements. There have been very few sour moments in the interactions of its participants. Now that Gary and I have split there seems to be a pall over the group; that Utopia has now crumbled somewhat, although the list still exists, and now and then we still hoot and holler… but for me personally, the breakup does mark a kind of movement into a post-Flarf era. I don’t know if the others feel like that. It might be interesting to ask them.

It’s crucial to remember, though, that we were all poets before Flarf and will all remain poets after, assuming we are in an “after” phase now. I think we all (except two) will remain bonded in some interpersonal way, as well. This is not the same, though, as having some kind of unified poetic identity. I think we’ve all been pretty distinct in our styles and concerns all along, really. Perhaps now is the time for our idiosyncrasies to become even more defined and extreme: Kasey will become more hilariously formalist, Sharon brassier, Rodney more elegant, Drew more deadpan, I more baroque (apologies to all those I’ve left off here)? Saying this, I don’t mean to determine the future. Who knows where our peregrinations will bring us? I could turn around tomorrow and find I’ve become the quietest of the quietists, although I sort of doubt it.

SQ: I heard you speaking about the amazing Sharon Mesmer on Poem Talk and you reminded me of the relationship between lyric poetry and flarf. It's deep, it's complicated, it's messy, but it's there. Is flarf the post confessional lyric poetry of our time?

NG: Well, if I think of the pre-Flarf or non-Flarf poetry of several in the group, I notice immediately a tenacious (almost nostalgic) attachment to the lyric mode (against what was a predominantly anti-lyric mood in inventive poetry at the time the Flarflist started). I’m thinking here of Drew, Jordan, Sharon, Rodney, Ben, Edwin, myself, and Gary (in Swoon), especially. It’s almost as if Flarf emerged partly as an explosion of repressed lyricism that was avant-garde-ishly self-justifying in that it used the mask of appropriation to say what the murkiest parts of our selves wanted to say. But you know, we could get into a long exegetical discussion about what “lyric” really means. I started having a conversation like that with Dana Ward, and we finally realized at the end of it that we didn’t really mean by “lyric” what other people meant by “lyric,” and that really we were just talking about “poetry.” As to whether or not Flarf is post-confessional, I guess that would depend on the poem and the poet. I write a lot of poems that I suppose are Flarf (i.e. they are appropriated, sculpted, etc.) that are absolutely confessional. The aim of these poems isn’t hilarity, it’s pathos – but they may be so pathetic that they are hilarious as well, I don’t know. Then again, Steve McLaughlin told me my poems are different from other Flarfists’ in that mine are “more emotional,” so I don’t know, maybe this isn’t true for others. But I do think there’s an element of lyricism in nearly all Flarf poems, because they are “voiced” in ways that many (more abstract, or more distanced) contemporary poems are not, although the Flarf voices are usually multiple, and repurposed. If they are lyric, they are not what is usually meant by lyric, that is certain, but they are vivid and sensationalistic, and in that, they vibrate, as strings do, which brings us back to “lyre.”
___________________

Nada Gordon is the author of Folly, V. Imp, Are Not Our Lowing Heifers Sleeker than Night-Swollen Mushrooms?, foriegnn bodie, Swoon, and Scented Rushes. A founding member of the Flarf Collective, she practices poetry, song, dance, dressmaking, and image manipulation as deep entertainment. She blogs at ulutate.

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