Flarf The Big Ugly Thing That Totally Ruined Poetry by Sharon Mesmer

A poetry festival which celebrates experimental poetry and the contemporary and historic avant-garde and its artists.

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A review of the 2013 edition of Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology in the American political magazine The Nation called out flarf — poetry composed using Google results —as The Big Ugly Thing That Totally Ruined Poetry. It couldn’t be denied that flarf’s inclusion in the Norton was a demarcation point for contemporary poetry, a threshold crossed. But by the time the anthology was published, flarf in its original form was dead: Google had changed its algorithm, and two of the collective’s founding members had gotten divorced (flarf being, at its core, a feast of friends). This paper aims to introduce flarf to an international audience, and identify some of its original ingredients — 9/11, the Iraq War, the American economic crash, and rage — on the anniversary of the “birth” of flarf, September 11.