Self-Aggrandizing Poetry Bullshit Sheriff and World's Greatest Living Poet Yiffes!! [jim behrle at gmail dot com]

Give Me the Poem and Shut the Fuck Up

When we let computers play tricks and make them into poems, what are we _really_ proving? A) that the tricks are probably more important than the poems and B) when the tricks get too tricky, we can always *blame* the computer. But a good craftsperson should never blame their tools. Ted's Sonnets would be 1000% less fun if he had listed out all the places he pulls text or kept banging you over the head with THESE ARE CUT-UPS and LOOK HOW CLEVER I AM. They tend to end up reading pretty seemless, sounding like *him* rather than a cut-up. Bernadette's Experiments are great, but she doesn't say BEAT IT OVER THE READER'S HEAD THAT YOU'RE USING AN EXPERIMENT. No one cares how you do it (or no one interesting does). Just give me the poem and shut the fuck up. And I'll let you know if it's any good.

I say this as your friend and a friend to poetry. Most poets are clever, only some seem to try hard, hard, hard to show off.

In 2007, no one can really claim to be inventing anything new using the computer. And the mere collection of weird words together does not equal funny or a poem. I like poems written by poets. These tricks seem played out once played. To really experiment, if that's what you're into, you're going to have to work a little harder. Someday soon computers will write poems just as good as ours. That's a day we should look forward to. Any poem that needs an introduction (see what I'm really up to? I put Chaucer in a blender! Hee hee!) probably isn't a poem you'd want to read or hear twice. Without a little emotional pornography, the risk of *you*, poems seem flat as the page. And longer than the horizon. But who knows? Tinny could be the new Terrific.

And whileyou'reatit, tell your friends they don't need to report how Superimportant everything you're up to is. I mean, we know. We got the e-mail, the phonecall, the fax and read the skywriting. If only writing good poems was as easy as coming up with cute names for the kinds of poems you're writing. The world would be made of cake frosting if it was.


Simon said...

I think it is important that a computer can write a poem that most people cannot distinguish from a certain kind of poem written by a person. To me it says something very bad about a certain kind of poem that a person can write.

Jim Behrle said...

Way to take a stand, buddy.