I. Have. Forgotten. To. Save.
Last Quarter’s Search Terms.
I hope you missed my poetry already. What could I do to compensate for that?
Inventing an allegedly new genre.
Poetry of Anything.
The rules are similar as for Search Term Poetry or Spam Poetry: Use continuous, unedited snippets from questionable internet sources.
- Pick snippets from random internet sites.
- Select exactly one quote from every page.
- Hop from one page to the next by clicking a hyperlink on the first one.
- Snippets have to be used in the order they have been encountered. Deletion is not allowed.
The following are preliminary rules – I will make them more loophole-proof below.
- ‘A page’ is defined as the content accessible via one click or one ‘Enter’ after having entered data into a form, or having typed an address. If there is infinite scroll, you are lucky.
- Do it reasonably fast. Less then 30 seconds per page.
- Two clicks originating from the same page aren’t allowed.
- It is not allowed to submit a desired phrase to a search engine and pick a line similar to the search term from the search results.
- Don’t aim at navigating to pages you know well in order to pick phrases you know.
Here is the first Poem of Anything:
Know before you go
Sleep and Dreaming
how is it that we have studied it
no items to show
This has been an issue for a while now.
The Abyss Beyond Dreams
It doesn’t get nearly enough coverage.
Could a person do this?
I really just like whatever you decide to produce
Dark Energy and Dark Matter
after the first shock waves
Waiting for the vapors to clear
I Only Know Who I Am When I Am Somebody Else
Lost in Translation
From papyrus to pixels
a kind of corrosive, cute, or cloying awfulness.
fake blurbs, real e-mail, dream narrative, conventional lyric
That was a difficult period and I couldn’t maintain my sanity
struggling with this today
The cake was clearly delicious.
a new way to see the world
Speaking the Language of the Supernatural
Could not process
This is how it will be at the end of the age
walking around with big targets on their backs
heightened reality, almost cartoon-like
We had a reactor leak here now.
Please, give Positive Feedback
This was a nightmarish experience – feeling trapped in Hollywood gossip sites or photo blogs with hardly any text or outbound links, struggling a single line of error code, legal terms, my webmail page clicked in error. ‘BS’ was the degree of a guy mentioned on an About page.
Now I attempt to tighten the rules. (The list is the set of rules, not yet the poem)
- Pick any start page of your liking or submit a term to a search engine.
- Then advance from one page to the next only via links. One page is defined as all the text accessible via scrolling.
- You have to pick one phrase from each page.
- Lines must not be reshuffled or deleted.
I start with a Google search term – my chosen title:
Where Will This End
eventually suck the wind out of our sails
everyone is welcome
you can’t take control back
it can do whatever
some consider this exemption to be
which is used unless otherwise noted.
We do a little bit of magic
possible ultimate suspension of your ability
Must be prepared
Thank you for visiting
Now I was actually stuck within a bunch of IT security related sites though this was not intended. The hardest thing is how to get out again. Not for the faint of heart.
I have learned that all this is serious poetry – called Flarf!
From Can Flarf Every be Taken Seriously? (2009)
Almost a decade after its creation, the experimental poetry movement Flarf—in which poets prowl the Internet using random word searches, e-mail the bizarre results to one another, then distill the newly found phrases into poems that are often as disturbing as they are hilarious—is showing signs of having cleared a spot among the ranks of legitimate art forms.
Still, with its subversive stance, meta-mind mentality, pop-culture detritus, and mildly offensive language—this edgy new art form is difficult to pin down. Poet Sharon Mesmer describes the process this way: “There’s this idea that juxtaposition creates a little pop in your mind to take you out of your immediate, mundane reality. When we do these crazy things with Google, a lot of times we’re putting something beautiful together with something ugly, and it makes this third thing that is completely delightful and unexpected.”