Literarisches Events (in and around Lawrence KS)

  • PATRICIA LOCKWOOD. Lawrence. Thursday, September 11, 7:00 p.m., Spooner Hall, KU Campus.
  • PATRICIA LOCKWOOD. Lawrence. Friday, September 19, 7:00 p.m. Lawrence Public Library. Sponsored by Raven Bookstore.
  • DENNIS ETZEL, JR. & RACHEL CROSS. Lawrence. Thursday, September 25, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
  • TONY TRIGILIO. Lawrence. Thursday, Oct. 2, 4:00 p.m., English Room, Kansas Union, KU Campus. FREE.
  • CALEB PUCKETT & JUSTIN RUNGE. Lawrence. Thursday, October 16, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
  • BEN LERNER. Kansas City, MO. Thursday, October 23, 7:00 p.m., Epperson Auditorium, Vanderslice Hall on the KCAI campus, 4415 Warwick Blvd.
  • KRISTIN LOCKRIDGE & ROBERT DAY. Lawrence. Thursday, December 4, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Flarf and Kitsch

I did a couple of class sessions at the end of the (now blessedly concluded) semester on K. Silem Mohammad's work, and Flarf more generally; it dawned on me (duh) that the way to understand much of Flarf is as Deliberate Kitsch. So, yes, it is the poetic equivalent of Jeff Koons (my answer to the quiz, btw, was "all of the above"). Or maybe Kasey should trademark the epithet "Poet of Light." I don't know.

But I went to the OED for help explaining kitsch to my students. "To affect with sentimentality and vulgarity" - good. Then a bit from the Observer, 1958: "What is so extraordinary about some of these kitsch masterpieces is the way they can be enjoyed on two planes, both as themselves and as their own parodies." Uh-hhhhhhh.

Or this, from This Magazine (which magazine? . . . never heard of it), 1994: "She's playing with a look that is so out it's in, revelling in the kitschiness of the way some people, other people, dress. This isn't a case of fashion nostalgia. This is fashion slumming."

3 comments:

Joseph Hutchison said...

Ah! But they have to be "enjoyed as themselves" before being enjoyed as parodies. I've yet to see a piece of flarf that can be enjoyed, ergo....

Joseph Harrington said...

you don't think it's even a little bit *funny*? . . .

Joseph Hutchison said...

Unfair question! My humor threshold is notoriously low. Three Stooges low. Carrot Top low. Sure, I laugh at Flarf. But I can't pretend the Carrot Top or the Stooges are Chaplin or Steven Wright, and I can't pretend that Flarf is genuine poetry. Like any good American I spend half my life awash in trivia; I don't need Flarf to deepen that flood.