Flarf, Tenure, & a Song

so i wasnt gonna blog today since i have to catch a flight soon, but i just cant help it after reading about the profe that was denied tenure because he “aggressively promoted flarf” on his campus. read details and discussion at gary’s blog.

in gary’s post, he links to a panel i’m going to be on at another conference (my third and FINAL of the month). the conference is called AGGRESSION: A CONFERENCE ON CONTEMPORARY POETICS AND POLITICAL ANTAGONISM, and my specific panel is called “The Internet” and is described as: “
Panelists will address the perils and possibilities of technologically mediated public spaces, specifically focusing on how new technologies may mystify, reproduce, or intensify existing racial, gender, and class divisions.” for the panel, i will be revisiting the essay i wrote “My Michael Magee and the Frontier of Democratic Symbolic Action” and giving a short paper on ethnic bloggers.

why does gary decide to link to this panel with those who see flarf as a “genuinely threatening presence”? i don’t see flarf in general as a genuinely threatening presence and i don’t see anything in my panel description to suggest that. i do see flarf as genuinely entertaining and genuinely pedagogical (that is, there is much to learn about collage from reading flarf) and some flarf tries to be genuinely critical, but not all. the only time i find flarf genuinely threatening is when it’s racially offensive. and really, this only happens in individual poems (as in Magee’s single poem) but not generally.

in the comments stream of gary’s post, juliette makes a very interesting comment:

wow. as an asian american poet AND participant in boyd’s reading series (but not the flarf festival), i’m really really stunned by this. i always want to support as-am artists, regardless their aesthetics, and i of course am always on the side of experimentation and adventurousness in poetry.

if it is the case that adrienne su blocked abrams’s tenure process, it would just further expose how two-faced a liberalist brand of celebrating difference (ie multiculturalism) truly is. i will appreciate my differences but not yours, or something like that. or your differences have to be intelligible to me as a sanctioned difference and then i can appreciate it. i’m really hoping she wasn’t involved or that it was the dean of the english department, but it doesn’t seem that way. aaargh.

i know nothing about adrienne su, but i am not so surprised that an ethnic writer would be aesthetically prejudiced. sometimes i feel that ethnic writers who are not interested in aesthetic experimentation are even more prejudiced than non-ethnic writers–partially because the ethnic american poetry tradition has been dominated by the narrative of poetry as a transparent vehicle for personal memory, cultural history, and political critique (and, as i mentioned before, any close look at the history of ethnic poetry in america disrupts this narrative). unfortunately, multiculturalism does not of necessity produce multiaestheticism. and both positions are not very radical or interesting.

it’s sad that even small universities are so entangled in these politics. hopefully, profe abrams will find work at another university more open to his own interests.

anyways, i wrote a song about all this. but you have to play the video to sing along:

If tomorrow is tenure day (sing mommy)
And I`m standin` in my office
And the Dean ask me what I did with my life
I will say I hosted the flarf collective

If I wake up in the war on terror
I see pain and endless horror
And I feel like I want to go online
It`s okay if you googling with me

Cause your flarf is my flarf
and my flarf is your flarf
It would take more than the english dept to break us
And the chains of the Academy couldnt hold us
Cause your flarf is my flarf
and my flarf is your flarf
It would take more than the english dept to break us
And the chains of the Academy couldnt hold us

If I lose my fame and fortune
And I`m teachin’ in the middle of nowhere
And I`m googlin’ two disparate terms
It`s okay if you`re googlin` with me

As the years they pass us by
We stay young through each other`s blogs
And no matter how old we get
It`s okay as long as Chicks Dig Flarf.

Cause your flarf is my flarf
and my flarf is your flarf
It would take more than the english dept to break us
And the chains of the Academy couldnt hold us
Cause your flarf is my flarf
and my flarf is your flarf
It would take more than the english dept to break us
And the chains of the Academy couldnt hold us

If I should Flarf this very day
Don`t cry, cause in the Academy we wasn`t meant to stay
And no matter what the dean says
I`ll be waiting for you after you get an MFA.

Cause your flarf is my flarf
and my flarf is your flarf
It would take more than the english dept to break us
And the chains of the Academy couldnt hold us
Cause your flarf is my flarf
and my flarf is your flarf
It would take more than the english dept to break us
And the chains of the Academy couldnt hold us

Cause your flarf is my flarf
and my flarf is your flarf
It would take more than the english dept to break us
And the chains of the Academy couldnt hold us
Cause your flarf is my flarf
and my flarf is your flarf
It would take more than the english dept to break us
And the chains of the Academy couldnt hold us

*

Advertisements

One thought on “Flarf, Tenure, & a Song

  1. “why does gary decide to link to this panel with those who see flarf as a ‘genuinely threatening presence’?”

    Because Gary is an idiot and grabbed the wrong URL. Sorry, Craig; I meant to link to the whole conference–and have updated it.

    In the context of the language describing the whole conference:

    “the purpose of this conference is to … explore the myriad ways in which consensus and community become challenged and/or untenable …”

    and some of the other panels:

    “A talk on Group Mania and The Criminal Mind …”

    and the fact that, as far as I am aware, this may be the first time in the (just shy of a) decade of flarf’s presence that SPT has acknowledged it as such, and is doing so within this particular context, a single, three-year-old poem and (more to the point of the conference) the discussion surrounding it …

    it does bring up this question for me.

    I’ll be curious, once the event has taken place, to see where the discussion led, and look forward to the possibility of a transcript or at the very least an event report or two.

    Thanks for the lovely song!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s