Sunday, September 26, 2010

PI Flarf

Another one-word concept prompt this week: flarf.

The term flarf was coined by the poet Gary Sullivan. He defined it as a quality of intentional or unintentional "flarfiness." A kind of corrosive, cute, or cloying, awfulness. Wrong. Un-P.C. Out of control. "Not okay."
Flarf is a creature of the electronic age. The flarf method typically involves using word combinations turned up in Google searches. Or, as Ron Silliman wrote: This seems to me the essence of flarf, frankly, the whole idea of asking what is “appropriate” is to suggest that the definitions thereof might be in flux.

The link between comics and flarf has been made before (see Gary Sullivan’s ‘Am I emo?’ and several so called flarfstrips – in dutch – by the dutch flarf collective), but there’s still a lot to explore.

How do we work with google search results in poemics? How does the internet affect our visual culture? Can what is supposed to be rubbish be used to create art/poemics? Is this a form of recycling? Will the results of this PI be “appropriate”?

As always, if you post work in response to this PI, note that in your title. If you are just passing through and want to play, consider joining the contributors here or post a link to your work at a site of your choosing in the comments section below.


  1. This is a good ? in there, but at a same time we need a good answer for it. Just take a look what VISPO do...( one of our contributors, Jim Andrews maybe have an answer to this ?....@ ) or or

  2. There is a pretty clear link between poemics and visual poetry (Vispo). I think this is best demonstrated by the upcoming issue of Xerolage (#48) several of us contributed to. Previous contributors to that project have been heavily involved in vispo and fluxus.

    Poemics are an offshoot (variant?) of vispo in my thinking, as well as a kind of experimental comic. They are also, arguably, a kind of abstract comic, just one that isn't afraid of linguistic content. And of course, I think poemics and vispos are related to (owe a debt to?) concrete poetry.

    Linking all of this to fluxus and intermedia seems important, too.

    I really like flarf's links to the language poets and the idea of the (digitally) found poem using search engines and other on-line platforms and motifs. There is also something interesting going on here in flarf's embrace of "bad" poetry, kitsch, and the taken-for-granted background noise of the internet. The intersection of flarf with vispos and poemics seems like it was bound to happen -- and sven's work and links suggest that it already has. :-)